Here in the MMA world, we like to tout our athletes as being the most dangerous, well-rounded fighters on the planet — which is true, for the most part, with one glaring exception: archaeologists.
Over the course of four feature-length documentaries (well, three documentaries and one crime against humanity), famed archaeologist #IndianaJones proved himself nothing if not a prodigy in the art of ass-kicking. Whether he was squaring off with artifact-stealing Nazis, black magic cults, or artifact-stealing Nazis again, it was Jones' incredible brawn, not his brains, that led him to victory time and time again.
If there was one technique that Dr. Jones became known the world over for in his time as an archaeologist/freelance spy/part-time college professor, it was his fabled right hand. The dude hit hard. Like, five #DanHenderson H-bombs plus a Falcon Punch hard. He hit so hard, in fact, that he remains the only fighter to this day whose punch could be identified purely by the sound it made when landing on his opponent's jaw.
Audible qualities of his patented punches aside, was Indiana Jones actually that sound a fighter? It's a question that has divided scholars for nearly a century, which is why I'm here to put an end to this debate once and for all.
Let us begin by examining some of Indy's earlier tape.
Indiana Jones vs. Nazi Mechanic
Indiana Jones first cut his teeth in the fight game while competing on the lesser-known NFC (Nazi Fighting Championships) circuit in the mid 1930's. After making his way up the ranks with a string of stoppage wins over various mismatched journeyman, Jones faced his first true test in Heinrich "The Mechanic" Augsberger at NFC 6: Nowhere to Run(way).
Fighting up at least a couple weight classes (and with a Final Destination-level of Rube Goldbergian death traps surrounding him), Jones started off strong (if somewhat unseemly) against Augsberger, tricking him with the old "something on your shoe" before delivering an incredibly illegal kick to the groin. Being that these were the early days of the NFC, the presiding referee -- a Nazi pilot brandishing a Luger P08 -- allowed the action could continue.
Unfortunately for Jones, his over-reliance on his right hand made for some rather embarrassing exchanges in the early going, allowing the much larger, much slower Augsberger to easily evade the power shot and counter Jones with a stiff jab to score an early knockdown. One need look no further than the almost comical amount of distance between Jones' feet here to see how doomed this punch was from the start.
No jab, completely telegraphed, pointy elbows, 2/10 would not bang this punch.
Thankfully, Jones was able to recover from this faux pas and wear out Augsberger with the rope-a-dope technique that would later be popularized by Muhammad Ali -- which in Jones' case, mainly meant running in circles around an active plane like he was Kalib Starnes.
The strategy would ultimately pay off, however, when a fatigued Augsberger was forced to drop his hands and allow Jones the space to deliver a foursome of MONSTROUS right and left hooks.
While the fight analyst in me would like to dock Dr. Jones points for the absolutely insane amount of windup he puts into his punches, the fight fan in me simply cannot argue with those results. Augsberger looks like he doesn't know whether to be more confused that this puny American is busting his face up something fierce or that his hat hasn't even budged while doing it.
Augsberger eventually counters with a right uppercut and tries to put on a brave face, but he's so rocked by Jones' ferocious combination that he doesn't even take notice of the deafening propeller blades closing in on him until it's too late.
Final analysis: Indy was definitely a bit raw here in terms of skill, but more than made up for it with persistence, power, and just a fair bit of deception.
Indiana Jones vs. Big Thuggee
It is said that power cannot be taught to a fighter regardless of skill -- you're either born with it or you aren't. In my opinion, the same can be said about heart. Aside from having a chin that appeared to be made of solid granite, Indiana Jones simply did not have an ounce of quit in him. Look no further than his barnburner against Kabir "Big Thuggee" Chande for a prime example of this.
Battling not only an opponent at least twice his size, but the momentum of a rock-crushing conveyor belt and the voodoo effects of the young Maharajah, Jones displays marked improvement in both his standup and ground techniques, hitting Chande flush with a dropkick after failing to crush his ribs with a sledgehammer (a maneuver that would have certainly seen him slapped with a two-year ban by the overseeing athletic commission had it landed) in the opening moments of the fight.
Here, Jones first closes the distance by forcing his much larger opponent into a mining cart (via allowing himself to be ragdolled into said cart), then employs a pair of b-e-a-utiful upkicks to stagger Thuggee, but it's what comes after that is truly interesting.
Notice how Jones forces his much larger opponent to close the distance (and/or take a seat in the cart), then keeps him off balance by switching up his attacks between the head and body? This is a fighter not only adapting to his environment, but evolving his skillset to meet the needs of an ever-improving world of underground mongoloids. Brilliant.
Of course, Jones is forced to go into retreat mode when he is quite literally stabbed in the back via an interfering third party, but even then, his ability to take punch after punch without going unconscious remains steadfast. He regains his footing, once again attacking the head and body, and even locks on a rudimentary heel hook to sweep Chande when he is knocked down by another dastardly voodoo attack.
But, easily the highlight of this bout comes in the third round, when Jones counters an attempted foot stomp by HITTING THE THUGGEE WITH A CROSSCUT SAW and then reigning down an unholy fire of punches and elbows from mount.
That last backhand is just disrespectful, ladies and gentlemen -- probably the most ill-intentioned punch I have seen since Ryan Schultz vs. Chris Horodecki from back in the IFL days. And you gotta love that even Indy's possibly-adopted sidekick Short Round is getting in on the action here, thus demonstrating the truly awe-inspiring power of MMA to transcend generations.
Having been bested by the smaller man, the Thuggee is left with no option but to commit seppuku via steamroller/rockcrusher, saving him the embarrassment of seeing Jones receive 30-26 scores from the judges across the board.
Final analysis: Just a solid performance from Dr. Jones all around against a legitimate contender. Dare I say it, this kid's ready for a title shot.
(Note: As some of you have stated, Temple of Doom is actually meant to serve as a prequel to Raiders, therefore nullifying the idea that Jones would be a more advanced fighter at the time of this fight. To which I say, shut up nerds, and also, if that were true, then please explain how this joke is supposed to work.)
Indiana Jones vs. The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword
Seemingly not content with taking on just one opponent at a time, Indy's finest hour comes against a trio of fez-wearing assassins known as The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. I'll be brief, but suffice it to say, the improvements Jones has made to his punching game are apparent from the get-go. Just try not to applaud as he establishes a solid half guard to throw down some ground-n-pound on the back of a speeding boat, deliver one of the most hellacious right hands ever captured on celluloid (at the 1:28 mark), or catches gang leader Kazim with another incredible upkick.
But nothing Jones had ever accomplished in the cage (streets) up to this point even holds a candle to the brilliant sequence starting at the 2:30 mark. After leaping onto his attacker's boat, Indy blasts Kazim with a backfist, then his other opponent (a nameless jobber but an opponent nonetheless) with a right hand, then follows up with a sitting teep kick before tossing Kazim over his shoulders with a technique known in the Judo world as a Morote Seoinage, or Two-Armed Shoulder Throw.
Just like that, Dr. Jones turns a two-on-one disadvantage into a one v. one matchup. The technique catches Kazim so off guard that he's basically forced to surrender right then and there, having come to the earth-shattering revelation that all his years in the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword have done little to prepare him for the fighting prowess of an ophidiophobic history professor.
Final analysis: Flawless victory.
In conclusion, I have no doubts that Indiana Jones would have been a two, nay, three-division UFC champion had he not chosen the more scholarly pursuit of Nazi hunting, which #TimKennedy has already proven to be a part-time gig at best. In any case, let's all agree to finally put this debate behind us and get back to talking about how terrible a boxer Rocky Balboa was.