We give major props to the Gracies for bringing us both BJJ and UFC. However, mixing the martial arts, and martial artist trying to make better competitions didn’t start in the US with the Gracies. I’d like to introduce two men who should be fairly well known to you, Joe Lewis and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.
Joe Lewis is a karate fighter. He fought at 195lbs and had a pro kickboxing record of 18-3. Of those wins, 16 of those were by knockout. Mind you, this was during the 70’s, long before this sort of stuff became mainstream. He had a karate base in Shorin Ryu, he trained with Bruce Lee in Jeet kune do, and under Sugar Ray Robinson (legendary boxer). He was voted the greatest karate fighter of all time.
Bill Wallace is best known as a karate fighter. He fought at 165 and had a pro kickboxing record of 22-0 with 13 of his wins by knockout. Although known for his kicking, he started out as a judo fighter and a wrestler. Due to an awful knee injury to his right leg, he had to take time off of judo training, and was introduced to karate. He also trained quite a bit of boxing. He was voted the second greatest karate fighter of all time (tying with Chuck Norris!). He also was a commentator for the first UFC! (Take that Joe Rogan)
So here we have full contact fighters from the early 70s who mix their martial arts, and even have a grappling back ground! Well both of these men became champions in their own weight divisions, but even after they retired, people wondered who was better. So they called them out of retirement and made them fight. Videos after the break.
Their match is a little long, but still pretty darn awesome. So watch their last match and enjoy. It helps to remember that there have always been great martial artists, because fighters will fight no even if there are no cameras and no sponsors, its just who we are.