Looking to unleash your inner fighter? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will be going through all the fundamentals of starting mixed martial arts from scratch and how to get into mma.
From training to recovery, to what equipment you will need, and everything in between. Read below to learn all you need to know to embark on your new journey as an aspiring MMA fighter.
How to get into MMA
To start MMA, there are a few fundamental steps you must follow to begin your journey properly. Start by joining a hygienic gym with good equipment and experienced coaches, train a few times every week, and also incorporate strength training.
After you gain some experience and confidence in your skills, begin competing. This will mark the start of your amateur MMA career.
Find A Reputable Gym And Start Training Sessions
Training at home is significantly harder than at a proper MMA gym. You will need to buy expensive equipment and you will likely feel the lack of space for training at home.
On the other hand, joining a local gym will give you access to a plethora of specialized equipment, experienced coaches, and other aspiring athletes. All of which will contribute to helping you get better.
Training is not everything, to begin your career, you will eventually have to start competing in tournaments and small amateur fights. This will help you showcase your skills and what you’ve learned in training.
As you gain experience and fight IQ, you will go against bigger names and earn more. Eventually, you will be ready to transition to a professional fighter by joining an official organization.
When you start training, chances are you will realize how big the skill gap is between an amateur versus a professional. When we started to realize even the difference between someone who competes a lot versus a hobbyist, we knew that there were truly levels to this.
You have to go in playing the long game. If your goal is to turn this into your career, you can do so but it will come at a cost.
Spend 10,000 hours training
Regardless of the sport, whether it’s football, golf, or a combat sport, you need to put the hours in to get better. It is unrealistic to expect to become a professional athlete or MMA fighter overnight. It will take years of blood, sweat, and tears to become great.
Work hard, train regularly, focus on building a solid foundation, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of climbing to the top.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Professional MMA Fighter?
Quick note: If you are asking this question, you probably don’t have what it takes to make it to the highest levels.
The amount of time it takes to become a professional MMA fighter varies from person to person but it will not happen overnight and it may take a decade.
It usually depends on several factors, such as your starting point, training frequency, natural talent, how quickly you progress, and the level of coach you have.
In most cases it takes several years of consistent training, improving your skills in different disciplines, and gaining experience through amateur competitions, and fights before going pro.
How many classes should you take each week
The amount of weekly classes and training sessions you should take depends on your training experience. As a beginner, you should not be training MMA more than three to four times a week. With this routine, you can prioritize strength training alongside proper rest and recovery.
You must understand your body has certain limits, pushing past those limits will lead to overtraining which can cause injuries.
Can you start MMA with no experience?
Most MMA fighters begin their journey from scratch and so can you. If you are willing to work hard and create a passion for this sport, you too can build a career without any prior combat sport experience.
The most important step is to take the first leap and begin your journey, join an MMA gym, and hire a coach to train you and guide you through the fundamentals of your journey and you are set for greatness.
Modern day MMA requires you to be strong. If you're not, being stuck on your back on the canvas or against the cage is a real threat to your win record. You can't just use any strength training program. It needs to be designed specifically for MMA.
How Much Does A Beginner MMA Fighter Make Per Year?
The number a beginner fighter makes varies widely on several factors. It depends on your skill level, experience, the promotion you compete in, as well as the amount of audience you bring in.
In the earlier stages, one usually competes in small local events and fights that could pay them anything from a hotdog and a few bucks, to a couple of hundred dollars.
However, if you’re good, this is your opportunity to build a name for yourself and attract the attention of bigger promotions.
MMA is not known to pay its warriors as well as boxing or other disciplines do. Top-ranked stars in promotions such as the UFC, Bellator, and ONE can expect to get paid a few million dollars a year.
You could expect to hone your skills and maintain a nice record until you get noticed and scooped up into the big leagues.
In the age of social media and programs like Dana White’s Contender Series, your big break could come sooner than expected. Just remember to chase excellence and the money will follow.
MMA Gear You Will Need
When you are just starting your MMA training, there are a few different pieces of equipment and clothing you will need. These will help you stay safe, avoid injuries, and make your training efficient.
Unlike boxing gloves where the entire hand and wrist are covered, in MMA gloves, your palms and fingers are left open. This allows a larger range of motion for when you need to pull off submissions.
There is also extra padding on the knuckles to ensure the safety of your opponents. A good pair of gloves will go a long way so invest in them well.
In MMA, you will often find yourself being kicked, especially on your shins. As a beginner it is important to slowly strengthen your shins, this will increase your bone density and pain tolerance.
This is where shin guards come in, which mainly cover your calves from your ankles to your knees when practicing kicking. Shin guards are a must-have for efficient training, especially for Muay Thai kicks.
Best Shin Guards
Rash Guards & Shorts
These are skin-tight leggings and shorts, made from stretchy, lightweight, and breathable materials to ensure your range of motion is not compromised and that sweating is reduced.
MMA fighting is a mix of many combat sports, with a variety of techniques, striking is one of them. You will often find yourself getting punched on or around your head.
As a beginner, it is highly recommended to begin your sparring training while wearing headgear. This will protect your noggin and face, and allow you to build a stronger chin and jaw without hurting yourself too much.
Best Boxing Headgear
At what age should you start MMA?
Training to become a good MMA fighter is a lifelong commitment, for most people, the earlier they start the better. Children can start training casually at ages 5 and above, at this age they should be taught basic punches and techniques. This will allow them to increase coordination, build discipline, and have fun with physical activity.
On the other hand, for harder training and intermediate techniques, it’s usually recommended to wait until the teenage years around 13-14. At this age, the body is significantly stronger and will respond better to physically demanding training.
However, safety should always be your highest priority. Regardless of age, physical ability, and prior martial arts experience, you should join a reputed martial arts gym with experienced instructors.
MMA Sparring: The Do’s And Don’ts
Warm Up Properly: Before sparring, it is important to warm up to avoid injuries, make sure to perform some dynamic stretching and bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups
Wear Protective Gear: As a beginner, you and your training partners need to wear mouthguards, shin guards, and headgear during sparring sessions to ensure safety
Establish Boundaries: Before you start training, discuss with your sparring partners what you want to train e.g. striking, kicking, or grappling as well as the intensity
Focus on technique: Make sure to practice techniques and range of motion before going all out in terms of intensity
Remain Calm: In training, aggression will not get you anywhere, focus on learning from your mistakes and refining your techniques.
Respect your coach’s advice: Make sure to listen to what your coach has to say to improve and sharpen your skills.
Learn the safety precautions: It is important to know when to tap out and when to let go of holds, chokes, and submissions.
BJJ vs MMA Grappling: Similarities And Differences
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts are both excellent combat sports with several similarities, however, there are also some key differences. Both focus on ground fighting and submission techniques.
Both of them involve grappling, wrestling, joint locks, and chokes, as ways to control and make your opponent tap. The difference is that BJJ is more specialized in ground fighting and submission holds, while MMA also incorporates a wider range of striking and kicking techniques from various martial arts disciplines and other combat sports like boxing, and Muay Thai.
In Mixed Martial Arts, grappling, wrestling, and groundwork in general, is just one aspect of the sport, along with striking, kicking, and other skills.
So although both sports share many similarities, on a broader scale, they have different styles. Grappling is the main component of BJJ, while it is just one component of MMA training alongside several others.
When it comes to grappling in BJJ, the goal is to use bodyweight leverage and technique to overcome and subdue an opponent, even if they’re bigger. In BJJ grappling training, learning positions like mount, guard, and side control, as well as submission holds like chokes and joint locks all hold huge significance.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, grappling is all about strategy, timing, and technique to gain the upper hand against your opponent.
As for MMA, grappling is an important component of mixed martial arts. It combines a plethora of techniques from various groundwork combat sports like BJJ, wrestling, and judo.
Fighters mainly use grappling to control their opponents in MMA. It allows them to take them down to the ground, work for submissions and ground-and-pound strikes. Grappling in MMA is significantly harder as it involves techniques of multiple martial arts, like takedowns, ground control, transitions, and submissions.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Amateur MMA Fights Do You Need To Turn Pro?
The number of amateur fights you need to become a professional fighter can vary from person to person. There isn’t a fixed number because, it depends on many factors such as your skill level, experience, wins and losses streak, and the requirements of the promotion you want to join.
In most cases, fighters should accumulate a solid record of amateur wins to gain experience, sharpen their skills, and showcase their talent. Some talented and genetically gifted fighters turn pro after just a few amateur fights, while others prefer to gain more experience before leaping into their professional career.
Is Becoming A Pro MMA Fighter Worth It?
When it comes to answering if being a Professional MMA fighter is worth it or not, the answer differs from person to person.
If you aim to gain respect from millions around the world and make good money as a pro fighter, then becoming a professional MMA fighter might be the right choice for you. But all of this is only possible until you make it to a big promotion.
On the other hand, if you want to live a long healthy life, free from injuries and getting punched in the face for a living, training MMA casually is the right choice for you.
Can Anyone go into MMA?
MMA is for everyone, anyone can get into mixed-martial arts if they have the mindset, passion, dedication, and willingness to put in the hard work. It is a combat sport that welcomes people from all walks and fields of life, regardless of age, gender, or background with no discrimination.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some prior martial arts experience, there are training programs and gyms that can help you develop the skills needed for your choice of martial art.
Is 25 too late to get into MMA?
There is no age limit when it comes to getting into a combat sport. There are many examples of fighters who began late, yet dominated their class and built a successful career.
One example is Michael Bisping, who began MMA training at 24 and within a few years, became the UFC middleweight champion. Former UFC heavyweight superstar Francis Ngannou also began pretty his MMA training late but was able to win the heavyweight title.
These and many others prove that if you are willing to put in countless hours of pain, struggle, dedication, and hard work, you too can become one of the many successful fighters.