"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." - Mark Twain
I would argue that not all minds are equal in professional sport. Not every athlete in the upper echelon of their craft believes that they are the best at what they do. And at some point, doubt creeps in to the mind of every champion. Whether just a flash, or for weeks on end, no mind is an island and no ego impenetrable...except for fighters.
Recent news in the arena of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has been focused on Women's Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey, after her 14 second dismantling of the latest fodder to step in the ring with her. Following the fight, discussion swayed to how Rousey felt she would do competing against men in her weight class, to which she replied, "I would have to say if you're just talking about what's in the realm of possibility of what's possible of who I could beat, well I could beat 100 percent of them." This response raised some eyebrows, and ridiculously, drew the ire of some of the more insecure carriers of the "Y" chromosome. But the reality is, in a fighting sport of any kind, if you don't believe you are the best at what you do, you've already lost.
Anderson Silva, before he broke his tibia, was widely regarded as the best fighter, pound for pound, in Mixed Martial Arts. Silva, while outwardly more humble than some of his counterparts, carries an air of superiority and an unflappable confidence. Accepting the vocal bravado of pre-fight interviews as fact; that every fighter believes they are the best at what they do, let's examine the bodies of Rousey and Silva, and the moethods that makes them the GOATs that they have become today.
Rowdy Ronda's Body Rousey is a mesomorph with wide shoulders, powerful arms, and dense muscle bellies. She is 67" tall and has a 68" reach. Her arms are long, but not abnormally so (like Jon Jones). While her opponents enter fights at roughly the same measurements, it is clear that she overwhelms them with not only her skills, but her superior strength.
Anderson "The Spider" Silva 6'2 185 lbs Reach: 77.5" Style: Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-jitsue, wrestling, judo, taekwando, Capoeira
Spider Silva's Body At 6'2, 185 lbs, Silva is a meso-endomorph. He has long limbs and lean muscle. A height of 74" and a reach of 77.5" gives him a significant advantage to strike at distance. Because he is so diverse in his attack, and uses his length extremely well, Anderson Silva is widely regarded is one of the best, if not THE best pound for pound fighter of all time.
The Skinny For their respective weight-classes, both Rousey and Silva's height and reach are pretty average. Their spirit and confidence is indomitable, but most fighter's have these same traits...so what makes them so good? It's the size of the fight in the dog...or rather, the ability of the dog to recognize their strengths and to make their opponents fight their fight. Rousey has not lost in the UFC, and 9 of her 11 wins are by Arm-bar submission. You think she has a plan going in to her fights? You bet she does, and part of that plan is centred on how to get her opponent onto the ground, and in a position where she can apply that arm-bar. Silva finishes fights, often by knockout. Out of his 40 fights, he has 34 wins, 20 by knockout and only 6 by submission. Silva is known for his Muay Thai style which harnesses the power of knees, kicks and elbows. He strikes at a distance but finishes in close. While Silva has submission skills, he prefers to keep the fight on its feet.
The Anatomy of a Beast So with two of the top fighters in the world weighing in with average bodies, and adopting the typical fighter mentality of "unbeatable", it would appear that a true beast is someone who can make others play in to their strengths. You wouldn't fight a snake in the grass or a shark in the water, just like you shouldn't fight Rousey on the ground or Silva in the clinch. If you want to be a beast in every day life, bring the "fight" in on your terms...where is your advantage?