via www.espn.co.uk courtesy Getty Images
On Saturday night, Strikeforce's main event was an anti-climactic display of a striker vs. a grappler; neither willing to really fight the other's game.
Afterwards, Overeem said that he was disappointed with his own effort, but also voiced his displeasure with his opponent, stating: "He should be embarrassed."
Overeem wasn't an island, regarding his point of view. He voiced what a lot of fans and critics felt as they watched the fight.
"I should have had more faith in my stand-up, listened to [coach] Rafael Cordeiro. Strategically he (Overeem) was better. Perhaps, if I hadn't pulled the guard so many times, I would have won.
He didn't want to go to the ground with me at all but it is an MMA fight, you have to do the ground game as well. I think it is funny that [opponents] call me to go at them and I do, but when I call them to the mat, nobody does.
"If you look well, you'll see that my knee got out of place in the beginning of the second round," Werdum told R7.com "It hurt so much, it was difficult to get up and it took a little of my focus. I will have an MRI scan and see whether it is serious and when I will be able to train.
Let me say that I'm not one of those guys/fans who thinks the ground game "isn't fighting". I love jiu jitsu. I think it's a beautiful art-form. When done well and executed properly, it is a thing to behold. When a top level BJJ practitioner takes a guy he should have no chance against in a fight, and brings him down to his world and submits him, I love it.
With that out of the way, Werdum is totally ludicrous in what he is saying. He's totally right in that it was an MMA match, and not just a striking exchange. The problem is that you can flip that argument on its head.
In MMA, you can no longer be one dimensional. Fighters with only one predominant skill set have become dinosaurs, and will be extinct soon.
There's nothing at all wrong with Werdum wanting the fight to go the ground. That's where his strength is. Of course that's what he prefers.
Werdum's premise is misguided, in that he equates fighters who will not come down into his guard as being comparable to fighters who won't get up and exchange.
The sport of mixed martial arts starts on the feet. When there is a lack of activity, that is the position that is resumed. The impetus is not placed on the standup fighter to make a jiu jitsu fighter get up. It is the opposite that is true. If Werdum has a problem with the rules, and the way the sport is set up, then he has bigger fish to fry.
If he wants to blame a knee injury on his lack of performance, that's fine. Say you hurt your knee, and you weren't able to fight up to your maximum capacity. To call out Overeem for not willfully jumping into a position where Werdum is dominant is ill-conceived at best.
If Werdum wants the fight to go the ground, it's up to him to make sure that happens. It's on him to use takedowns to get his opponents where he wants them, and to keep them there when he gets them there.
Complaining about a guy coming down into the guard, would be like Randy Couture complaining about an opponent not backing up against the fence so that he could employ his dirty boxing against him.
Every fighter has strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to that fighter to find a way to implement those strengths. The opponent has no obligation to do him any favors.