Last Saturday, UFC middleweight, Jared Cannonier, scored a landmark victory over fellow former challenger, Marvin Vettori. But more than the satisfaction of defeating a formidable opponent, Cannonier etched his name in UFC history by setting the record for the most significant strikes in the middleweight division.
However, for this ambitious fighter, the journey has just begun.
A Champion's Vision
Cannonier isn't shy about acknowledging his ultimate goal: the title. He candidly admits his shortcomings, citing wrestling and grappling as the areas he needs to improve on, especially with the reigning champion of the category posing a threat that no one has managed to effectively challenge.
At the post-fight interview with MMA Junkie and other reporters at UFC on ESPN 46, Cannonier shared his aspirations to enhance his grappling skills to a point where it matches that of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undisputed king of the Dagestani school of grappling.
He confidently stated, “You guys better watch out – I can grapple, too. I haven’t even shown y’all my submission game yet. That’s just me taking you guys down, weighing on you guys, hitting you guys."
Emulating the Dagestani Technique
Cannonier has been studying the Dagestani fighters intently, viewing their proficiency in grappling as the mountain he must climb. “I want to be as good as those Khabibs (Nurmagomedov), good as those Islams (Makhachev) in there, good as all those guys as far as grappling goes," he declared, showing his respect for their prowess.
Continuing to express his unwavering determination, Cannonier added, "I’m going to keep working on my grappling. I’m going to keep getting better. I guess this is my second fight I’ve gotten a takedown, but my first fight that I’ve actively gone for takedowns.
Improvements: I just want to keep showing improvements. The next fight, I want to keep showing more improvements”.
An Ambitious Fighter's Path
While it's a tall order for Cannonier to reach the exceptional levels of mastery exhibited by Khabib and Islam, his ambitions are commendable.
Given his unwavering commitment, there's little doubt that he can significantly improve his skills, becoming a potential threat to other middleweights in the process.
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