Posted by: dvolpe | July 14, 2009

How would Bruce Lee Have Done in the UFC?

If Bruce Lee was in his prime today, would he be as successful in the UFC as Machida?

If Bruce Lee was in his prime today, would he be as successful in the UFC as Machida?

I think this is a question a lot of martial artist/MMA enthusiasts have wondered at some point. How would “The Dragon” have fared in the octagon? For the answer I say look no further than an0ther “Dragon” Lyoto Machida. Detractors might say that Machida is much larger than Bruce Lee, and a master of Karate and Brazilian Jujitsu, not Kung Fu and Jeet Kune Do as Bruce Lee was (creating the latter) but I still see so many similarities in their technique that I find it impossible not one to the other when looking at their fighting styles. Notice the balance the feeling out, the feints, the sudden flurries the careful planning, the cautious finding of range, the frustration of opponents, the use of quick kicks as jabs to extend range, and the timing of both fighters.

Now in fairness, Bruce Lee would have had to add ten pounds to his fighting weight just to compete in the Lightweight division of the UFC, but he would have used the same quickness of foot and hands, and careful measuring of range both to frustrate his opponents, keeping them at bay and to deliver knockout blows from a variety of unexpected angles.

Machida’s dismantling of, then, light heavyweight champion Rashard Evans in their title bout at UFC 98 resembled nothing more than a Bruce Lee movie. As he circled, nimbly, probing his opponent’s defense and then when the moment was right struck with incredible speed accuracy and power.

A case could be made that Machida’s Brazilian Jujitsu protects him from grappling and submission that Bruce Lee would have fallen prey to, but I disagree. One of the fundamental principles of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce’s own martial art, is to use whatever techniques are useful and disregard all those that aren’t. I think that Bruce would have absorbed all of the techniques that he found to be useful in the octagon from Brazilian Jujitsu to the Muay Thai clinch, because it was in his nature to immerse himself completely in whatever arena he plunged into and work harder than everyone else until he dominated it. I’m quite certain that had he chosen to pursue a career in MMA he would have found himself atop his weight division, just as Machida now stands atop his.

Quick Bits:

Orlando Magic Crazy like a fox? I have said so far on this blog that I expect the Orlando Magic to take a step backward this season due to the  loss of Hedo Turkoglu, but they have surprised me by retaining Marcin Gortat. This unexpected twist could be a hint at next year’s strategy. Will the emerging Gortat line up beside Dwight Howard instead of behind him? That front line would make them much tougher in the front court (although less versatile with the loss of Turkoglu) and all the sudden I like their chances a little better against teams loaded with bigs like the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics. On top of that they’ve now stolen Brandon Bass away from the Dallas Mavericks giving them even more depth in the front court however they line them up. When all the dust has cleared from Free Agency, I may have to revise my NBA teams to beat and see if the same teams as before are on top of the heap.

Overzealous Umpire? Much has been made of the umpire ringing up the final batter in Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez’s no- hitter in a manner that was perhaps a little too enthusiastic. I say, hey, give the guy a break. At least he wasn’t as bad as this guy:

The European Game: Pistons Forward Jonas Jerebko, when questioned about how his game would fit the NBA, had this to say: “There’s more space here, so I feel comfortable taking the ball to the basket. In Europe, you’ve got 18 people in the paint just waiting for you. Here, it’s more open and it’s easier to get your shot off.” Dang, really? 18?! What kind of ball they playing in Europe these days?

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