Career longevity is a sign of a truly amazing athlete when it comes to mixed martial arts. A lot of guys can be really good for a short amount of time. It takes a great fighter to be good for a long time. While a plethora of other fighters have come and gone, three UFC fighters are set to appear at the upcoming UFC 200 event, almost seven years after also fighting at UFC 100.
It’s no secret that the UFC 200 card is absolutely stacked. Three title fights, nine current or former UFC champs, and an incredible amount of talent will make for one explosive and memorable milestone night. Nerves might affect some of the less experienced fighters on the card, as this is sure to be the biggest stage they have ever stepped on in their careers. However, for three of the guys on the card, this will be nothing new.
Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar and Jim Miller are no strangers to the big stage. All three of these men fought and won at UFC 100 back in 2009. Their veteran experience might serve as a competitive advantage on July 9. The experiences won’t be exactly the same for them this time around though.
Take Lesnar for example. At UFC 100, Lesnar was the UFC’s budding star, coming off of a win over the legendary Randy Couture in just his third fight in the Octagon. He was going up against a familiar opponent in Frank Mir, who he fought just a year and a half earlier. And now, he’ll be stepping into the cage against a new opponent with some serious knockout power after coming off of two straight losses, the most recent of which came way back in 2011.
The previous statement regarding longevity doesn’t really apply to Brock, seeing as how he hasn’t been in the octagon in almost five years. However, you can’t argue that he is not an incredible fighter. At least, not to his face. Lesnar will certainly draw from his experience when he faces off against Mark Hunt in the co-main event at UFC 200.
The difference in experiences will be almost the opposite for Jon Jones. At UFC 100, Jones fought Jake O’Brien on the undercard and picked up just his third UFC victory. All he has done since then was win 13 UFC fights (and lose one by a strange DQ), win the light heavyweight championship, get stripped of the title due to some less than outstanding citizen work, and win the interim light heavyweight championship on his way back to the top.
Clearly Jones is one of the UFC’s biggest stars now, but back at 100 he was still just an up and comer. This is certain to be a very different night for the interim champ as he has gone from undercard to main event. Jones will try to recapture his light heavyweight championship against Daniel Cormier.
The only fighter that will have virtually the same pre-fight experience going into UFC 200, is Jim Miller. The perpetually exciting lightweight took on Mac Danzig in a preliminary bout at UFC 100. Remember that statement about longevity? Miller is the perfect example of that. Since 100, Miller has had 18 UFC bouts, stepping into the Octagon at least twice each year since 2009. Talk about consistency.
In those 18 fights, Miller has sported an 11-6 record with one no contest. While that seems like an impressive feat that would put him near the top of the lightweight heap, he has also unfortunately slipped as of late, losing four of his last five. The one time title contender is now looking to remain relevant as he takes on Takanori Gomi in the opening fight of the prelims at 200.
There is no question that there previous experience will help them on this big stage, but will all three of these fighters see the same success that saw seven years ago at UFC 100?