I was having a discussion with a friend of mine today and he hit on the missing ingredient for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters. The missing ingredient, takedowns.
As the discussion developed I mentioned the problem for the high level BJJ fighters is ego. These guys have so much faith in their BJJ that they think that American wrestling is inferior and therefore, not worth training. They are letting their ego hinder them from being better fighters. For every BJJ fighter, the fight has to get on the ground for them to execute their game-plan. Why not training double and single leg takedowns?
We all know most of these guys don't mind fighting off of their backs, but a savvy opponent won't take them down or just randomly jump into their guard. So now the BJJ fighter has to take the initiative to get the fight down on the ground. And as we've seen in recent years, they have a problem getting it down.
Let's look at a couple of examples. The first one that pops into my head is the title fight between Demian Maia and Anderson Silva. Maia had incredibly terrible takedown attempts that Silva, who is notoriously bad at takedown defense, easily shrugged off. Can you imagine how different that fight would have been if Maia had some actually takedown ability?
Another example is Frank Mir. Mir is a BJJ submission specialist, but he has absolutely no takedown ability. For that matter, his ability to deal with good wrestlers is weak to say the least, but that's a discussion for a different time. The last time Mir actually took an opponent down and submitted him was UFC 74 where he "dragged" Antoni Hardonk to the ground. Not took him down, not shot a double leg, but dragged him down.
If BJJ specialists would drop their ego about learning some American wrestling, there ability to get fights to the ground and finish opponents would improve dramatically. In my opinion, the missing ingredient is takedowns.