The apples and oranges argument of MMA vs. Boxing makes me roll my eyes sometimes. Some feel caged combat is overrated and deprived of any athletic craftsmanship. In contrast, others say clashes of the pugilistic variety are too one-dimensional and archaic to be considered real fighting. It’s easy to understand how MMA can look like an uneducated brawl at times, but you have to remember the sport is currently in its golden years.
Boxing’s organizational roots can be traced back to 1743, while the Marquess of Queensberry rules that were drafted in 1867 have governed Boxing ever since.
The first organized Mixed Martial Arts bout took place in 1989 in Japan for the Shooto promotion, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship held their inaugural event in 1993.
Outside of certain countries with no athletic commission, the Unified Rules drafted by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in 2000 are the standard rules that regulate MMA today.
That is 269 years for Boxing with 145 years under its current format compared to 23 years for Mixed Martial Arts with 12 years under its contemporary design. MMA is still evolving, and the evidence of this is dictated in the UFC’s welterweight division.
– Matt Hughes’ rule over the division:
Carlos Newton (2x)
Frank Trigg (2x)
Georges St. Pierre
- Georges St. Pierre’s rule over the division:
BJ Penn (2x)
Matt Hughes (2x)
Josh Koscheck (2x)
While both of their runs as champion are extraordinary, GSP’s resume is more impressive because he himself is a more complete fight than Matt Hughes, and his list of vanquished opponents are more well rounded than that of Hughes. You can’t knock Hughes’s accomplishments in the slightest as he was the best in his era; GSP is the best right now, and perhaps; Rory MacDonald is the heir apparent to be the next king of the division.
While certain fights may not be able to throw a jab to save their lives right now, MMA will look more refined to the untrained eye as the sport progresses its functionality and the fighters continue to evolve. It will be fascinating to see where the mixed martial arts is at the 145-year mark.