Aside from Brock and Fedor both being reclusive and family oriented they couldn't be more different. Yet, their names, till both lost in the same year, have been linked since Brock became the UFC Champion. Now, in defeat, their path back to the top is linked as well.
You can't compare Brock and Fedor's careers. There is nowhere to begin that conversation. Brock burst on to the scene and redefined what a MMA heavyweight could be. He threw opponents to the ground and smashed them till their faces looked like strawberry jam. This seemed like a pretty effective game plan and till Brock met a truly multifaceted fighter in their prime, it worked. Fedor on the other hand built a storied career facing the best and/or the biggest. But, something happened to Fedor along the way as well. On July 19th, 2008 Fedor smashed Tim Sylvia and quickly finished with a rear naked choke, Koscheck's favorite finishing move. From that day on Fedor began to rely heavily on the knock out. Before, the man was a submission machine. He could pull a tap out from almost any position. After those KO's his game plan had changed and became overly predictable as time went on. Casting punch. clinch, repeat. It was only a matter of time before a master technician would figure this out and one did and capitalized. Then came Bigfoot and it seemed, especially in the second round, he knew what Fedor was going to do before Fedor did. No forbidden psychological mojo. Just a well prepared, multifaceted fighter executing a game plan against a predictable opponent.
Fedor and Brock are both, today, predictable fighters in their mid-30's. They both are stubborn as hell and they both will never get back to the top till they get up to speed with the elite in their division. There is only so much you learn from throwing Pat Barry or some M-1 sparring partner to the ground and pummeling them. Let's be clear, you can not reach the top of your division today without belonging to a diverse camp. Look at the very top of each weight class and find me someone that doesn't belong to a strong camp outside of Fedor and Brock. The question is will either of them venture out of their lairs and comfort zones to train in some of the sport's best gyms. As a fan I plead with both of them to get out of their back yards but I don't see it happening for either man. Brock will leave his home for 6 weeks for a big pay day, like TUF. But, I don't see him going to New Mexico or Southern California for an entire training camp. Fedor, I believe, doesn't think he needs to, he thinks he can win the way he always has. He can't. Not anymore. Not against the best. If both of them do train with the best, they can return to the top, and in a hurry.
Here is where the paths diverge. If Fedor hangs it up today he leaves the sport as the greatest heavyweight MMA has ever known, with the asterisk of his management making it difficult for all of us. If Brock loses to JDS, like I think he will, and he hangs it up, he leaves as a seismic blip on the radar screen of the UFC. The William "Refrigerator" Perry of MMA. The sad part is it doesn't have to be this way. Both could take on the mentality of two of the sport's current greats, GSP and Anderson Silva, and push themselves, reinvent themselves. Is it selfish, as fans, to ask them to? Maybe. If they do push, if they expand their repertoire, then both will be linked once again as two of the sports current best and maybe the match Dana wanted to put on in the new Cowboy Stadium will reach that kind of magnitude again. Your move, boys.