MMA is a sport that while it hasn't been around for a long time, it already has a rich history built up around it. Over the past few years most of the older heroes have fallen to the wayside a bit; either a string of losses forcing them into retirement or they are simply languishing in mediocrity. We tend to brush them aside and treat them like they were never anything special, which in a way is a giant shame. This whole concept is what forced me to write a novel about a MMA fighter, because I found it frustrating to see fighters like Fedor Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva written off after age and their lives as fighters caught up with them.
To be frank; there are no more heroes in MMA anymore.
We've see this in the ratings on television, the buyrates for UFC PPVs and the ticket sales for UFC events. The old guard have fallen behind and the new breed are bland and lifeless imitators. Frankie Edgar is the best example that I can come up with as he fights this weekend for the Featherweight Championship against Champion Jose Aldo. Aldo is a tough kid who grew up in the tough country of Brazil and became a great fighter. Frankie Edgar is a guy that has been sold as a modern day Rocky, but has zero personality or ability to sell that whole narrative to anyone but his family.
The stark contrast to Edgar is Alistair Overeem, the former DREAM and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and K-1 World Grand Prix Champion. Overeem is a conquering hero who has spent most of his career cutting his teeth on fights outside of the Zuffa banner before making his UFC debut by making short work out of a once-dominant Brock Lesnar, pushing him into retirement and back into professional wrestling. Overeem is a huge specimen of a man and has a rather impressive skillset and brought with him an aura of invincibility that many fighters simply cannot acquire even after impressive win streaks.
This weekend he goes into battle with Bigfoot Silva, one of the few men to ever defeat Fedor Emelianenko and to do so in a dominant fashion. Overeem has had some setbacks, losing his title shot due to a failed drug test, but this is once again his chance to prove himself and to continue to be the last true hero in MMA.