GSP’s coach Firas Zahabi was very critical about Jiu-Jitsu’s use in MMA in a recent interview with Sherdog.com.
Firas is a BJJ black belt but feels that the fact that Jiu-Jitsu players don’t learn wrestling is a huge handicap for them in MMA.
He cites Jose Aldo as a great example of BJJ player who has adapted perfectly to MMA:
Aldo is not just a grappler — he can wrestle, too — but he uses his jiu-jitsu in reverse, where 99 percent of the jiu-jitsu community believes that you don’t do that… His jiu-jitsu, I would say, is number one, because he’s used jiu-jitsu in his fights. He uses jiu-jitsu in reverse. Why don’t more jiu-jitsu guys do that? Why is it that only wrestlers are smart enough to use their skill in reverse? I’ll give you my answer to that question, because I’ve thought about it intensively.
One, BJJ guys are s— athletes. No offense to the BJJ world. I love BJJ; I’m a BJJ fanatic. I just think that their counterparts — the wrestlers — have outdone them in the physical realm. Two, the wrestlers are better strategists. Why? When you wrestle, you have three rounds, so you start thinking about strategy as importance. In jiu-jitsu, it’s one round. When the wrestler starts in MMA, he’s thinking, I’ve got to win two out of the three, minimum. That’s the minimum for victory. It’s not what I’m looking for, but it’s the minimum. A jiu-jitsu guy will do something crazy at the end of a round he was winning. Maybe he goes from top position to the bottom looking for a fancy armbar and gives up the round or gives up the position. They make more strategic mistakes than the wrestlers. Wrestlers use their wrestling in reverse; jiu-jitsu guys, no. Third, jiu-jitsu guys, when they roll, when they train, it’s too far from the reality of what happens in the cage, whereas if you look at the training at Tristar, we have to sweep, submit or get up. If we get up, it’s my turn to wrestle you, and we wrestle.
Wrestlers are learning jiu-jitsu, and jiu-jitsu guys aren’t so open-minded to the wrestling. They don’t understand that wrestling is as technical as jiu-jitsu. It’s jiu-jitsu standing up, why are you not in love with it? Why doesn’t it fascinate you?