The uneducated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fanboy would typically marvel at the fact that trained Mixed Martial Arts fighters are able to endure the powerful punches of their opponents. After all, a punch hurts. A barrage of punches would naturally hurt even more.
Pain is a biological component of the human condition. It is inevitable. Without pain and the subsequent spike of fear that activates our fight-or-flight reflexes, pumping adrenaline into our veins, humankind would have never evolved. Pain is a tool of survival.
However, in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Mixed Martial Arts, and ground fighting, the reality is this: UFC fighters do not take as many hits as a boxer would. Compared to boxers, UFC athletes have more weapons in their arsenal, and do not exclusively rely on punching power. A UFC fighter can legally wrestle, choke, elbow, kick, knee or pull an armbar on their opponent inside the cage. This results in not as many punches as in a boxing match, where the only available option for the boxers are to punch.
In a typical UFC match, most of the fight would be spent with the fighters maneuvering around each other, trying to wrestle or clinch their opponents. It seldom is a full-scale brawl. Jabs, as they are called in the UFC, are meant to wear down an opponent and set up power punches and kicks.
Fighters often say the punches that hurt the most are the ones you don’t see coming. That’s because they know how to move. During a fight in the UFC, Frank “The Crank” Camacho is extremely focused. Every muscle in his body is tuned to the bout.
To him, this is not some random back-alley brawl, or a jealousy-fueled scrap with a guy for looking at his girl. This is routine; this is the warrior’s art; he has been conditioned to endure the attacks of his opponent, and fight back with calculated ferocity. That focus, and a great deal of adrenaline, allows Frank to shrug off punches.
Does a punch hurt? Yeah. It should. It means you’re alive, your senses are working, and you can retaliate.
For Frank “The Crank” Camacho, it hurts so good.