Not only is Mixed Martial arts pretty much one of the fastest growing sports phenomena in the world, it is also hands down, one of the most downright challenging ones we well. After all, as an MMA fighter, you have to be completely prepared to think both tactically as well strategically and look at the bigger picture – one that would involve plenty of guts and patience and hard work.
This is precisely why this sport is not for everyone since it will demand commitment, courage, fortitude, and determination. In the end, it is not life itself that matters, but the raw bravery that you bring to the table. It takes guts for a person to launch an all-out attack even as his opponent is trying his level best to effectively knock him or to force him to submit.
To the casual spectator enjoying the sport, the mini little war that is being waged inside the cage may well look and seem glamorous. After all, seeing one’s favorite warriors battle it in a medley of swing fists and smashing kicks while being cheered on by thousands of fans is quite an adrenalin rush. As for the fighters themselves, they are engaged in ‘mortal combat’ to prove their worth, not just for others but in their own eyes as well.
However, truth be told, beyond all the danger and the thrill and the well-lit fighting rings, there is a lot of hard work involved. The blood, sweat, and tears that culminate in that final glory moment in an all-important tournament.
Let us check some of the most inspirational fighters on the MMA circuit today.
Nick Newell: The Man who was not ‘disabled’ but ‘differently abled’
In MMA, even the toughest are not tough enough. But good ole Nick had it much worse. Not only was he an exciting and gritty fighter to watch, but he was born without a hand and became ‘the best’ XFC lightweight champion, of his age.
Let that sink in for a moment. He was up and against some of the best fighters of his age and he did not have a hand to his credit. His opponents were not only fully abled but had trained to fight with all their limbs intact, and yet he clinched the title. He has since retired and is content to rest on his undoubtedly awesome laurels. But in the doing, he blazed a path to glory that has been an inspiration to many others who saw his determination and resolved to become MMA fighters themselves.
Nick Newell is an inspiration for all the right reasons. He came back from retirement and competed against Sonny Luque at LFA 35 only to secure an impressive win. Nick also has a lot of support from the MMA community to win a contract at the Dana White’s Contender Series.
Joe Lozito: Float like a butterfly… Sting like a bee
The name “Joe Lozito” probably does not ring a bell (no pun intended) in the mind of the avid MMA fan. This is because he armed his laurels not in the ring, but rather outside it. Or rather, inside the New York City subway.
Joe was confronted by a drug-crazed knife-wielding attacker who actually wanted to end his life for daring to thwart his robbery attempt. But clearly, Joe had decided that he would not be just another statistic in the “Big Apple’s soaring crime rate. Instead of being a timid victim, he took action and save his fellow passengers from the armed and desperate felon. His knowledge of MMA techniques proved to be useful and he could save not only himself but others as well from what might have been a massacre.
In fact, the UFC president Dana White himself had been so impressed with Joe’s story that he asked him to sit at the cage side table as a guest of honor at UFC 128.
Drew Heredia: The Child who was a real man inside
MMA is all about action, courage, and bravery even when the odds are against you.
A nine-year-old kid could exemplify the MMA spirit when he was walking his friend’s dog. The boys were accosted by a large and aggressive animal who attacked and severely injured his friend and his faithful canine companion. Under the circumstances, most people would have run away, screaming in terror. But this plucky nine-year-old kid did the opposite.
He used a common MMA chokehold on the large aggressive animal who had already tasted blood. He held him by the neck and held him off, till help arrived, which was almost half an hour later. For this, he was appreciated not only by the local news media but the MMA circuit.
Alan Belcher: One of the greatest comebacks of all time
They call him “the talent” for a reason.
If you are injured and your eyeball has come out of your head, then it is a career-ending injury for sure. And no amount of raw talent alone could salvage such a career. Here, it was a detached retina that left him blind in one eye.
He was out of action for over a year going through multiple surgeries, but his taste for MMA fighting got the better of him. Yes, Alan went right back into the ring against the advice of his doctors.
One by one, his opponents, from the mid-level Jason Macdonald to the mighty Rousimar Palhares succumbed to his perseverance and ability to fight back, hard.
Rich Franklin: The Math Teacher Who kept on kicking
Most MMA fighters train since childhood have hardcore backgrounds in the sport. So, the last person you would expect to step into the cage would be… A math teacher. Yes, you read this one right. Rich Franklin is a math teacher whose training chiefly comprised of watching YouTube videos!
Yes, he was beaten and bloodied, time and again, by more experienced and well-trained fighters but he got up every time and never refused to give up. He finally clinched the coveted UFC middleweight champion.
Remember, if a nine-year-old kid can take on a large aggressive canine, if a math teacher can become a champion, if a man born without a hand can reach the topmost levels of the sport so can you. What is preventing you from trying to pursue a cause greater than your own self? If they can do it so can you! There are MMA organizations out there that can help guide you towards all of your goals.
Article By: James Smith
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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