(Dave Mandel/Sherdog)Building the Perfect Fighter: Who Is the Best of the Best? RJ Gardner October 30, 2014 Spotlight It’s time to play mad scientist and build the perfect MMA fighter. The sport of MMA is a whirlwind because there are some many aspects to it, and so many variables to account for. Perfection is impossible, but at least in other athletic endeavors, participants can get close to perfection. But in MMA, there are so many techniques, styles and approaches that no one will ever get close to perfection. But what if you could build a perfect fighter? Whose skills and attributes would you pull from? Hands Nick Diaz—When it comes to pure boxing in an MMA setting, no one is better that Diaz. His use of the jab and his accuracy rate are phenomenal. While Diaz is not the most powerful striker, his ability to attack with varying levels of power makes him difficult to read and he breaks down his opponents with accumulation. Legs Jose Aldo—When it comes to the kicking game in MMA, Aldo is as good as it gets. His leg kicks are devastating and his blend of speed, power and balance allow him to attack for various angles and distances with a myriad of techniques. Clinch Ronda Rousey—The clinch game in MMA is often underrated,but make no mistake, fighters with an elite clinch game are dangerous because of their ability to control the body of an opponent. In the clinch, these is no one better than Olympic bronze medal winning, Judoka Rousey. From the clinch, Rousey can control her opponents movement, hammer them with dirty boxing and knees or throw them to the mat in highlight reel fashion. Wrestling Daniel Cormier—Wrestling is arguably the best base an athlete can having coming in to MMA, because we have seen time and time again, that the fighter who controls where the fight takes place, is the fighter who wins; that is exactly what wrestlers are able to do. Even though there are wrestlers with better amature resumes in MMA, no one is a better MMA wrestler than Cormier. Just watch how Cormier manhandled two-time Olympian Dan Henderson and you will see he is the best in the game. Submissions Ronaldo Souza—Submissions have been one of the cornerstones in MMA and the submission game will always be an important part of the sport. Like everything else, the submission game has evolved greatly over the years because fighters are getting better and better in the grappling department. MMA has always been home to many of the greatest grapplers in the world and Souza is the best of the best. Not only was he one of the greatest pure grapplers off all time, but he has adapted his grappling perfectly for the MMA game. Power Melvin Manhoef—There are a lot of powerful strikers in MMA, but no one holds a candle to Manhoef. Manhoef has the kind of power that gives people nightmares. Manhoef competes at middleweight, but in 2008 he fought Mark Hunt at heavyweight and knocked him out; MARK HUNT! Alistair Overeem, Mirko Cro Cop and even the great Fedor Emelianenko all couldn’t knock Hunt out, but Manhoef did…enough said. Speed Demetrious Johnson—“Speed Kills” is one of the greatest sayings in sports and it is absolutely true. When a fighter can beat their opponent to the punch they win, just look at Johnson. Johnson fights in the fastest division in all of MMA and he makes everyone in that division look slow. Footwork Dominick Cruz—Having great footwork is important for many reasons; footwork is essential for creating attack angles, avoiding damage, defending takedowns and going for takedowns. Cruz has the best footwork in MMA and it isn’t even close. Everything he does is predicated on footwork and movement and that’s a big reason why he has been so dominant in the bantamweight division. Cardio Cain Velasquez—Simply put, Velasquez is a cardio monster; which is really amazing because he is a heavyweight. Not only does he have an elite skill set, but he just doesn’t quit putting pressure on his opponents. Cardio is the great equalizer in MMA. Even if a fighter is more skilled than another, he or she can break their will by staying in their face. As Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Chin Nick Diaz—Having a great chin is one of those things that can’t be taught; either you are born with one or you’re not. Diaz’s ability to push through an opponent’s power punches is uncanny. Having a great chin is a huge mental advantage too. If you have a great chin, you know you can stand in the pocket and take advantage of openings other fighters simply can’t because they can’t take the shots. Heart Frankie Edgar—Like a great chin, heart is something that can’t be taught and it can’t truly be quantified. But one thing is certain, Edgar has the biggest heart in MMA. His ability to fight through adversity made him a champion, and no matter how bad a fight gets, he’s never out of it because his will cannot be broken. Mind Jon Jones—BJ Penn was the most skilled fighter of all time, but he wasn’t a smart fighter; his mantra was “Just Scrap” and that mentality kept him from becoming the greatest fighter of all time. Being able to game plan and fight smart is key in MMA today if fighters want to become champions. Jones is the best example of that. Under the tutelage of the great, Greg Jackson, Jones has evolved into a winning machine. Jones knows how to execute a game plan and he knows when to adlib in the cage; his fight IQ is simply off the charts.