With MMA fast becoming the most popular sport in the world, it’s hard to see an Australian or a Kiwi for that matter ever becoming a world contender in the UFC.
It’s not because we are not talented enough but more because we are at a clear disadvantage.
The Americans grow up on wrestling – it’s entrenched into them at a young age and is one of the most popular sports amongst young teenagers in the states.
The collegiate system strongly supports wrestling, and many of the great MMA fighters have been All-Americans.
Brazillians have jiu-jitsu backgrounds, which also is a favourite pass time in South America.
If you wondered why all the UFC champions were either from America or Brazil now you know why.
If Australians want to be a force in MMA, I think we need wrestling in our schools right next to football, rugby union, rugby league, AFL and cricket.
Guy’s like Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Rashad Evans, Georges St Pierre and Frankie Edgar have all grown up with wrestling as their chosen sport and have gone on to be wrestling champions through high school and university.
When most of the professional football codes, whether it’s AFL or rugby, use wrestling coaches for fitness, strategic reasons or tackling methods, doesn’t it make it logical to have wrestling in our schools?
We could have the next Cain Velasquez or Jon Jones at high school and he wouldn’t get the chance to learn his skills at a young age.
Australia and New Zealand are producing some awesome fighter’s like Kyle Noke, George Sotiropoulos, Mark Hunt and James Te-Huna, but the reality is these guy’s may never become championship contenders because there wrestling skills aren’t up to scratch with the Americans.
With wrestling been so dominant in MMA these day’s, it’s hard to see the Southern Hemisphere ever producing top notch fighters unless we start training them at a young age like the South Americans.
Sotiropoulos been he most decorated fighter coming out of Australia but his last bout was a loss because he was unable to get Denis Siver to the ground.
His BJJ is very good, but without that All American wrestling style he was unable to pose his will on the German and ended up getting a beating and a half.
Let’s put things into perspective: if Mark Hunt took on someone like Velasquez it would be over in less than a minute if it went anywhere near the ground.
We need wrestling in our schools so kids can learn basic self-defense. If they’re good enough they may get scholarships to compete in America.
Either way, our fighters may never be close to getting a belt, unless they are superb freaks and have been given coaching and direction in their youth.