The Best Martial Art For MMA

best martial art for MMA

The Best Martial Art for MMA

Figuring out which martial art is the best base for MMA has been a debate for some time. As MMA is considered to be something that most closely resembles a real fight, it comes as no surprise that we want to know which martial art works the best in the given conditions.

To decide what the best base for MMA is, we need to take a look at the martial arts that are undoubtedly the most crucial when it comes to MMA.

MMA fighters are the most successful when combining two or more disciplines in the octagon.



As MMA has developed over the years, the ability to take the opponent down became more and more important. The power to dictate where the fight is going to take place has been a crucial factor in modern MMA, as more and more fighters have incorporated wrestling training in their camps.

Whether you are using it to take down your opponent, or for takedown defense, wrestling is an essential skill any fighter needs to be competitive in a mixed martial arts fight.

Having knowledge in wrestling has many benefits that can be incorporated into an MMA fight. The first one is pure mental toughness as wrestling is known for its high-intensity training and physical fitness.

The other benefit is physical fitness. Aside from those two, there are a number of practical things wrestling teaches you. Most important are:

*Body positioning – Knowing how to use your body position to deliver attacks or defend against a takedown attempt.

*How to control the opponent – Controlling your opponent in the clinch, on the ground, and against the cage.

*Takedowns – The obvious benefit of wrestling is the ability to take down your opponent at will with an array of attacks such as double legs, single legs, body locks, and foot sweeps.

One thing that is usually noticeable with wrestlers is their sheer toughness, strength, and ability to create power with their punches. Having a strong core and explosive hip power that wrestling develops, can transfer into power when throwing punches.

One of the all-time MMA greats and an Olympic wrestler, Dan Henderson was known for his H-bomb right hook.

Some of the all-time greats such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and George St-Pierre have been known for their ability to take the fight to the ground at will and control their opponent with superb body positioning.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu started to gain popularity with the rise of Royce Gracie in the first UFC events. Until that point, it was crazy to think that a smaller guy could take bigger opponents to the ground and finish them in spectacular fashion.

That started a fast development of the ground game in the UFC on a whole new level. BJJ became the essential art to train amongst the newer generations of fighters.

The main benefit of BJJ in MMA is the awareness it provides you on the ground and in some standing positions. Knowing how to position your body and create pressure on your opponent is the key to advancing your position and eventually creating openings to attack.

BJJ can also act as a form of anti-wrestling where fighters can capitalize with various guillotine chokes just as the opponent goes in for a takedown, as it has been shown in the octagon numerous times.

One of the most famous guillotine choke finishes in MMAs was when Fabricio Verdum won the UFC heavyweight championship by finishing Cain Velasquez.

With its vast array of attacks from different positions, BJJ stands as the must-know martial art in MMA. It provides the knowledge of how to advance to the mount, or to the back of the opponent as this can be crucial when going for the finishing move, or when trying to escape from those same positions.

Having a developed BJJ game can translate so well in MMA, as it has been proven by numerous fighters such as Demian Maia, Charles Oliveira, Jacare Souza, and many more.


Striking is one of the most important aspects of MMA. As a sport MMA favors strikers more than grapplers in the simple fact that every fight starts standing. There have been a lot of different striking styles over the years from boxing, kickboxing, to karate style fighting, and each one brings a unique skill set to the table.

Over the years it has been shown as the sport has been developing so fast, that kickboxing is much more effective than pure boxing. There are other martial arts that are in a way more effective for MMA combat such as Muay Thai because of its utilization of elbows from different positions.

Kickboxing allows for utilization of all four limbs, unlike boxing which focuses only on one aspect of striking. There are more sets of ranges you can strike from by just using your legs and a top of that there many options for your kicking game that you can use.

From low calf kicks that have been gaining more and more popularity because of their devastating effect to high kicks and teep kicks to the body. A skilled kickboxer will always have a good sense of what range he can strike, no matter if it’s my hands or legs.

There have been a lot of legends that relied on their kickboxing game to get the finish, such as the former featherweight UFC champion Jose Aldo who was known for his devastating low kicks.

Another one is the current middleweight UFC champion Israel Adesanya, the striking master with a long kickboxing career prior to his transition to MMA.

Striking specialists with high takedown defense usually have a high success rate in the MMA ruleset.



Sambo is a very interesting martial art that is very similar to MMA in a couple of aspects. First, that comes to mind is that Sambo is compromised from both grappling and striking, creating a full circle for a martial art that is designed for combat.

There are both striking techniques that involve hands, elbows, knees, kicks, headbutts, to grappling techniques involving throws and submissions. It comes as no surprise that all of this is learned in this martial art because Sambo is created for real-life situations as a self-defense system.

The use of a wide variety of striking and grappling attacks makes Sambo a very good base to transition from to MMA.  One of the most interesting aspects of Sambo is the leg locking and throwing game they use.

There are a lot of foot sweeps and throws very similar to Judo, and the straight foot locks are just nasty.

One of the most famous practitioners of Sambo today is Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov. Another legend of Sambo that is in the debate for the GOAT of MMA heavyweights is “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko.


“If Sambo was easy it would be called Brazilian Jiu jitsu” – Khabib Nurmagomedov



1. Do you need a base for MMA?

As MMA is gaining more and more popularity around the world, people are starting to train MMA from scratch. While it is good to have some prior martial art experience it is possible to start training MMA without it. You will need to cover essential parts of MMA such as wrestling, BJJ, and striking.

2. What is the best body type for MMA?

There is no best body type for MMA but there are some that work better than others in certain divisions. Athletic body type has been known to work very well in the lower to mid divisions, while in the heavyweight divisions there is much more emphasis on raw power than on speed and agility.

3. What martial arts are allowed in MMA?

MMA stands for “mixed martial arts” and that means that everything is allowed in relation to the rules of the given promotion. Both modern and traditional martial arts have found their place in modern MMA. Certain strikes and fouls that can cause injuries are forbidden from most MMA promotions.


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