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Is Steven Seagal Secretly a Martial Arts Genius?

Steven Seagal lurks behind UFC President Dana White at yesterday's weigh ins. No, that is not a Photoshop.
Steven Seagal lurks behind UFC President Dana White at yesterday's weigh ins. No, that is not a Photoshop.

Greg Jackson had his moment in the sun, but it's time for the New Mexico based MMA trainer to slide over and allow Steven Seagal to take center stage. The movie star, best know for styling on henchmen with his Aikido inspired moves in hilariously bad action films like Hard to Kill and Under Siege, has rekindled his martial arts career with two amazing UFC cameo appearances.

Seagal, who ate his way out of even B-movie action roles has reinvented himself as a trainer to the stars. He made waves at UFC 117 by inexplicably appearing in the corner of middleweight champion Anderson Silva as the Brazilian star defended his belt against Chael Sonnen. But it was at UFC 126 when Seagal really caught the attention of MMA fans. Silva knocked out challenger Vitor Belfort with a front kick to the jaw he said he learned from Seagal.

"Steven Seagal helped me perfect that kick," Silva said post fight. "That was a kick we were working on before I stepped in. This was a kick that I trained a lot."

Amazingly it may have even been more than a PR stunt. Seagal claimed credit for working on the kick with not only Silva, but Silva's training partner Lyoto Machida. Known as "the Dragon, Machida used a jumping front kick to knock out the legendary Randy Couture, sending the former champion into retirement with a loss and without one of his teeth.

What can Seagal possibly do next? Will we see fellow Brazilian Junior dos Santos land a similar kick against Brock Lesnar at UFC 131 in Vancouver? Will fighter turn to other movie stars like Jet Li and Cynthia Rothrock for advice? Would the techniques outlined in American Ninja or Gymkata really work in the Octagon? Before Seagal I'd have laughed and issues a terse "no." In the wake of a second Seagal credited knockout, it's safe to say that nothing is certain in the twisted world of mixed martial arts.


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