Ever since I wrote my Royce vs Hughes opinion piece I’ve been getting occasional emails politely accusing me of disrespecting wrestling. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that wrestling – freestyle, Greco-Roman and catch – has had a HUGE influence on modern MMA.
However I stand by my point that rearmount is emphasized in jiu-jitsu to an extent not found in other martial arts. Rearmount DOES exist in wrestling, and I was taught it in Judo, but in both arts it is but a means to an end rather than the ultimate position of domination in itself.
If Matt Hughes had knocked out Royce with a left hook I’d have said that boxing won. If he had double legged him and KO’d him with a slam then wrestling skills would have been the decisive factor in the match. If he had won with a heel hook then I would point to the influence of catch wrestling, shooto and/or pancrase on modern MMA. As it turned out, the strategy Matt Hughes used was directly drawn from the jiu-jitsu playbook, as introduced to the world by Royce Gracie, in about 1993.
These arguments can go around and around for a very long time, and so long as nobody interprets it as my being disrespectful to wrestling then all is well in cyberspace.
On another note, if you want to argue that wrestling gave Matt Hughes his work ethic to remain a champion for so long I’d have to agree with you…