The Conquest Theory
by Connor Dillon
Official entry for The Ultimate Fight Collection 2013 Contest
For a college course I read an interesting historical theory. It was used in particular reference to Frontier history in the book The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West, by Patricia Limerick. Anyone interested in Western/Frontier history should pick up the book, it's a very deep read. Within, Limerick describes the history of the Frontier as, "...a study of a place undergoing conquest and never fully escaping its consequences."
So what the hell does Frontier history have to do with combat sports?
I propose that in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), at a certain time, there exists a conquest; of tactics, theory, and skills. One merely has to look at fights like Royce Gracie-Art Jimmerson, Kazushi Sakuraba-Royce Gracie 1, and George St. Pierre-[Anyone not named Johny Hendricks that he's fought since he beat Matt Serra] to see that there exists at a point in time a new conquest in MMA.
Applying this to the UFC in 2013, what advances or conquests did we see? We saw at the beginning of the year, Vitor Belfort introducing new tricks from the old dinosaur, defeating Michael Bisping via headkick and follow up punches. We saw TJ Grant step up into title contention by knocking out Matt Wiman and following it up with a one-round knockout of former champion contender Gray Maynard. We saw Antonio ‘Bigfoot' Silva come from behind and utterly destroy Alistar Overeem in one of the scariest and exciting endings of the year before going to war with Mark Hunt in one of the best Heavyweight fights of all time. Finally, we viewed Renan Barão establish himself as ‘the Man' at Bantamweight by finishing Michael McDonald, and Eddie Wineland, two men who are conquests themselves of past generations. Throughout the year we've just seen excitement galore. In my humble opinion, it truly has been one of the best years in MMA and combat sports ever.
But what I think will define this year more than any other will be the rise of Women's MMA within the UFC. Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche brought down the house at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, introducing a fighting spirit and back and forth bout that had the crowd on their feet. WMMA within the UFC wouldn't let up either, as fighters like Cat Zingano, Miesha Tate, Sara McMann, and Amanda Nunes brought the hype train fully loaded into the station. These women introduced a new conquest within the Octagon, one that defied barriers presented by Dana White, who stated that women will never fight in the UFC, by the fans who didn't "get it", and by writers like Eric Holden and Rep. Steve Hickey, who infamously said: "MMA Cage Fighting is the child porn of sports." It was even rocked with scandals, with many a fan arguing about Fallon Fox, a transgendered athlete who fought several times in Florida before coming out to the MMA community at large.
Moving from this year to the next, even more women will be brought into the UFC. They have announced plans to introduce a Strawweight division, bringing in fighters like Bec Hyatt, Carla Esparza, and Tecia Torres to ply their wares in the Octagon. With this burgeoning light on WMMA within the UFC, I feel like this year in the history of the UFC will most likely reflect the addition of women into the UFC. From their exciting fights, to clear ratings drawings during the TUF season, which featured men and women in the house, the conquest theory is clearly exhibited.
Women have conquered the Octagon, and left us more than a little shocked and awed.
Connor Dillon is an avid combat sports fan. He enjoys making fun of Ben, fan-boying over Conor McGregor, and playing video games. When he isn't doing that, he's probably off working, editing media, or at school. If you wish to contact him, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connor will be writing a more in-depth analysis of the conquest theory within mixed martial arts, albeit with many more sources and scholastic writing.