This Saturday I had the opportunity to see my first live Mixed Martial Arts event and boy was it a big one, UFC 128: Shogun Vs. Jones.
Jon “Bones” Jones showcased to everyone why he was the odds on favorite to defeat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and leave the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., with the Light Heavyweight championship.
Jones delivered vicious elbows and stiff punches to batter the Brazilian MMA star, decisively win the match and have the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s President Dana White place the championship belt around his waist.
Shogun tried his best to compete but was clearly battered as Jones’ physical attributes (he has an 84-inch reach) and talent was simply too much for the Brazilian. The crowd rejoiced when Shogun went down by TKO in the 3rd round.
I was impressed by Jones and what he accomplished but the experience taught me something else. It reminded me that the era of the scary and dominant Brazilian is over.
The era of Royce Gracie winning tournaments, surprising his opponents and proving to the world that his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the superior martial art is over. Americans learned from watching Gracie and the next generation of MMA fighter now uses it as a fundamental guide to fighting, making the sport more competitive.
If you’ve watched MMA over the past 15 years you know the sport has advanced tremendously and that fighters learn a variety of styles and techniques to compete. They usually have fundamentals in Jiu Jitsu, wrestling & boxing. At one point, Brazilians dominated the sport and were far ahead of everyone else. Other fighters didn’t know how to beat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
The first UFC event ever in 1993 was a way for the Brazilian Gracie family to show everyone that their Jiu Jitsu was way ahead of any other competitive fighting technique.
Fast forward to the present… gone are the days of Antonio Rodrigo Noguera, Wanderlei Silva and the famed Gracie Family on top. Now we have Cain Velasquez, Jon Jones, and Frankie Edgar as champions. Gone are the days of having an advantage because you trained in Brazil. Now champions are trained in New Mexico, San Jose or in the U.K.
Nobody is suggesting that Brazilians are no longer competitive. Look at middleweight Anderson “Spider” Silva and his dominance in his division. But ask Chael Sonnen (who almost defeated him) if he was afraid of Silva and of his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’d probably laugh at you.
What “Shogun” Rua’s loss told me Saturday night was Americans (and the rest of the world) have caught up with Brazil. The fear factor is gone and Jon “Bones” Jones win was an exclamation point if you ever even doubted it.
Victor García is an associate producer for Fox News Channel and a regular contributor to FoxNewsLatino.com.