The rest of the field looked like they were in a different race! For the 200, it appears that about every 15-20 years, a phenomenal athlete comes along and redefines “fast.” The breakdown of 200 meter record times can be seen here. Up until very recently, Michael Johnson’s times were thought to be untouchable.
Track and Field has been around for a while. People have been testing their speed in organized events since 776 B.C. I’m hypothesizing the longer the sport has been around in an organized fashion, the longer the time span will be between athletes redefining greatness. What does this mean for Mixed Martial Arts? Although MMA is ancient in origin, it wasn’t truly developed in to an organized sport until quite recently. In fact, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship event was in 1993.
It seems every two years or so, a fighter is thought to be unbeatable. Fighters are constantly evolving their skills by cross training in different martial arts. The explosion in popularity MMA has received has resulted in a huge increase in availability of MMA schools, training philosophy, and media saturation. This hyper evolutionary process produces a dynamic, exponentially increasing standard for the skill set necessary to remain competitive in the sport.
For example, Matt Hughes was thought to be unbeatable just a few short years ago. In 2005, he rag dolled original MMA kingpin, Royce Gracie. Nobody could compete with his wrestling and submission grappling skill set. Then this guy Georges St. Pierre happened to come along:
This trend has replayed itself over and over in dramatic fashion since MMA’s organized inception. Without a doubt, today’s “unbeatable” fighters will fall flat very soon. I feel like I should give them their 15 seconds of fame and respect; who knows what next year brings.