As the title of this post suggests, I am going to be looking at whether or not having a beard helps to make you a better MMA fighter. Some of you may be reading this thinking “no way, having a beard has absolutely no bearing on your ability as a fighter” and some of you may be thinking “Hmm, I wonder if having a beard does help in any way?” I was more tilted towards the second option, so I thought I would write this piece.
There are a few different theories and ideas related to the potential advantages of having a beard in a fight. Some people think it acts as a cushion, which softens the impact of punches and strikes that land to the face or chin. I am not so sure I agree with this as the buffer that a beard provides would surely make little or no difference to the outcome of a powerful hook or overhand punch that lands on the chin.
Many think that a beard acts a a distraction during a fight, some simply think that it brings you luck and I am sure that a lot of guys just have a beard because they think it looks good.
I think a good place to start is UFC 159, which recently took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on April 27. The most obvious bout to look at is Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy because they both sport beards and have done so for a while . They also happen to have amazing ability and skill, so they are already ticking the boxes when it comes to having a beard. They won “Fight of the Night” honors for their outstanding matchup on the night and Pat Healy also earned “Submission of the Night”, so between them the guys collected 75% of the fighter bonuses available to all of the athletes on the UFC 159 card.
Also on the night, Roy “Big Country” Nelson, who is one of the most notorious bearded fighters in the sport today earned “Knockout of the Night” honors. He disposed of UFC veteran Cheick Kongo in the first round of their matchup. Is this all just coincidence or does the fact that all of these guys have chosen to have facial hair have something to do with it?
Let’s take a look at some of the UFC champions like Jon Jones, who can often be seen with a beard or Benson Henderson, who sometimes has a small amount of facial hair. However, many of the other champions don’t have beards like Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez, Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz and GSP.
Another fighter worth mentioning is Johny Hendricks, who is on an incredible run at the moment and is likely to get a shot at the welterweight title, which is currently held by Georges St-Pierre. I don’t think I can remember seeing Johnny without a beard?
Although interesting and fun to debate, at the end of the day I really don’t think that having a beard or facial hair gives a fighter any advantage whatsoever, and if it does, then the difference it would make is so minimal that it is barely worth mentioning. Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that allows people from all sorts of different backgrounds, countries and communities to compete against each other. When you are in that cage all it really boils down to is who has the better skill and technique as a fighter.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic guys, so please feel free to leave your opinion in the comment box below this article.