MMA: Talent Is What Separates Cain Velasquez & Junior Dos Santos from the Crowd

MMA From Brawler

UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and the former champion Junior Dos Santos convincingly finished their opponents at UFC 160, as expected, which means that the two will fight for the third time later this year.

To an outsider of the sport of MMA this may sound like a bad thing since theoretically you would want several contenders consistently vying for the belt and not the same guys fighting repeatedly. But that assumption couldn’t be more wrong.

What makes repeat fights between Dos Santos and Velasquez is that these two are not just elite heavyweights. They are quite literally the elite of the elite. They are clearly on a higher level of competition than even the top of the weight class. The only fighters that can put these two in compromising situations are each other. Anyone else, they finish with ease and usually without a sustaining an injury in the process.

As I watched these two climb the ranks, it was very clear that they’d eventually meet at the top. Their first fight was the culmination of this young class of heavyweight, the new breed. They make the old guys look slow and they barely break a sweat when they knock the historic monuments off their pedestals.

It led everyone to wonder What’s different in these new guys? Not muscle, not size, speed is what separated these guys from the pack. “Speed kills” is what Cus D’Amato always told Mike Tyson and that has proven to be true in MMA as well as in Boxing.

But not everyone can be as fast as the next guy.

Punch MMA

The key here is the talent that these two possess. With practice, anyone can acquire a skill, as everyone in the UFC has done. But these two were born with something that many don’t have. That innate athleticism that allows them to fight with such quick efficient ferocity. It’s the thing that makes Jon Jones an artist in the octagon while being clumsy on the football field or basketball court. It’s the thing that allows Anderson Silva to toy with his prey before putting them out of their misery. It’s sometimes painful just to watch these guys punish their opponents for even challenging them.

The pair will be finishing their trilogy of fights in the fall and it will undoubtably be one of the most anticipated fights of the year. They’re 1-1, so many will perceive this to be the deciding factor to see who’s “better.”

But honestly, it won’t prove anything of the sort. Usually when speculating about the comparison in skill between two great fighters we ask ourselves how they’d fair if they fought ten times. From day one I’ve speculated that these two would probably be 5-5 if such a thing were to happen and look where we are now. Both have very convincing wins against each other, the types of convincing wins that usually end all speculation over who’s more talented or skilled.

But after two fights we’re not any closer to finding that out. That’s why I think these to may, and definitely should, fight more than three times. I’d go so far as to say they should fight five times. Even then we may only prove the fact that these two are so close in competition that trying to figure out who’s better is fruitless. They’ll more than likely trade wins and losses throughout their careers.

Sometimes it makes me think Who cares who’s better? Let’s just see ‘em fight! But I doubt that we’ll ever truly feel that way. It’s in our DNA. We’ll always be trying to find the best fighter in the world.


Want more MMA analysis? Go over to Brawler.co

As one of the newest additions to nappyafro, Nate is here to provide analysis of not only Hip-Hop but also sports. His editorials on MMA will broaden horizons and induce debate on the fastest growing sport in the world. He grew up on Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Project Pat as he would secretly make copies of his dad's rap albums as a child. He brings an open mind and a young perspective and doesn't speak on topics he isn't familiar with.
  • Quintinb777

    Although speed is a significant difference, I do think it goes beyond that. It doesn’t seem to me that you were specifically trying to state that speed alone was what separates them from others, but I would just like to clarify that I think that it is speed along with multiple other significant attributes that these fighters have that makes them great.
    Also, as a fan of the sport, I completely agree that I would like to see them fight each other many more times if they’re not losing to anyone else and show they can beat each other (as so far each has).
    Additionally, I’ve agreed with many of the things that you stated in the article for as long as they’ve been relevant. I also find it unlikely that the upcoming fight will actually show who’s definitely the better fighter. I personally wouldn’t specifically say 5-5, but I’ve always stated that it’d be difficult to predict who would win what amount in a hypothetical best of ten or however many. I also agree that, as of now, these two seem to be in a tier of their own in their division. I thought that for a while now, and it just keeps being supported with more action.
    Furthermore, although you state that you think we’ll never truly prefer not having a best in the world, I think otherwise is possible. I think that it could be quite good to have two competitors in the top tier, because we get to see the highest level competitor having to react to being competitively challenged. I think a good rivalry could be good for the sport. I think it’s very interesting that the Celtics and the Lakers have split amount of championships, as oppose to one team having all of them. Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos could be the Lakers and Celtics of heavyweight mixed martial artists. I enjoy seeing the very best practitioners facing each other.
    By the way, I like the inclusion of a gif in the the article, and I did enjoy the read in general.