Could Bruce Lee have survived a UFC Match?
Lee Jun-Fan, better known as Bruce Lee, was a phenomenal martial arts performer. Some may even say he was the greatest of all time.
Although we demonstrated his physical prowess and combat ability, numerous times on the big screen, he was not known for participating in many real-world competitive fights. In spite of his background, there are those who regard him as little more than an actor or show meth.
The question remains how good of a fighter was Bruce Lee? And could he have survived in a UFC match?
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco, but raised in Hong Kong from the age of three months old. While growing up, he was involved in many street fights and after getting beat down one too many times, he started to train in the art of Wing Chun under the legendary YIP MAN.
In 1958, Bruce participated in and won the Hong Kong schools boxing tournament. It was a rare appearance in an official fighting competition, and he beat everyone even knocking out the previous champion.
After getting involved in more street fights, including one, in which he beat up the son of a feared triad gang member. Lee’s parents sent him back to the United States.
Almost immediately, he began teaching his own style of Wing Chun, what he called Jun-Fan gung Fu, literally translated to Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu, and opened up his own martial arts school in Seattle.
Bruce appeared publicly at events, such as the 1964 long beach international Karate championships, where he demonstrated some amazing feats of strength, such as two finger push-ups, and the famous one-inch punch.
It was at the same championships where Lee developed a friendship with Taekwondo master Jhoon Goo Rhee. The pair taught each other martial arts techniques, with Goo Rhee teaching Bruce to perfect the sidekick. While Lee taught Rhee to use a rapid punching technique; known as the accurate punch.
Eventually Bruce Lee ended up founding Jeet Kune Do, or (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).
Jeet Kune Do is a philosophy which draws from multiple different combat disciplines, and many consider it to be the forbearer of what is now mixed-Martial arts.
Aside from martial arts, Bruce Lee was a distinguished actor and he appeared in a number of Hollywood films.
In 1966, while working on the set of the movie, The Green Hornet, Lee was introduced to Gene LeBell, a two-time national champion Judoka and legendary Hollywood stuntman.
LaBelle was highly influential in the teaching of grappling techniques throughout North America, and after becoming close friends with Lee, the two train together for about a year. This is when Lee added wrestling to his already impressive arsenal.
In the films that followed. the star could be seen using submission holds to finish his opponents during fight scenes. A famous example is his guillotine choke of Chuck Norris in the way of the dragon.
Norris of course, was himself a world middleweight Karate champion from 1968 to 1974, and also formed a bond with Lee.
So, Bruce Lee’s contacts in cinema, not only improved his prospects as a movie star, but they legitimately enhanced his overall abilities as a combat specialist, giving him much more variety as a fighter and a depth of knowledge that would have translated very well to the octagon.
Yet another martial arts legend, whom Bruce Lee worked with was Joe Lewis. A man renewed for winning the first official kickboxing match in the United States and for developing the sport as it is today.
In fact, before passing away in 2012, Louis credited Lee as being the inspiration for his transition from karate point fighting to full contact kickboxing.
Current UFC welterweight fighter, Stephen Wonderboy Thompson knew Joe Lewis personally, and was apparently told by Lewis that; one of the hardest kicks he ever took, was from none other than Bruce Lee.
In an interview with ESPN. Thompson said, you can’t tell me that Bruce Lee is not a hard guy; wasn’t a good martial artist, wasn’t a good fighter. If you’ve got guys like Joe telling me that.
many other fighters from recent eras have expressed their admiration for Lee and have suggested that he would have excelled modern competitive sport.
In a 1982 interview for Playboy magazine themed box, Sugar Ray Leonard claimed he perfected his jab by watching Lee. And in one New York times interview, Manny Pacquiao described his fighting style as being like Bruce Lee.
Lee was five foot eight and weighed less than 150 pounds. This means if he were to compete in the modern-day UFC, he would have likely fought in the lightweight division.
Former UFC lightweight champion, Conor McGregor has often praised and idolized Lee. Before the Irishman’s fight with Floyd Mayweather. He cited Lee as his inspiration for venturing into another sport, stating that; that’s what a true martial artist can do. They can adapt under any circumstance.
One of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotes is; to “be like water”, referencing the fact that a person should adapt to their surroundings going on to clarify that;
“When you put water in the cup, it becomes the cup.”
In addition to his impressive physique and his outstanding athletic ability, Bruce Lee’s mindset and philosophy are what make him truly revered among other martial artists.
Having learned from a wide variety of teachers and perfected his craft through dedication and hard work, Bruce Lee had all the tools to have been an elite fighter; If he wanted to.
He ultimately took a different path. Though still one of entertainment and tragically, his life was cut short at the age of just 32.
How do you think Bruce Lee would have fared in the modern UFC against fighters like Connor McGregor, and Habib Norma Hamada off?
Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments section below for more videos like this, be sure to like, subscribe and turn on notifications by clicking the bell icon.
Thanks for watching.
Watch The Video Below!