I’m chiming in with my thoughts on amateur fighters and fights. I have 10-15 amateur fighters in my gym and use this way of thinking when matching them.
Firstly, the amateurs fall into 2 categories.
- The ones who want to have a pro career and are using the amateur ranks to gain experience to best equip them for that.
- The one’s who love MMA, want to compete but don’t have the inclination to pursue MMA as career.
Let’s talk about the first group, those men and women that really want to be professional MMA fighters. This is where the amateur ranks become so important, the amateur fights are like the apprenticeship period. You get a feel for the job and are slowly trusted with more responsibility as your skill set improves. However, the amateurs must be used for development. Do you want to turn pro having never had a tough fight? I don’t think so, you need to have faith in your ability to face adversity and be able to get really comfortable being uncomfortable. Take some shots, escape some bad positions, and maybe even take an L or two. Fight the best guys in your weight class and test yourself. It could be argued that your last 3 amateur fights are tougher than your first 3 pro fights. Obviously as a pro I am going to take better care with matches as the record becomes important.
In closing I would go out on a limb and say UFC matchmakers Maynard and Shelby have no interest in a fighter’s amateur career. Amateur’s should be looked at as a learning experience with the bigger picture in mind, the shiny belts and undefeated amateur records count for little in the pro ranks and the big shows don’t care about them either.
The ones who are just looking to have some fun and enjoy the sport at a competitive level are different, they should be trying to remain undefeated and collect shiny things as this is their legacy, whereas a pro career legacy is something totally different.