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MORE ON PULVER VS. LUDWIG: John Hanlon was at last night’s UCC show, and he has a new article up at

The big news, of course, is that Duane Ludwig knocked out Jens Pulver. But, Ludwig did not merely knock Pulver out, he knocked him through the ropes!

This fight perfectly illustrates why it is so difficult to remain on top in MMA. Pulver left the UFC as its champion and on a roll, having defeated Caol Uno, B.J. Penn, Dennis Hallman and John Lewis. He followed that up with a win over Takehiro Murahama. Many people considered Pulver the best 155-pound fighter in the world.

Pulver had showed superior boxing skills and the wrestling ability necessary to avoid takedowns. Pulver was dictating that fights take place on the feet, and his ability to control where the fight took place made him seem nearly unbeatable.

But, match-ups are everything in MMA, and the match-up with Ludwig presented a serious problem for Pulver. Ludwig is a world-class kick boxer who also looks to keep a fight on the feet. While Pulver’s boxing skills are good, he had never faced a striker of this caliber. So, the question became whether Pulver would change styles and take the fight to the ground, or would he make the mistake of trying to bang with the kick boxer.

Before the fight, Pulver loudly declared that he would bang with Ludwig. True to his word, Pulver came out of his corner and landed a glancing left hook. Around one minute later, he was lying unconscious outside the ring, and a MMA axiom had been proven true.

You can be the best MMA fighter in the world, but the skills required in the sport are so diverse that you cannot be the best at all of them. Almost inevitably you will fight someone who will exploit your weakness, or who will be stronger in an area you consider your strength. Even if many of the opponents you beat may be able to beat this person, you will not. That is part of the beauty of MMA.

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