Jun 28, 2011

Let’s Get It On!

Hey there sports fans! (I know there are at least like, three of you out there reading this site). Throughout the decades of comic book-dom, there always rages the debate on who could beat who in a fight, whether it’s Spider-Man versus Green Arrow or Spawn throwing down with The Specter or some such. But what if, say, you took a super hero, stripped away his powers and put him in the cage with an honest to God modern day gladiator?
No, not this one.

Obviously comics have looked at this before, most famously the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic from the seventies. Same concept (Supes is depowered) but I’m updating it a little with the modern combat sport of Mixed Martial Arts vice boxing, mostly cause a) it more closely resembles a real fight than pure boxing and b) it’s the only sport I follow.
Seriously though, Muhammad would have creamed a depowered Superman in a boxing match. I wager Cassius took it easy on him.
I took four heavy hitters (pun intended) from the Big Two and stacked them against the sport of men (and women, I suppose). Who can really throw down without their gadgets, invulnerability and super healing powers? Find out!

Fun trivia fact: Did you know that the jumping overhand right/left in MMA is called a Superman punch?

First up, we’ll take the Big Blue himself, Supes. Superman I found interesting not just because he’s obviously the penultimate superhero known secondly only to Santa Claus and Jesus Christ, but because his non-power combat side is such a drastic contrast to his normally god like self.

Tale of the tape:
Supes stands about 6’2” ish in most sources, and is about 225 lbs. This would put him in the heavyweight category, and I can’t see Clark dieting down to light heavy weight. This makes him a rather small HW, already a disadvantage. Supes has a decent reach but nothing spectacular. He has no real background in grappling or submission arts, his strongest art would probably be straight up boxing.

How would he fair:
Terribly, really. Despite (according to some canon) some training from Batman in combat arts, he really isn’t a strong technique guy. Why would he have to, when he can punch through time? The only time he fist fights anyone at his level is usually Darkseid, and he almost always gets his ass kicked straight up (since Darkseid has, you know, extensive fight training). As said, with no wrestling background to speak of and no submissions, he’s prone to being taken down and pounded out or submitted; even standing, without a mui thai or karate background he’d probably get leg kicked to death.
Yeah, those Tae bo classes at the Y aren't looking so silly anymore.

Final verdict:
Curtain jerker. Through sheer years of street fighting, his basic brawling and Bat-taught boxing technique would probably get him through the indy levels up to the opening match HW fights of the UFC, but would probably not last long once he started fighting even mid level wrestlers, kickboxers or jiu jitsu black belts.


Then on the other comic page, you have The Incredible Hulk. He poses a more difficult humanizing than Superman; you can’t go with the Banner version (or at least in any way to make it interesting), so you’re stuck with an unrealistic 7 1/2’, 400 lbs monstrosity of muscle. Even without super strength, invulnerability and his healing factor, he has completely unrealistic dimensions, not to mention the weight issue. The UFC has had one whole super heavyweight fight since it instituted weight classes, and they’re very sporadic even in the lower levels of the sport. And who in their right mind, would *fight* someone so massive?

Tale of the tape:
So for argument’s sake, we’re going to desize him to more realistic proportions of about 6’7” and 285 lbs., which would still require him to cut about 20 lbs. of water before weigh in to reach the maximum HW limit. His reach is spectacular, but does him little good because, well, he has even less skill than Supes. He’s just a straight up brawler.
Gotta work on takedown defense, brother.

Final verdict:
UFC mid card. Hulk, much likes Supes has no technique, but he’s frikkin’ huge, powerful (even without gamma strength) and has a great reach. He would probably bulldoze his way through the indy levels and get a job with the UFC fairly easily. He would however hit his limit when he started running into high level wrestlers who can take him down and negate his strengths and lanky kickboxers who could take him apart with superior technique. He does have a strength advantage over most anybody and could probably theoretically power out of most submission attempts. However, without his gamma cardio, all that muscle mass will tire him out quickly.

Lots of practical experience!

Now let’s get interesting. Wolverine. Another interesting humanizing issue. Without his adamantium skeleton I’d wager he’d weigh about 190 lbs., which would put him about middleweight, but he’s way too short to compete there, so I’m going to say Wolvie can easily sweat out 20 lbs. before weigh in and fight as a welterweight. Even then he’s still at a reach and height disadvantage (and would be anywhere except down at 145/135, but with his normally depicted muscularity I can’t see him getting down that small). Even the UFC’s shortest WW Matt Serra has a few inches on him at 5’5” (and he should probably be fighting at 155 himself).

Tale of the tape:
Unlike the previous two, here’s someone with actual martial arts knowledge. Reach is nothing spectacular but he has a ninjitsu background, natural aggression and 100 years of street fighting experience. He’s probably familiar with submission and wrestling techniques too.

Final verdict:
Upper Card WW. Without question would end up in UFC, his biggest issue would be (again) with wrestlers who could take him down. He’s aggressive and savvy enough to probably earn a title shot at some point I’d wager, but would probably lose an exciting five-round decision to fellow Canadian and current WW champ Georges St. Pierre.
I am not impressed by your berzerker rage.

And last and definitely not least, BATMAN. Our only entry that doesn’t need to be depowered (just degadgetized). Bats is about the same frame as Supes, give or take, but he WOULD diet down to make Light Heavy.
Tale of the tape:
A decent to large sized LHW, good reach and a plethora of technique in all areas (again, probably not super strong in wrestling), knowing tons of stand up and submission techniques from several disciplines. However, his biggest strength of course would be preparation. He would obsessively study tape on every opponent better than even a Greg Jackson and formulate a game plan to use his strengths against their weaknesses.

Final verdict:
Top contender. Bats would use his vast experience and martial knowledge to reach the highest levels of competition (plus, the whole MMA thing fits beautifully in with his daredevil playboy image). He would have a very close war with current LHW champ Jonny Bones, and I still think Bones would take it with superior athleticism and utilizing his ridiculous reach. But man, now I really want to see that fight.
Not the first time he's thrown down with a Jon Jones, tho.

(I briefly considered females and Wonder Woman, but there’s no female division going in MMA right now to speak of, basically she’d be fighting women’s champ “Cyborg” Santos fairly quickly, if she can make 145.)

Questions? Disagreements? Future battles you’d like to see? Drop me a line at recharge138@gmail.com.

Next time: Porn! (maybe)


  1. Batroc the Leaper! Are there any MMA guys who use savate?

  2. None in the modern era, or if they do they mix it up with other styles. Lyoto Machida is a karate guy, but not savate. The dude who made it to the finals against Royce Gracie in the first UFC tourny was a savate guy tho.