When it comes to MMA legends, there are few quite like the former UFC heavyweight champion, ‘El Guapo’ Bas Rutten.
Rutten captured the hearts of many throughout his mesmerizing run from 1993 to 1999 in Pancrase and the UFC as well as his super fun self-defense videos and commentary for PRIDE FC that followed his competitive career.
Bas is one of the smartest minds in the game but also has plenty of wild stories that you could never imagine. So an incident like what UFC 223 saw with Conor McGregor is definitely something that the UFC Hall of Famer had a take on. He spoke with Submission Radio recently to discuss what happened during the first week of April and how he feels about it.
“We are not in Conor McGregor’s shoes. You know? People can shout what they want, they have no clue what goes on.
I mean, he doesn’t only have money, he is super famous on top of that. I know the stupid stuff I did when I was 28 – I didn’t do that, okay, but you know, he has a group around him and he was already angry going in because they wanted to strip him of the title and he’s angry and now the partner, his friends, start saying, ‘hey, maybe we should throw something against them’. Like, ‘yeah,’ everybody starts agreeing. Yeah, you get caught up in the whole moment and you start doing it. That’s why I said when I was with Joe Rogan, I said, guys, we should give him a pass. And people online, they were like, is he crazy? I’m not saying that you excuse everything. I’m saying, yes, he’s going to have to pay for what he did, he goes to court, he has to do all that. I’m not saying that he doesn’t do those things.
Of course, he has to – and I said that on Joe Rogan as well – but give him a pass as a fan. Don’t kick the guy while he’s down. Don’t throw him under the bus. He did so much good for MMA. He just needs to find his way in this world. This guy was pretty much unknown four years ago, now he’s one of the most known guys on the planet. That’s a hard thing to deal with.
I don’t know if I could have done it. You know? So I always try to put myself in their shoes and I go, yeah, me with that kind of money at that age? I don’t know what would have happened to me. I’m a smart guy now, I would think that I would keep that money. But at 28? I don’t know, man. I was just a completely different animal. I hope they just…give him a pass, don’t spit him out yet. Let him see if he cleans up. I mean, you give Jon Jones a lot of passes. And me too, I love Jon Jones, I want to see him back. He’s such a talent that is gone and I want to see him fight. This could be a guy that could literally go undefeated his entire life. So yeah, I would love to see a guy like that back.”
The target of McGregor’s action has been made clear that it was the current UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov(who earned that title at UFC 223).
If they weren’t before, people are talking about that potential fight now more than ever. Bas gave his take on how he thinks it might play out.
“I go back to Chad Mendes, right? Chad had 12 days to train or something, and he put him on his back immediately pretty much. And he had a problem off his back. Khabib is a guy that is not gonna run out of gas, he’ll have a full training camp, he’s gonna be on him. Now, don’t get me wrong, and I mean, Khabib’s never been knocked out or nothing, but Conor can hit. He can really hit. And if he really uses footwork and he can land his shot and hopefully capitalise on that, but I think once it goes to the ground, a guy like Khabib is just very hard to get off of you.
Now, I don’t know what he’s been doing. He might have been wrestling even throughout his boxing camp that he had with Mayweather. I don’t know. But he knows it’s his Achilles heel, so he needs to work on that. And I was the same thing, I was pretty much the same as Conor. I was great striker, but I sucked at takedown defence. So I don’t know, it’s a hard one. It’s a puncher’s chance. He uses a lot of footwork and he can tag him and he can actually knock him out, stop him. Yeah, Conor can do it, but can he knock him out? That’s the question. Otherwise, it’s gonna be one of those fights. It’s gonna be gruelling, it’s gonna be constantly on him, on him, on him.
If you face a really good striker, there’s nothing worse in fighting than constantly pushing forward. You’re gonna need a lot of stamina for that. But then again, you’re wearing your opponent out as well. So it’s like the [Daniel] Cormier fights and Cain Velasquez. The best strikers have difficulty with them because you can’t put your feet down, and all the power comes from the foot. If I can’t push off of my back foot, I can’t put my bodyweight in the punch. Now, it doesn’t mean he can’t knock him out, of course he can. You know, there’s guys who get punched out with a punch like that. I’m not saying that. But in order to get a big guy or a strong guy, yeah, you might have your foot on the floor or two feet on the floor with hooks and uppercuts and at least your back foot on the floor once you start throwing straight punches. And if you can’t do that, well, it takes a lot of power away.
So if Khabib is probably going to do this the whole time and he’s [Conor] gonna have to work angles. But 25 minutes of fight time, it’s a long time to avoid a takedown.”
Do you agree with Bas Rutten on these situations?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/4/2018.