I think when it comes to technical understanding of BJJ and BJJ for Vale Tudo Rickson has nearly 40 years of experience and had the time to think and learn about the art.
Nog on the other side has many great fights but just train BJJ for ten years (according to Pride FC) he is physical strong but I think in technical terms he is not perfect. Without disrespect I mean he always have to fight. He drills his stuff but don´t have time to be creative or think much about his art because he has to be in shape all the time.
Rickson on the other hand fought many years and now has time and experience to think and understand the technical part of BJJ. I think not just Rickson but a lot of higher and older blackbelts with a lot of experience.
So I think the young fighters will always be strong but never as technical skilled as the older BJJ Masters.
I hate to sound like a jock-riding clone, but I dont think anyone understands grappling like Rickson. MMA is a different story, so it is hard to compare their abilities because one has truly fought the best of the best, and the other has fought virtual nobodies. I dont mean this as a criticism of Rickson, just the reality.
That said, I thought Rickson looked extremely impressive in his fights.
the difference is rickson, relson, rorion, rolls, carlson all grew up in an era where GJJ was trained with an actual fight in mind.
mino and all of the young guys grew up in an era where a sport grappling tournaments are in mind. it is much easier to use an old approach jiu-jitsu game in a sport tournament today than it is to use a sport based jiu-jitsu game in a fight.
I also think Rickson and perhaps others of his generation have a very good understanding of the principles behind the techniques. I think Rickson can, perhaps in very simple but true terms explain to you the hows and whys aof any given technique of Bjj.
I think it is because they have such an understanding they are able to intuitively adjust and apply the techniques in various situation against various people.
Gordon Hester, a student of Rickson, stated that Rickson never taught him technique but rather principles. And it was because of these principles he was able to do many techniques.
It is very interesting how alot of people are able to do all these techniques but not really understand the principle behind it. It is the priniciple that makes the technique work to begin with. Alot of people don't understand the simple dynamics involved. It is also very interesting how alot of people talk about leverage YET they really don't know what it is, how it works, what essentially elements it is compose of, nor how it functions even in the very techniques they know and do.
Anyone who plays Jits with Rickson is going to lose. Ricksons MMA is based around his Jits and how to implement it in a fight, he makes you fight his game.
At some point there will be a clinch and at the first mistake you are done. it has been this way in all his fights. he just has an insight in to a fight that we can only dream about.