DJ is the closest thing we have to the most technically brilliant boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux, right down to the disrespect he gets from the mainstream combat sport fan or from people that think pound for pound means weight matters, I mean if a 125 hits another 125 they could go out if a heavy weight hits a heavyweight they can go out hence weight classes were both happen the ignorance of basic physics is astounding. I mean let’s be clear heavier weights can move technically correct but choose to go the easy route unlike a Badr Hari or a Rico Verhoeven if you move correctly because you are smaller and move around with bigger guys in the gym you learn quickly how to properly defend and use footwork that’s all I will say. He’s the best simply the best not Conor not Jon not Dom nope the 125er is the best. Why that makes no since Ronda finishes girls immediately Jon is so dominate, Conor has two belts, because he has no super genetic advantages against his opponent even his cardio is pure hard work, everyone at his weight class has been fighting at 135 and 125 if not the same amount of time, longer with world class abilities everywhere. What separates DJ is his technical proficiency similar to Guillermo, Vasyal, Chocolatito, and Floyd. With people making outlandish comments about fighting even when these folks have no experience at the highest level of combat, just like casual fans of boxing saying Mayweather did not engage with Pacman enough (cough cough that’s not boxing that’s just stupid). With casual mma fans only seeing the cursory information with Ronda or Jon Jones they don’t realize that if someone was in there respective weight classes that fought just like DJ Ronda would be more screwed than she was with Holly and Jon would have to run for his money. Why, well I’ll get to that after my little wink wink rant.
What baffles many of the insiders or the folks that train is the idea that just because he’s little doesn’t mean he’s not exciting or dangerous I mean for god sakes the only reason Dominick Cruz won their fight was because he was tall and took him down after getting hit flush many times then he put his size on him when he could, but Dom was getting beat standing and that’s saying something to out strike the Bantamweight King. The casual fan with an ego may think he could beat him up, yeah okay that will never happen. He is too fast too crisp, to smart, and has too much cardio, he’s got a highly level of wrestling ability; for anyone but a 125 to really compete with him. He’s got the MASTER for a trainer who has forgotten more than most people think they know about fighting. If I said that there’s a guy fighting guys always going for the finish, finishing guys and he has every technique standing and grappling down pat everyone would be stoked to watch this fighter fight, but because DJ’s 125 and 5’3 he becomes outcasted. That’s the wild part but history will remember him as a great and history will decide if he is the best. You have to understand his struggle to understand his greatness in my own opinion.
Now for the TAO, Mighty Mouse is an expert at everything striking and a grappler making leaps and bounds. Striking wise Matt Humes and Brad Kurtsons Kickboxing, Savate, and Muay Thai ability and pedigree is still ahead of his time. MMs clinch work is beautiful against the cage kneeing his opponent’s body or head from the A frame or from the belly to belly or from the front headlock. Striking in the middle of the cage staying safe by guarding behind the shoulder after throwing, switching stances landing counter strikes staying inside the pocket and landing on the outside. Kicks off combinations and inside leg kicks that happen before his opponents can react. When he lands it’s never just one he’s moving with volume and pressure constant pressure. His cardio is a weapon and a weapon developed over time and constant endurance work, he doesn’t let them rest and when a volume percist puncher and fast grappler decides to pressure you your own endurance gets zapped. He’s a energy draining highly developed fighter with remarkably technical skill not a good mix for the opposition. For example look at this combination he put on Dodson in their final rounds, it was a devastating display of striking. Hes so percist he makes Connor look amature in a way which is high praise because from the single shot Conor is one of the best.
On a grappling level he is developed by Hume and Bibi Fernando for MMA similar to a Rickson and Renzo approach if you will. He stays safe first, then moves to step one which is usually to pass guard to get to side control, then he steps over the arm putting his knee in the elbow. Clasping the other arm to get the crucifix, then immediately landing elbows and punches to the face. Once the opponent starts to go into panic, immediately he capitalizes kimora setup, or americana set up to arm bar or whatever and finishes.He always looks to finish and that’s most apparent in his Horiguchi bout where he gets the latest finish in UFC history his records don’t lie. The really wild part of his game is his ghost like power double, he hits the ground like lightning, and shoots like an olympian. He sets it up with his striking better than GSP did. Everything he does is seamless and damn near perfect. Nobody else can say that you can clinch with him and eat knees and get beat on the inside and reversed so you take knees to the dome. Wrestle with him and you get beat because his movement is streamlined, try to out pressure him yeah good luck, out cardio-ing this guy you have a better chance trying to out smoke Nick Diaz and Nathan Diaz and then winning a triathlon race. His goal is to always improve upon himself and he takes every step to do it properly he doesn’t sacrifice what got him to the dance. Matt Hume being a descendant of original JDK members a legacy of Bruce Lee’s teaching lives on, he takes what is useful and ingrains it into his game and you see that in the span of his Bantamweight days to now. He just is a masterful guy like a Rickson, or a Ali, or Floyd, or the most recent Thai phenomenon lol. He’s a great already and will hopefully continue to be great inside and outside the cage.
Now for his not so great tendencies, he does make mistakes that get him in trouble sometimes or where he could capitalize to finish. Jack Slack at Fightland has a beautiful piece on Dj on his tendencies that have got him in trouble or what amounts to trouble for him. Check it OUT