In this time of trash-talking, acting all macho and bravado, without slightest amount of respect towards opponent, very few stand out with direct opposites from everything mentioned above. As if they came from Pride days.
There were always “bad” guys, and there always will be, but back in the day, 90% of fighters stood their ground, had respect, and it mattered. Remember the likes of Nogueira, Sakuraba, Hunt, Goodridge, Schilt, CroCop, Fedor and the list goes on and on. They were bad-ass, and they still are, and they did not have to act out as nowadays fighters to stand out. Where did it all change, where did it all go downhill.
Since UFC bought Pride, they also got some of their biggest names and stars, some of which still fight like Shogun Rua. But at the same time, it was weird time, like two worlds collided, one of which pushes more towards mutual respect like a way of Samurai and other one that pushes towards trash-talking and acting up to gain more income. “It is as it is” as Max Holloway says, now we have all of this, big names, some of which still push for respect and do not see a reason to trash talk, shining examples are current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, aforementioned Holloway, Michele Waterson, Demian Maia, Junior Dos Santos etc. And my thought about all of this is that current era fighters will not have legacy and legendary status as those from the beginnings of MMA, no matter how many wins they rack, no matter how skilled they are, back then, fighters fought to live, they were way more active, and with that they had way more fights than fighters today. And it was as if they were backed up more from their company than today, where we see only few promoted heavily like McGregor, Jones etc. where back in the day, every fighter had same status for company and fighters were all equal.
Now some fighters who would be probably respectful, have to act just to be relevant. There is no uniqueness, everyone is almost the same, and it is a shame.