This past weekend, I watched Pat Curran maul Bellator Featherweight titleholder Joe Warren with a flurry of punches that left Warren on title-less and on queer street. In a way, the fight was a vindication for all the fighters like Pat Curran, who take MMA seriously and train for this sport exclusively. With Warren, who is a fantastic athlete with world class wrestling credentials, you always get the feeling that he didn’t fully dedicate himself to the sport of MMA. Warren has supposedly been training for another run at the Summer Olympics in wrestling, so he was certainly in phenomenal shape, but he also looked unsure of what to do in an MMA fight when instincts take over – his tools are a wrestler’s tools, not a fighter.
Take a look at the fight highlights, or really at the Pat Curran highlights -
We have seen it time and again, since really the beginning of the modern MMA era in the early 90′s. Wrestlers seem particularly susceptible to this sort of folly, but Judoka, BJJ guys and many others have fallen victim as well. Great achievements in another genre of combat sports does not automatically translate into success in MMA.
The first time I recall the factor was with a stud wrestler named Kevin Jackson. Monday won three MMA fights handily, and then they upped his level of competition. Lion’s Den fighters Frank Shamrock and Jerry Bohlander both submitted Jackson, effectively ending his career before it even started.
I remember it also happened with a BJJ guy named Saulo Ribeiro. Saulo took on Japanese veteran Yuki Kondo with a resume that features a highly decorated JJ and Submission career, but very little MMA experience. Kondo meanwhile, had upwards of eighty fights. Saulo found out that if you attempt a sloppy takedown, you can be punched! Check it out -
Same with Joe Warren. He has had great success in MMA against guys he outclassed, but since the level of experience and MMA training of his opponents has gone up he has looked very unimpressive. How else does a defending champion go into a fight such a big underdog unless people are starting to see the holes in his game.
So, enjoy the Joe Warren video you see above. I’m willing to bet that will be the last time we see Joe Warren in an MMA fight. Oh by the way, wrestling is serious business too, and I am going to go on record that splitting his time into whatever MMA training he was doing will cost Warren and he won’t make the Olympic team either. Anonymous eternity beckons, Joe.