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Β 5 UFC fighters who have adapted a traditional martial art for modern MMA

Frank Bonada
FEATURED WRITER

#4 UFC middleweight Cung Le - Taekwondo Kyokushin Karate

Cung Le's run in the UFC may have been relatively short, but the taekwondo black belt still made a huge impression. Having studied martial arts since his early years, Le was able to unleash a variety of brutal spinning attacks that could leave his opponents senseless in the blink of an eye.

The kryptonite of a fighter with a kick-heavy style is often opponents with wrestling backgrounds who can capitlase on the large movements that such kicks require. However, Cung Le combined his taekwondo skills with a solid wrestling base. This allowed him to counteract the typical weakness of a taekwondo fighter in MMA.

#3 UFC light heavyweight Lyoto Machida - Shotokan Karate

Lyoto Machida was arguably the first man to truly bring the spirit of karate into the UFC octagon. He utilized the iconic side on stance to great effect against a variety of opponents. However, he rarely attacked with the typical explosivity of a karate fighter. Instead Machida almost fell into the realms of a counter striker with a karate base.

This adaptation meant that his opponents were unable to capitalize on his openings, instead forcing them to come to him and enter his striking range. That is not to say that Machida wasn't adverse to the odd traditional karate attack - just watch his front kick KO over Vitor Belfort if you believe otherwise. Machida used this style to eventually capture the UFC light heavyweight belt in 2009.

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Edited by Jack Cunningham
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