Being tough simply isn’t enough to make it in MMA anymore according to Royce Gracie (14-2-3). Unlike the early days of the sport when a fighter could get by based off their toughness, to succeed now it involves proper training.
“You don’t train to loss, you train to win,” said Gracie. “So unless you don’t train, don’t do any special diet and just show up to fight because you’re a tough guy […] those days are over. There are no more tough guys. You have no business in the ring if you don’t train and do your job.”
Gracie showed at the early UFC shows that training made all the difference, as he won the first four shows against fighters who were much larger than him because of his technique and skill.