mixed martial arts since the early days. And then I'll tell you why. First, consider the wrestlers who became stars in the UFC and/or Pride: , Frankie "The Answer" Edgar, Dan "The Beast" Severn, Gray "The Bully" Maynard, , , Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, Randy "The Natural" Couture, Kevin "The Monster" Randleman, Matt Hughes, Mark "The Smashing Machine" Kerr, Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, Frank "Twinkle Toes" Trigg, Tito Ortiz, "Sugar" Rashad Evans, Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk, , Dan "Hendo" Henderson, Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez, Brock Lesnar, etc. Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell was known for Kempo Karate, but he came into MMA as a college wrestler and used that foundation to ensure his karate could be unleashed.
That leads me to why wrestlers are so successful. Although there are hundreds of great boxers, kick boxers, muay thai fighters, judo experts and Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners, wrestlers have outperformed them all for one reason: only an elite wrestler can dictate where the fight is fought. That is, nobody can take down an elite wrestler and nobody can stop an elite wrestler from taking him down. I'm talking NCAA champion/Olympic caliber wrestlers here, not from The Breakfast Club.
So if a wrestler is fighting a renowned kickboxer who would have his way with a wrestler in a striking match, the wrestler simply takes him down to his back, where a kickboxer is like a turtle on his shell. From there the wrestler controls and batters him, using the famous "ground and pound" technique pioneered by Ohio State national champion Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, who went on to win both Pride and the UFC.
If, on the other hand, the same wrestler is fighting a jiu jitsu/submission expert, the last thing the wrestler wants to do is go to the mat, where he would likely be choked out with one of the lethal jiu jitsu strangulation techniques. So the wrestler fights the jiu jitsu guy standing up, where jiu jitsu has very little application/effect. The jiu jitsu guy would rather take it to the mat, but again, there's almost no chance of taking down an elite wrestler. It's really that simple. Wrestlers dictate where the fight is fought and always force opponents to fight in the opponent's greatest area of discomfort.
So back to because he most clearly illustrates the point. He loved to stand and strike (kick/punch). Fearing his striking, opponents tried to neutralize it by immediately taking him down. Problem was that Chuck's D1 wrestling background made it almost impossible to take him down. So they wound up standing with him, and, invariably, got knocked cold. A notable exception to Chuck's impenetrable takedown defense came in one fight against . Randy was not only an elite wrestler, but a world class wrestler, having been a national runner up at Oklahoma State and U.S. Olympic alternate. Randy was able to dump Chuck on his back. Once there, Chuck was pretty harmless and wound up getting rag-dolled. That was just another case of the wrestler fighting the fight where he wanted it. But in that case Randy was the wrestler.
p.s. in the rematches where Randy did not get Chuck to the mat, Randy got KO'd.