Toughness on Display in St. Louis

ufc-fn124picToughness is an attribute that many talk about in the fighting world like it was the same as punching power or footwork.

It has quickly become a piece of a fighter’s make-up and for some fighters, it has become their biggest attribute in their careers.

There are plenty of fighters known to be tough and who will walk through the fire to get a win proving their toughness.

The reality is though, that toughness is just an inherent attribute for any fighter that decides to step into the octagon.

There is no fighter that heads into a sport where they walk into a cage and are guaranteed to get hit that is not a tough person.

That toughness attribute is with everyone that has ever fought in the octagon and nobody can be described as weak or not tough.

The real determination of toughness in any combat sport is a willingness to stand and trade rather than fighting a less risky style.

Although toughness can be considered a massive boost for a fighter the fact is that toughness can only be proven by fighting terribly.

Fighting a fight that requires a fighter to stand and take damage in order to win is never the smartest plan.

More often than not that is the result of a game plan blowing up in the middle of a fight or a fighter completely abandoning the game plan altogether.

It happens often to a number of fighters as they know they can take more than the average fighter and when they get some success in the stand-up they begin to swing away.

It isn’t a great strategy and although it creates great fights and legendary fighters it has proven to fail to produce championship fighters.

Still, fighters get into that habit and they continue to fight that way until they find someone that won’t meet them in the centre of the octagon.

Usually, that time comes when they reach the top of the division and are within striking distance of a title shot.

It wasn’t the case for two fighters that have been heralded for their toughness throughout their careers in the UFC.

Both Doo Ho Choi and Jeremy Stephens aren’t necessarily known for their technical ability when they fight.

They are known for taking damage and putting damage on other fighters and whether they win or lose they always seem to put on great fights.

For that ability to both inflict and take damage they have become fan favourites with Stephens doing it for a while and Choi just rising into the limelight.

Both fighters have risen to be a fighter that people want to watch but that style that they have rarely keeps them at the top.

Stephens knows this all too well as his style is exciting but he has yet to even fight for a title in the UFC.

Despite his long career and plenty of big names on his record, he has never been a top contender because he often gets to that point and then falls short.

Choi has yet to experience that as he continues to fight with reckless abandon as he rises through the ranks in the UFC.

If he could take a win against Stephens he would continue that rise and meat those top fighters that tend to fight differently.

Neither fight likely came into their main event at UFC Fight Night 124 with a game plan to stand in front of each other and swing away to see who won, despite how the fight was built.

Yet when they entered the octagon both would likely have to face that default setting that they had used so many times

The fight started out with both fighters playing it cautious for the most part knowing that they could be hit hard and see an end to the fight real quick.

All of that planning seemed to go out of the window in the second round though as both fighters started to land harder shots.

Those shots led to more and they began to go back and forth doing plenty of damage before Stephens eventually landed a big right hand.

The fight went to the ground and Stephens continued to land big shots putting on a show of ground and pound.

Choi turtled up and the fight was over giving Stephens the win and ruining the return of Choi.

The fight proved that there is that sense for fighters known for their toughness or at least their ability to take shots.

They eventually fall into the same patterns and when they find a fighter that will do the same fireworks ensue.

The question now is whether or not Stephens can actually get away from that habit and truly become a well-rounded fighter that can compete for a title.



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