Wim Demeer's excellent blog, there was a recent post on the evolution of combat sports.
An excerpt is below. The full post, with many accompanying videos, may be found here.
I believe it is fair to say that Benny (Urguidez) in his prime wouldn’t stand a
chance against (the late) Ramon (Dekker) in his prime. Ramon was in the same
weight class as Benny, so that can’t explain the difference in power and
effectiveness. Look at how Benny and Fujimoto kick: there is nowhere
near the power compared to Ramon’s leg techniques. They also look like
amateurs compared to Ramon: there is no integrated approach to using
arms and legs.
In part, this can be explained by the stage of development the sport
was in back then: Benny came from a boxing and karate background and it
shows in how he fights. He didn’t practice muay Thai, few Westerners did
back then. In essence, him and his contemporaries made things up as
they went along, developing skills and adapting their karate techniques
to what was then relatively new sport. In contrast, Ramon Dekkers
trained muay Thai (Dutch version) from the beginning and you see this in
the way he moves, punches and kicks.
If you compare Ramon to today’s fighters, you’ll see even more
differences between them and Benny, but also Ramon. The sport has
changed, evolved and grown. Not just on a technical level but also
strategies, tactics and training methods.
We’ve seen the same thing in MMA when you look at the first UFC
events where the Gracies demonstrated the need for effective ground
grappling which many fighters lacked.
Fast forward 20 years and there
are no Gracies any more in the UFC. Today, every fighter has a good
ground game along with good stand up (an area in which the Gracies
always were severely lacking) to be able to compete. The funny thing is
that the next step in the evolution of the sport is a resurgence of
techniques from traditional martial arts. Karate, Tae Kwon Do and other
arts are used as a source for innovating in the cage. In a few years,
it’ll be something else.
This process is natural and normal for all sports, combat sports included, which brings me to my actual point:
If you don’t follow the evolution of the sport, you become obsolete.