Perspective. Everyone has their own perspective of things and MMA is no different. We have a lot of different views in MMA, some people believe Jon Jones is the greatest fighter of all time and some people think it’s Georges St-Pierre. Or we have the views that the Lightweight division is the toughest division to be in, in comparison to the views that think it’s Heavyweight division. But, if there’s one thing that will always divide fans, it’s their view of what makes a good fight.
If I was to look at some of the best fights of all time, you’d see fights like Jones vs Gustafsson 1, Henderson vs Rua 1 and Adesanya vs Gastelum. Now these are some insane matches but there’s one thing these all have in common. They were predominately stand-up only and there was a lack of ground game and wrestling involved. And I’m sure if I was to look up a list of the best MMA or UFC or Bellator fights of all time, I’d be met with fights similar to these.
So, does this mean that wrestling and ground game in general is boring? For me personally, it doesn’t. However, there are a lot of people that just see MMA as just cagefighting, so they are more likely just interested in seeing blood and broken noses instead of grappling and submissions.
I think this is why people find the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kamaru Usman boring and the likes of Paulo Costa and Justin Gaethje exciting. However, I personally love to see those guys fight as I respect and I’m a fan of amateur wrestling. I also think it comes down to how much you understand wrestling as well. There are a lot of decisions that go on in fighters heads when wrestling and I personally had to watch a few shows and documentaries to grasp it myself as it’s much more technical than people think and it’s also conservative to the body as well, as less damage is taken from strikes.
Essentially, the answer to the question is what I started off with. Perspective. I just think it’s interesting to delve into the minds of fans to see why.