Just like the sport of MMA itself, strength and conditioning for combat sports is also in many ways still in its infancy. While most other professional sports that are so heavily dependent on conditioning have relatively evolved methods of training built on a foundation of scientific
reasoning and validity to them, MMA conditioning, and training in general, is largely based on a random assortment of fads, gimmicks, and marketing hype. Much of it seems without reason or a real understanding of human performance.
Even at the amateur level, most cyclists use heart rate monitors, GPS units, power meters, mileage logs, etc. to systematically and strategically develop their energy systems and improve their times. Lance Armstrong and his coaches could most likely give you a breakdown of his anaerobic threshold, V02 max, power output, mileage per day, etc., over the course of most of his entire cycling career.
Most fighters, by contrast, don’t even have a clue what their resting heart rate is or why it’s important — very few even own a heart rate monitor, let alone know how to use it in their training! This includes even the majority of those at the very top of the sport.
The sad and yet undeniable truth is that a lot of fighters today are successful despite their training, not because of it. There are many wins that could have come in the first round rather than in the third; many losses that could have been victories, and a vast amount of untapped performances that never lived up to their potential.