Though most of the fighters Cagewriter polled agreed that wrestling is the best base for MMA, two fighters dissented. WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres, defending his belt against Brian Bowles next Sunday, and Strikeforce fighter Nick Diaz, rumored to be fighting Jay Hieron at Strikeforece on August 15, pointed out that you can't say what will be a good base for a fighter without knowing the individual fighter.
Nick Diaz: "I don't think there is one discipline or style above another but I do believe that traditional arts are most effective, and with real boxing they are the best. When you're young you do karate, punching, kick-boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling and go from there. All the arts are good for something. You need to figure out what works best for you.
"But you shouldn't limit yourself to one style. You need to be well-rounded. Bruce Lee has been saying that from the beginning. You need to be conscious of what works for you, but also aware of what you're not good at. That's what you work on. It balances things out a little bit.''
Miguel Torres: "I think it's all relative to what style of personality you have. When I started out, I loved to stand up, so I did standup first. It came to me naturally. Then I learned jiu-jitsu, now I'm learning wrestling. There's other guys that I train with that come from wrestling and it's a great base, great ground tactics, but it's so hard for them to learn hands."
"You have to start with where you're comfortable at. And you have to start young. It's harder now to start later in your career, because you have guys who started out when you were 12 or 13, that are 18 now, and have all-skills. And you have guys who are coming out of college, and say, 'I wrestled, now I want to learn how to box.' It's all relative to what your exposure is, and who you have to train with. It's a matter of what you're good at, what you understand."
So you want to be a fighter? Then figure out what works for you. It might very well be wrestling, but as every successful mixed martial artist will tell you, you can't stop there.