Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fighting Life: Mma Elite Talk About The Sport's Small Window Of Opportunity

And while that work would certainly produce results, the 30-year-old was facing an interesting wrinkle in the process. As Bader was hustling to expand his striking, he was about to move into the upper tier of one of the UFC's deepest divisions at light heavyweight. The biggest opportunities of his career were quickly approaching, and he was going to have to put those newly formed skills to the test. While not every matchup ended in Bader's favor, he has worked tirelessly to adapt to the environment that surrounds him. That said, the complexity of the process has absolutely brought him to a place where he recognizes the speed an MMA career can travel at. And because of this, he plans to make the most of the time he has. "That is not something fighters or athletes in general really want to think about," Bader said. "I have friends who were professional baseball players and had to leave the game because their shoulders were shot. They thought they were going to be fine with surgery and rehabilitation, but ultimately they never made it back. Granted, every sport has some degree of physical demand, but where other athletes are throwing a baseball or catching a football, we are getting punched in the face. It's a very unforgiving sport, but at the same time, few fighters ever want to retire. Look at some of the greats like Chuck Liddell. He pretty much had to be forced out. "There is a window of opportunity for you to be in your prime and to have your body perform at its best. You have to acquire all the skills necessary and keep winning fights in the process. But you also have to use that window to make money and set up a future outside of fighting as well. Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press "I also believe different styles play a big factor in how long that window stays open. Coming from a wrestling background and being able to take people down to avoid punishment has been a big factor in my career. I'm actually one of the least hit fighters on the UFC roster when it comes to absorbing significant strikes. I'm going to try to keep it that way too. I want to keep my career going for as long as I can, but the physical side of fighting is only a fraction of it. The mental side of fighting is a huge thing. "You see a lot of guys come back and say they didn't have the fire anymore and that is why they lost," he added. "After you have been doing this for a while, that flight-or-fight response goes away and you lose that fear that you might die out there. Those nerves create the sense you have to take this guy out, but those things go away with time.
For the original version visit http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1962899-the-fighting-life-mma-elite-talk-about-the-sports-small-window-of-opportunity

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