It was probably the biggest upset in UFC history at that time.
I remember watching that fight with my boy and we were screaming at the t.v. for Mo to finish Coleman, but he never did.
I had watched all of the Extreme Fighting Championships, so I knew who Mo was and thought he could possibly get the KO or decision.
I also thought Petey Williams victory was more of a shock.
I still say that Mo's striking had very little to do with that upset. It was all about composure, conditioning, defense and strategy.
Coleman was like a little roughed up and had a sore leg but he was gassed out of his mind cause he didnt ease up his assault until he was dog tired already.
Couture, Randleman and Babalu all showed how much Mo's striking did for him when he fought grapplers who didn't gas...
The Coleman/Smith fight is the biggest upset in UFC history in my eyes. I
remember the build up to that fight and all the predictions, even most
people in the know like the guys writing Fighting Sport Newsletter gave
Smith almost no shot. Tthe early fights on UFC 14 itself made the fight
seem even more one sided as Kerr and Jackson (Coleman's training
partners) walked all over there opponents with pure wrestling. The fight
was an absolutely huge upset.
IIRC, Smith was NOT getting beat up at any time in that fight. He was making Coleman miss and burn gas and was completely unworried and unfazed by any of the small punches that landed.
the fight was a revelation in two ways, one that a predominate striker could be effective in the sport and secondly that cardio was as big a weapon as any discipline.
it was a HUGE upset at the time, not because Mo was some unknown (the sport was almost entirely backed by hardcore fans at that time) but because Coleman was considered a machine. unless you were a fan at the time and watched the fight live then its hard to grasp that now. with headbutts allowed Coleman was a wrecking ball.
the sport changed so much simply by banning headbutts and installing standups and rounds. without those changes in the rules the sport would still be largely dominated by wrestlers as it was then. other disciplines have evolved, but the guard game changes when your opponent is smashing your face with his head and nobody is going to help you get it back on the feet.
Or it told us that in addition to great wrestling skills, you also need some traces of a gas tank, to win.