Friday, November 28, 2008

Young Talent -- The Next Wave includes Anthony "Rumble" Johnson

Originally posted on

A few years ago, the paltry pay in MMA made transitioning into the sport a mixed bag for potential competitors. Nowadays, with sponsorships and the sport’s long-awaited foothold into the mainstream, the allure seems to have caught on.

Today’s MMA fighters started earlier than ever, have better pedigrees and are a dazzling infusion of young talent. Seeing athletes compete -- not just guys from a core discipline who wanted to fight -- has produced a raft of young talent that is so gifted, you wouldn’t know guys like Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was a good college wrestler because his hands are so deadly. And the sport’s boom has allowed smaller fighters, such as Miguel Torres, to emerge as budding stars.

In five years the crop of MMA talent will probably be another level up. It will be comprised of guys who started training specifically for MMA in high school, even junior high, as a rule rather than the exception. That is quite a thing to contemplate, especially given the widening talent pool that has already produced a raft of up-and-comers who are dispatching the old guard.

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