While Kenny Florian was walking out to face Jose Aldo, Joe Rogan speculated that maybe growing up playing soccer had something to do with kicking power as a martial artist, noting correctly that both Florian and Aldo had played soccer at a high level before becoming professional mixed martial artists. This is the sort of thing that SportScience was created for. If we had to pick a bunch of guys in order to empirically test this theory we could take a bunch of UFC fighters, test the kicking power of a sample of ex-soccer playing fighters, compare that to a sample of non-soccer playing fighters and measure the correlation for statistical significance.
It would be a pretty boring experiment which probably wouldn’t lead kids to start playing more soccer to develop better kicks for MMA. Still, you’d be surprised by what’s getting funded these days. For example, this study showing brain activity in dead salmon. Who am I kidding? The salmon study is awesome. If you wanted to do some data collection, you could start this Saturday with ex-semi-pro soccer player Brad Pickett. He told me that if we arranged some sort of three way match between him, Florian and Aldo, he would be the better player because of his sheer determination and competitiveness. Check out his fights against Scott Jorgenson and Demetrious Johnson for evidence of that.
On Saturday Brad, who many see as the most likely candidate to be the first UFC champion from the UK, will fight Renan Barão. We caught up with Brad earlier to see how he feels about this, and how he plans to beat Barão, who is unbeaten in 26 fights and he told us that he thinks this fight is his to lose, adding:
“I don’t feel any pressure just now, all I’m worried about is performing to the best of my ability. I know that if I can do that, I’ll win. Renan hasn’t fought the caliber of opponent I have faced. I’ll be his toughest fight to date.
Wrestling will definitely be the key factor in the fight, as it is in most MMA fights now. It’s difficult to always get the finish when you’re fighting guys at this level so you have to be prepared to go the distance and look to win key parts of the fight.”
With a win over previous contender Johnson, a win here could put Pickett in title contention, but he isn’t looking past Barão, just like you shouldn’t look past that dead salmon study, that’s important scientific research right there.