Silly hypothetical: the UFC versus the real martial arts crew

I’ve watched a number of films featuring Bruce Lee and, moreover, Jet Lei (Romeo Must Die). I’ve also been subject to a number of Ultimate Fighting Club fights in which the participants displayed both the surreal amount to absorb blows and the ability to punish.
When it comes down to a flat-out street fight, I’d give the edge to the martial-arts guys. Sure, if grappled with and flattened, they’d be screwed. But I am consistently floored by the sheer speed with which Li et al. carry out their moved. I’m convinced that in a no-ruled brawl, the martial-arts guys (not that there’s no overlap) would wipe the floor with the UBC folk. The best of them are so frigging fast that it always seems as if the film has been speeded up 50% when in fact it has not. Li in his prime was a menace who never would have been pinned by an opponent, and probably would have cracked his larynx before he had a chance to get close.
What say you?

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  1. #1 by Russell on April 25, 2009 - 11:30 pm

    My money would be on the adult, untrained male chimpanzee.

  2. #2 by Doug Alder on April 26, 2009 - 12:49 am

    Absolutely Martial Arts.Bacjk in the late 60s I was introduced to a kung fu master in Vancouver’s China Town by one of my Chinese friends and that guy blew me away. He must have been in his late 70s early 80s and to demonstrate his “power” to me he walked up to me and visually it looked looked he was just casually reaching out to touch my shoulder, physically it literally threw me across the room. I so wanted to study with him but sorry not allowed – not Chinese. I was so disappointed.

  3. #3 by JYB on April 26, 2009 - 1:40 am

    It’s not really a good comparison because those kung fu guys devote their lives to it. From the time they’re children they’re spending hours a day. UFC guys are generally converted wrestlers or boxers or something like that. I’m going to assume that if you plucked a kid out from birth and made him train in MMA every day of his life he’d beat a one-style martial arts guy. I mean, the point of MMA is that there’s a mix. Many martial arts should be able to beat just one.

  4. #4 by Joseph Hewitt on April 26, 2009 - 2:12 am

    I wouldn’t call Bruce Lee a one-style martial arts guy- Jeet Kun DO was kind of like the original mixed martial art. It’s tragic on many levels that Bruce Lee died so young. If he were still around, the only Chuck Norris joke on the internet would be Chuck Norris himself.

  5. #5 by Anthony on April 26, 2009 - 4:37 am

    The UFC comes out of martial arts — the Gracie family, associated with a school of Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, were one of the original owners/promoters. In the early years, UFC fighters were ‘real martial artists’; people training specifically for the UFC are somewhat later.
    I would probably bet on the UFC fighter; while there are a fair number of artificial rules in UFC fighting, there are at least as many artificial rules in martial arts competitions and sparring, and the UFC fighter is likely to be familiar with a wider variety of opposing styles. Grappling is common in the UFC because it works.

  6. #6 by Anonymous on April 26, 2009 - 5:14 am

    First off it’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship not “Club”, the UFC originated in the early 90’s as a one-off tournament designed to determine what the ultimate fighting discipline was, hence the name.
    Fighters from various styles such as jiu-jitsu, boxing, savate, karate, sumo, etc. entered the tournament with jiu-jitsu coming out on top.
    The success of the event lead to more shows and gradually it began to evolve into the modern sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) as fighters became versed in multiple disciplines it became progressively harder for one dimensional fighters to compete.
    As to who would win between a martial artist & a mixed martial artist the question makes no sense as MMA fighters are martial artists.
    Georges St-Pierre the UFC Welterweight Champion is a Kyokushin karate Black belt & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black belt, Lyoto Machida the guy challenging for the UFC Light Heavyweight belt is a Shotokan Karate Black belt & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black belt as well as being versed in Sumo & Judo. A previous poster mentioned Jeet Kune Do a style employed by UFC fighter Ben Saunders.
    Finally top level UFC fighters train 5-6 days a week 2-3 training sessions a day year round with boxing coaches, Muay Thai kickboxing coaches, wrestling coaches, jiu-jitsu coaches, & strength and condtion coaches. Some random Kung-Fu practitioner would be obliterated in a fight with a top level MMA fighter. As a recent contestant on the latest season of the Ultimate fighter put it (paraphrased) “I trained Kung-Fu then I went to a MMA gym and got Kung-Fucked up”.

  7. #7 by jrshipley on April 26, 2009 - 7:11 am

    The MMA guys would destroy the movie stunt men. No doubt.

  8. #8 by Eric on April 26, 2009 - 9:14 am

    The major question here is which rules define the fight? UFC rules would contain the fighters to a bounded space, where most martial arts use an unbounded space (with penalties or stoppage for leaving a defined part of the space). I would posit that quickness is not much of an advantage in a cage, and the UFC fighter could overcome the quick martial arts guy pretty quickly. In a scored martial arts competition, the martial arts guy wins hands down, though.

  9. #9 by Kyuss on April 26, 2009 - 10:25 am

    Is this for real? There’s a reason why you don’t see specific martial arts in the UFC anymore. Mixed styles are the most effective and I have no doubt that any average UFC fighter would wipe the floor with the best kung-fu guy you could find. Where were all these “ancient masters” when the UFC was in it’s infancy? Ron Van Clief was the only one who had the stones to fight in the UFC and he was wiped out by Royce Gracie who was then wiped out by the modern MMA stylists. Hell Bruce Lee knew that a mixed style was the best – hence Jeet Kun Do.

  10. #10 by babblefis on April 27, 2009 - 12:15 am

    ebola > chimp > best mma fighter > best single martialist
    Wasn’t Ron Van Clief about 50 years old when he entered the octagon?
    When asked what background would make up the best mma fighter in general, Eddie Bravo thinks it is wrestlers. They have great strength from throwing guys around all their lives and there are enough wrestlers out there that to be all-american you have to be a stud athlete and it is easy to learn jj and striking compared to learning how to be a stud athlete and become a good wrestler.

  11. #11 by Chris | Martial Development on April 27, 2009 - 12:35 am

    Bruce Lee and Jet Li were famous martial arts /actors/. Unlike top names in the UFC, they did not become famous by beating other fighters.
    There are plenty of dangerous “traditional” martial arts fighters–but those are not them.

  12. #12 by opony szczecin on April 27, 2009 - 5:46 pm

    lets make new tournament

  13. #13 by opony szczecin on April 27, 2009 - 5:46 pm

    lets make new tournament

  14. #14 by Gingerbaker on April 28, 2009 - 12:00 pm

    Chris said:
    “Bruce Lee and Jet Li were famous martial arts /actors/. Unlike top names in the UFC, they did not become famous by beating other fighters.”
    I don’t know about that. I’ve read and seen a lot of biography about Bruce Lee, and he was always kicking the &%^(& out of asshats who felt they were the biggest and baddest and felt need to challenge him.
    This is part of the legend of Bruce Lee – he wasn’t just some dilettante – he walked the walk. And he did it every day.
    I knew someone who knew someone who went camping with Bruce Lee and a bunch of other guys. Lee eschewed them all and trained for hours every day of the trip. He could not be enticed away from his training, which reportedlyly included kicking trees damned hard.
    Granted, he was not fighting UFC guys, and we will never know how he might do in the Octogon, but he definitely took on a lot of well-trained martial artists in street fights and in exhibitions and removed most of them from consciousness very quickly.
    And talk about speed! In one of his famous movies (Enter the Dragon?), he has a fight with the big white guy who corners his sister and threatens rape. She kills herself with a shard of glass.
    In the fight scene, they eye each other with fists crossed at the wrist, completely still. Then, in an instant, Bruce Lee hits the guy with a powerful jab.
    I slowed the film down on my vcr, and looked at that punch frame by frame. Bruce Lee actually dropped his hand, and threw two feints with that hand, which dropped the opponents lead hand just a tad. He then threw the powerful jab just over the opponents dropped hand. You can not see this at all on full speed video – it looks just like one smooth punch.
    My best guess – Bruce Lee would destroy any UFC fighter he met – he was an off-the-charts athlete with extraordinary prowess in virtually every martial art form.

  15. #15 by Saint Gasoline on April 28, 2009 - 9:04 pm

    A mixed martial arts fighter with the same physical abilities as a practitioner of a single martial art would win virtually every time, simply by virtue of being more well-rounded. Bruce Lee may have had quick hands, but they could be made completely useless by simply putting him on the ground. And since you specify that this is a street fight, it seems fair to say that it would likely end up on the ground. You also have to take into account the fact that fighters in the UFC routinely prepare for fights that are more analagous to street fights, whereas most other martial arts are more artificial.
    Mixed martial arts is better because it emphasizes so many skills. Fighters have to learn wrestling, boxing, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, and more if they want to be among the most elite combatants. And throughout the history of MMA, which welcomes participants from individual martial arts, very few with only knowledge of a single martial art have made it very far. In fact, only a handful of mixed martial artists have been successful relying only on a single discipline or on a discipline outside the traditional MMA repertoire of wrestling, jiu jitsu, and kickboxing. Royce Gracie is an example of a straight jiu jitsu artist who had success, but he only did so in the early days when the competition was relatively weak. Of those with skills attributable to martial arts outside of the traditional MMA skillset, only names like Lyoto Machida and Cung Le stand out, who are the rare fighters capable of incorporating karate-style kicks and other attacks into their aresenals. So given that a traditional martial artist could stand to make quite a bit of money in the UFC or other events, and yet they do not, seems to show that any single style is far inferior to the multidisciplinary approach of MMA (unless you are just remarkably gifted like Lyoto Machida or Cung Le).

  16. #16 by Bert Chadick on April 30, 2009 - 7:24 pm

    Yikes. Now I remember why I carry heat. You guys are nuts.

  17. #17 by DJ on May 9, 2009 - 11:41 am

    I totally agree with those who say the UFC fighter would wipe the floor with any “traditional” martial artist. There is a very good reason the UFC has evolved from single martial art master competitors to those with stand up fighting capability and ground fighting/grappling expertise. Because it is superior. It has been shown to be so in the octagon.
    Don’t get me wrong, I L-O-V-E kung fu movies and Jet Li and Bruce Lee and all that. Wonderful displays of incredible ability. But MMA fighters are hands down more capable of delivering whoopass.

  18. #18 by Paul from Canterbury Atheists on May 10, 2009 - 6:21 pm

    Here’s the deal.
    Forget about the movies and firstly think about every pub/school-yard fight you have seen, that ended-up lasting more that 30 seconds, or more than one ‘king’ blow.
    What likely happened is this.
    90% of all fights involving combatants of similar physical abilities, ended-up going to the ground – right?
    Even boxing matches, would end-up as grappling matches, and on to the canvas, if the boxers were permitted.
    I will bet you the fighter, with the best ground-fighting technique backed-up with training, will win the majority of times.
    Cheers.
    Paul (who did Jiu Jitsu for three years, and ended-up breaking 3 bones in the process!)

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