Bas Rutten lived a storied MMA career which spanned 13 years and peaked with two titles -- UFC heavyweight champion and King of Pancrase champion. Since the heydays of "El Guapo", who would go into battle armed with nothing but wrestling compression shorts and an iron will, MMA has clearly evolved.
One man that represents that evolution is Jose Aldo, whom Rutten personally says is the best fighter in MMA.
"I think because his striking is so freaking similar to Ramon Dekkers', the best Thai boxer in the world pound for pound. I just like him because he's just so incredibly powerful with his strikes and on the ground, from what I understand, an even bigger nightmare. And he's just so close to Ramon Dekkers' striking style and I've admired that guy my whole life."
Aldo sports a 19-1 record and is a three-time defending UFC featherweight champion with a balanced striking and grappling skills. Gone are the days where Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was as foreign as the name Gracie, the sport has never been bigger with its athletes fluent in all aspects of MMA. Among the disciplines utilized, wrestling has been proven to be one of the more effective styles. Four of the six UFC champions have a wrestling base or have utilized their wrestling as a key to their victory. One issue that has become more apparent, nearly absent in Rutten's era is the "lay and pray strategy" that is almost infamously tied with wrestling.
The issue reared its ugly head once again during the Clay Guida and Anthony Pettis bout at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale just last month. Despite numerous submission attempts, Pettis was unable to stop Guida who effectively controlled Pettis en route to a unanimous decision victory. Rutten has previously stated through his twitter that he believed that Pettis won the fight since he was the busier of the two fighters, constantly trying to end the fight with submission attempts.
"You know, we are programmed now because if you see a guy moving on top and controlling a guy then you say, 'Okay, this guy who's going to win, he's the dominant guy.' In boxing if this guy is attacking for 12 rounds, constantly attacking, and only lands a few big bombs and the other guy's pretty much constantly on the defense and he lands a few bombs also but nothing major, the judges at the end, the guy who was the aggressor, the guy who was working is going to win," Rutten told MMA Fight Corner presented by FiveKnuckles.com.
"So now we need to bring that concept to the ground. Pettis was constantly attacking with submissions and I think that should count for something. Maybe there should be a rule where a fighter takes you down and doesn't go for big blows or looks to knock his opponent out, cause otherwise he would get submitted, then they should at least not count the take down. But there should be some different rules I think. A lot of those judges never wrestled or took submission classes in their lives. So they don't know what it is. They need really good well trained guys who are judges who know the game."
Rutten acknowledged that placing former fighters in the position of judging fights is a possible solution, but also pointed out that the pay scale would have to change in order to attract well credentialed judges.
"You know, it's a great thing but there is no money in it," Rutten said. "And...