You pissed off somebody who looks like Colossus from X-Men, or some juiced-up gym rat douche just decided to pick a fight with you. You’re screwed and you don’t stand a chance, right?
To the average person, they are easily intimidated / falsely believe that having an imposing muscular physique with crazy bodybuilder Terminator-type muscles automatically mean they can kick a lot of ass. While having “beach muscles” will certainly help an individual in a physical encounter in the brute strength department, it often has very little to do with their actual fighting ability (and in some cases, their muscles actually work against them). Here are the most common facts to consider:
1. The best fighters in the world all consistently pack on lean, functional muscle and are not bulky “bodybuilder” types.
Heavyweight fighters aside; Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Buakaw Por Pramuk and many other great fighters are all fairly lean and don’t possess gigantic comic book type muscles. Their muscles are conditioned for strength, endurance, and functionality. Having beach muscles do not help their fighting abilities in any way and in the next fact, it actually hinders their performance.
2. Incredibly bulky fighters lack cardio, endurance, coordination, and tire easily.
They may be able to explode in the early minutes of a fight, but after that they are basically sitting ducks. This is because the more muscle mass they have, the more oxygen is needed to supply these muscles. This means they take a bigger toll on their gas tank and tire more easily. Examples include fighters such as Sokoudjou, Mariusz Pudzianowski, and Bobby Lashley.
3. Skill and technique overcome size and strength.
Bigger fighters usually(*) rely on their strength and are less technically skilled than smaller fighters. The lighter the weight class you go, the more technically sound and superior the fighters’ skills are. This is because smaller fighters have always traditionally needed to work harder in the gym to make up for their lack of size and strength. While in contrast, a bigger man can “get away” with having sloppy technique or less fighting knowledge because more often than not, he has relied on his size and strength alone to win fights. In the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, a skinny man by the name of Royce Gracie used the then-unknown martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to dispatch all his foes, many of whom were much bigger and stronger than him. This is where a smaller and technically superior fighter usually finds a way to beat the bigger, slower, sloppier, and less skilled fighter.
(*) In the event that a heavier fighter is just as technically skilled as a lighter fighter however, then the heavier fighter has an advantage and will most likely win if both fighters squared off. In our next post we will dive deeper into when a smaller man shouldn’t fight a bigger man.