MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts as it is known, is quickly gaining popularity around the world. This is because of the intensity, thrill, and athleticism the sports has to offer. So if you’ve been following it for a while, you might be wondering if you can get into MMA.
Well, while the road to professional MMA is not easy, it is definitely not impossible. With practice, dedication, and a correct mindset, you can see yourself battling against the ripped ones you see on the TV. In this article, we explain how to get into MMA as a beginner.
How is MMA different from Other Fighting Sports?
To get into MMA, you must first understand how it differs from other types of fighting sports. This includes wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, karate, and others. If you already know the difference feel free to skip this section.
The main difference you’re going to find between MMA and other sports has to do with rules. Rules regarding what is allowed and what isn’t. For example, in boxing, you’re only allowed to hit above the belt area. But in MMA, almost everything is counted fair. That’s why you’ll see players punching, kicking, wrestling, arm locking, knee driving — almost anything you can think of. Therefore, to become an MMA fighter, you’d have to develop a wide range of skill sets.
The other noticeable difference is the location. While other boxing events take place in a right, MMA fights are organized in a cage.
Steps to Get into MMA
If you’re raring to get into MMA as a professional, then there are few steps you need to go through. Getting these steps right is the key to success. Hence, as a beginner, you’d have to go back and forth between these steps.
Develop a Mindset
Before you decide to become an MMA fighter, you must first understand what you’re getting yourself into. MMA (organized by UFC) is a professional sport in which the best of the best compete. They’ve trained for years and years to get into the cage. So you need to develop a mindset that you’re up for the challenge and are willing to commit. Because without commitment, you aren’t going anywhere in MMA.
Do you have a lifestyle that allows you to hit the gym every day? Can you religiously follow a strict diet? Are you willing to make sacrifices for MMA, which might include parties, friends, girlfriends, vacations, etc.? Proceed to the next step only if the answer is a concrete “Yes” to the above.
Select your Niche
MMA incorporates a variety of martial arts styles into one. Therefore getting started with training can be overwhelming. To help your case, you need to select a niche for yourself.
MMA fighting can essentially be broken down into three components:
- Stand-up fight
In the first component, fighters fight each other, standing on their feet. They strike each other with hands, legs, elbows, knees, shoulder, etc. In Clinch, the fighters are still in a standing position but are in bodily contact. They try to dominate their opponent and gain an advantage. Finally, you have the Ground component, where players fight on the ground.
Each one of the fighting components would call for a different skill set. For stand-up fights, you’re supposed to be strong at boxing, kickboxing, Karate, Taekwondo, etc. For mastery in Clinch, you must practice Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, or wrestling.
It’s not uncommon for professional MMA fighters to dedicate the majority of their training efforts to a single type. Boxing is usually the common skill set, followed by Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. So pick your niche at the earliest.
Join an MMA Gym
A gym allows you to develop your skill for MMA. So you must join a gym and start training. It’s important to get a mentor or coach who will guide you through the process.
Also, there are different types of gyms. Some specialize in MMA, which is where you should be heading. You can also join Karate classes if that’s the niche you have chosen. Get trained in Muay Thai or Jiu-Jitsu if that’s your preference.
Get the Gears
As you might have noticed, MMA fighters wear protective gear to avoid fatal injuries. When you’re just starting out, these gears become even more important.
The gears to purchase includes, but is not limited to:
- Hand wraps
- Athletic cup
- Knee pad
You’ll also shop for shorts, pain spray, bandage, compression, among other things.
Compete in Local Events
Once you’ve trained sufficiently and felt you could knock down a guy of your range, it’s time to match up. Although you’d be competing a lot in the gym itself, competing at a league is a different ball game.
Wikipedia lists there are hundreds of MMA promotions around the world other than UFC. There are several hundred others that aren’t listed. Your job is to participate in local MMA promotion leagues and test your skills.
Chances are you’ll not get the desired result, but you should let these be your motivation to train harder.
Practice and Improve
You’ve laid out all the necessary groundwork. Now the only thing that keeps you from entering professional MMA is an improvement. You must practice and improve to a degree where you can match up with tougher guys.
You shouldn’t be afraid of the spar and give everything you’ve got. Only when you push yourself will you improve yourself. With continuous efforts, you’ll one day enter the MMA cage organized by UFC.
To Sum up
Most fanatics who start training never reach the professional level. And that’s a fact. To avoid being one of them, you need to give 100% both in and outside of the cage.