The incredible comeback of a former 'Street Fighter' world champion
Maybe Daigo Umehara just doesn't age like the rest of us.
Known as the Beast, the 32-year-old Japanese Street Fighter phenom has been around the top of the game for almost two decades now. But he hasn't won a world championship since 2010, and the eSports world is unsure whether he still belongs in that very top tier.
Last night, at an exhibition during PAX in Seattle, Umehara faced off in Street Fighter 4 against Xian, the reigning Evolution 2013 world champion. Before the match, bets overwhelmingly favored Xian.
Poll: Daigo or Xian? Who do you think will win the Mad Catz Unveiled SSF4 AE v2012 exhibition? http://t.co/atwspmNEoc— Event Hubs (@eventhubscom) August 27, 2013
To everyone’s surprise but his own, Daigo unleashed hell on Xian, shutting out the champ with a stunning 10-0 performance. Fans went wild.
The matches start about about 2:30:
Daigo just BODIED the EVO Champion Xian 10-0. DESTROYED.— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 30, 2013
Watching that entire Daigo vs Xian set made me remember why I play fighting games.— [FKD] Tenryo (@TenryoTheLight) August 30, 2013
Epic fail ('''_T) gg to @daigothebeast— DM MCZ Xian (@XianMSG) August 30, 2013
"He's a very special player that defies time," said commentator Zhi Liang Chew.
watched daigo v xian, daigo's fb spacing & timing is ridic and his understanding of setups & set plays is perfect, yikes & wows & congrats— David Philip Graham (@ultradavid) August 30, 2013
As a post-script, Daigo played 15 more games versus fans from a rowdy Seattle crowd. The Beast didn't drop a single round, racking up a 25-0 record on an instantly classic night.
The question is, can Daigo put on that kind of performance in a major tournament setting?
Daigo, Ultra Street Fighter IV EVO2k14 champ eh?— ＣＥＬＥＳＴＩＡＬ ＤＥＬＩＮＱＵＥＮＴ (@Lforminerva) August 30, 2013
Photo via Mad Catz