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Eddie Bravo: On Why Older Fighters Don't Evolve

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Excerpt taken from a post made on the UG:

"Jiu Jitsu is the only part of MMA training where you get exposed. You could work on your striking all day; there is no real competition. You’re hitting the mitts and hitting the bags, doing some light sparring; no one is knocking anybody out. No one wins and no one loses. You could literally work on your striking every day and never really have your ego be a factor. The same thing goes for your wrestling. You get taken down and it’s like, "Oh, he took me down; whatever." It’s like playing basketball. It’s like, "yeah, he made a 3-pointer, but can he kick my ass?" You could work on your wrestling and never really have your ego checked that way, but then when you work on your Jiu Jitsu and you get tapped out...ohhh, every day you could get tapped out. Now you’re a famous fighter and everyone wants to tap out the famous fighter and now, once you become famous, you don’t want to roll as much. You’re picking who you roll with and your Jiu Jitsu doesn’t evolve. That happens to so many people. So many UFC fighters and famous fighters from Japan...well not really Japan because they're ballsy; they don’t give a shit. I have a lot of Japanese fighters that come in and they're the ones that want to roll. Foreign fighters come in and want to get in there and roll, but American fighters, once they're famous man, it’s hard for them to really get down and roll. It’s not too many that will and it stifles the game. You gotta evolve. It’s like everyone’s grappling stops evolving once they become famous."

Eddie Bravo has always been a kind of 'out there' type of guy, but he hit the nail on the head with this one. In the following paragraph he speaks on Matt Hughes:
"Matt Hughes just started getting really good in Jiu Jitsu. He just realized, "Oh, it is better to pass the guard and get the mount." He’s just getting it. After all of those years of not really learning Jiu Jitsu, now he’s starting to play the game. His striking never evolved. He should have been a tremendous striker by now. He’s been fighting so long you would think he was a tremendous striker by now. I mean, look at guys like Urijah Faber and Tyson Griffin who haven’t been in the game that long. They wrestled their whole lives and bam, they really focused on the striking and those guys can really strike. If Matt Hughes really worked on his striking and maybe even had went to Thailand and do what the youngsters do, like, "Fuck it, I’m going to move to Thailand," you know, or just get really serious about his striking and get really serious about his Jiu Jitsu and fall in love with Jiu Jitsu and start watching Marcelo Garcia tapes and analyze his game more, he could be the world champion again for sure."

Basically Bravo is rehashing things that we already know. However, it's still cool to hear it come from someone like him. He's speaking the truth here as well. I think that's the main difference between today's fighters and the old guard that's currently being phased out. Think about it, you have the Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell's, Cro Cop's, and some others that got by on just using one aspect of the fight game. However, when these fighters go up against the youngsters of today that one aspect isn't enough. The proof's in the pudding, watch GSP vs. Hughes 2 or 3 and that is a prime example of what Bravo is talking about.