I think that idea of "expert in one aspect of MMA" is disappearing. Is Rory MacDonald a mediocre MMA fighter? He started all at once. Was Fedor mediocre? Granted he may have started with Judo, but he'd been training and competing in Combat Sambo (MMA with headbuts and cool uniforms!) for a very long time prior to entering MMA. I think what we were actually seeing was people who were talented fighters who starting training before full time MMA training was an option continue being exceptional athletes while learning the rest of the ranges needed for MMA.
Originally Posted by Elemental Fist
"I have been doing MMA since I was 7 but that dude only did boxing (or BJJ, or Wrestling, or whatever) during that time so he has more potential to do well as an MMA fighter" makes zero sense.
I agree with Krigs.
They are athletes first and foremost. They go through gruelling training sessions, with a very detailed lifestyle, to get the best out of their bodies; a life the average joe wouldn't like or even be able to keep up with for the span of a professional career.
Of course, you have athletes and athletes. Some are so genius/gifted they can take up several things at once and improve at staggering paces, eventually arriving at the top. Others take longer because they are not as gifted and need more time to get sharp in some specific area, slowing their prof. career.
And then again, as much effort and dedication they put in, only the monsters (with a bit of luck) among them will be able to play in the big leagues for most of their careers.
Besides, there weren't that many "MMA" gyms ten years ago, so of course a great deal of fighters come from specific backgrounds. They probably didn't see "MMA gym" listed in their local newspapers, so they trained what was avaiable.