UFC President Dana White has referred to Bruce Lee as the “father of mixed martial arts.”
The legendary martial artist and actor — who would have been 73 today — has often been the focus of conversations that start, “Who is the greatest martial artist of all time?” But how would Lee have done in the UFC?
I have had this conversation with many people, including UFC superstars to average fight fans and even those that know little about combat sports.
We’ve seen the movies as a kid growing up, Enter the Dragon, Return of the Dragon, and others. (And FilmOn has an entire channel devoted classic Kung Fu movies. Watch it here.)
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What we see is a 135-pound man kicking butt every time he’s on the screen.
With his punches and kicks and lightning speed (Lee was so fast, directors had to tell him to slow down because the camera could not record his movements), Lee has mesmerized us with his martial arts ability, along with his swagger, confidence and ‘it’ factor.
The question remains, how would he fare today in the UFC?
White said he would do well in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, which I would agree. Others say Lee would beat everybody in the UFC (and world) if he was in his prime.
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That too is debatable, as Lee didn’t fight with rules — anything was fair game for him in a fight.
In 2008, Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, executive produced The Legend of Bruce Lee, a 50 episode series, covering the life of her father as a martial artist, actor and philosopher.
The budget was $7.3 million and broke viewership records in China as she wanted to produce a historical account of her father’s life.
You kick off with episode one, of the series here.
So back to the question, does Lee’s fighting ability reign supreme?
There are so many variables and factors to this question, I don’t think there will ever be an answer; unless we were to create a time machine and bring Lee to the future for a few matches.
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Since that will never happen, I guess that’s why this conversation will always be brought up from time to time; although one can surmise that Lee was one of the pioneers of MMA.
David Kano is lead writer for MMA Show News and co-host of The Hollywood MMA Show. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDKano.
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The 50 episode bio series The Legend of Bruce Lee is streaming around the clock on FilmOn:
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