Of course, by definition that possible greatness has yet to prove itself. By definition it is still unproven, still unformed. But there are a few whose names may someday be mentioned alongside other hallowed names of the fight game.
In time Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez and Karo Parisyan may prove to be two such men. Sanchez and Parisyan are set to fight one another on August 17th at Ultimate Fight Night 6, which will be broadcast on Spike TV.
Both are fairly new to the UFC, both possess excellent Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career records, and they are two of the most talented MMA fighters under twenty-five. But why should we watch these two for possible signs of future UFC greatness?
Let's begin with Diego Sanchez. So far the 24-year-old Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez has produced a record of great promise. The 5 ft 10 in (178 cm), 170 lb (77 kg) warrior has a background in wrestling and Gaidojutsu--a submission wrestling system developed by Greg Jackson--and he has handily dominated all opponents. Diego's dazzling MMA record of 15 wins (4 by knockout, 7 by submission), 0 losses and 0 draws is a fine achievement by any standard; for the literally brutal world of mixed martial arts it's doubly impressive.
Sanchez fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the town of his birth. If you are a fan of The Ultimate Fighter TV series, you're sure to remember Diego; he was one of the first season contestants to go all the way and win a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. If you're memory's fuzzy here, you may remember the other match for a UFC contract during that first season finale: 'The War' between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, the match considered by many to be the most exciting single fight the young UFC sport has produced.
Born in Albuquerque on December 31, 1981, Diego began practicing martial arts at the age of 9, and started wrestling in 6th grade. As a senior at Del Norte High School, Sanchez won the state wrestling championship in the 152-pound weight class. Less than a year after graduating high school, Sanchez began training in mixed martial arts with Greg Jackson at Jackson's Gaidojutsu.
Now let's look at Karo Parisyan. His nickname is "The Heat," and for good reason. The 23-year-old Parisyan has a fine MMA record of 23 wins, 3 losses, and 0 draws, with 9 of his wins coming by way of submission. The 5 ft. 10 in. (178 cm), 169 lb. (76.5 kg) Parisyan fights out of North Hollywood, California, but was born in Yerevan, Armenia. Karo's fighting style is primarily a modified Judo.
Parisyan's parents opted to leave Armenia for America when Karo was six years old. He has lived in the state of California for the past fourteen years.
It was Karo's father who introduced him to the art of Judo; most in the know say Karo excelled at Judo even at this early age. It wasn't too long before Parisyan also took up a study of grappling techniques--a move he's said to have regarded as a particularly easy transition from his earlier study of Judo.
This combination of styles has paid off well: as a youth, Parisyan won six Junior National belts in Judo, and even competed in the 2004 Olympic trials for the sport. The combo is surely the secret to Karo's MMA success too.
Remember, pure Judo is a Japanese -do form--a martial art dedicated to studying the philosophical beauty behind hand-to-hand martial arts styles, rather than the practical side of martial arts forms. A Japanese martial art dedicated to practical fighting techniques is known as a -jitsu form: this usually makes Ju-Jitsu the practical side of Japanese hand combat.
Though Karo's martial art form is definitely a converted Judo style, it adds a practical knowledge of grappling techniques. This is why Parisyan is considered by many to be the first UFC fighter to have successfully adapted a Judo form to the UFC octagon.
As you may have guessed from his professional record and his very individual fighting style, Karo is a dedicated athlete. His workout schedule includes weightlifting, but he eases off the weights shortly before a match. Karo will normally train for approximately three hours every day, and five days every week.
Parisyan made his UFC debut on 9/23/03; his current UFC record is 5-1.
Only time will tell if these two fighters really have what it takes to become greats at their chosen sport. But whoever wins at Ultimate Fight Night 6, right now each man seems pretty damn promising.
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