A Comprehensive Guide to MMA Fighting Styles in 2023

mma fighting styles

[2023] Attention all martial arts enthusiasts and aspiring fighters! Are you itching to learn more about the various mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting styles? Our expert team at MMA Ninja™ has got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about MMA fighting styles, from the basics to advanced techniques, and even a few FAQs.

What is MMA Fighting?

Before we delve into the different fighting styles in MMA, let's start with the basics. MMA fighting is a full-contact combat sport that allows competitors to use a variety of martial arts techniques, including striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground. The sport combines different styles to create a unique fighting approach, making MMA an exciting and dynamic sport to watch and participate in.

Traditional Fighting Styles in MMA

There are several traditional martial arts styles that have been incorporated into MMA fighting. Let's take a closer look at these styles and their key techniques.


Wrestling is a combat sport that involves grappling techniques such as takedowns, pins, and throws. Wrestling is an important technique in MMA and has produced top-level fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier. Wrestlers excel at controlling their opponents and using their strength and leverage to gain dominant positions.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling-based martial art that focuses on ground fighting and submission holds. BJJ is a crucial technique in MMA and the ability to submit an opponent is a significant advantage in a fight. The Gracie family is famously associated with the development of BJJ, and fighters like Royce Gracie and Demian Maia have had great success in MMA using their BJJ skills.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a striking-based martial art from Thailand that is characterized by powerful strikes with the fists, elbows, knees, and shins. Muay Thai fighters employ various techniques such as clinching, kneeing, and elbows strikes which are effective in the clinch. A well-placed Muay Thai strike can end a fight quickly, and fighters such as Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Anderson Silva have had great success using their Muay Thai skills in MMA.


Boxing is a classic combat sport that involves striking with the fists and is known for its quick footwork, head movement, and precise punching techniques. Although it may seem limited in MMA, many MMA fighters have trained in boxing and have found success in incorporating it into their arsenal. Boxers such as Conor McGregor and Holly Holm have had successful careers in MMA due to their boxing background.


Judo is a grappling-based martial art that focuses on throws and takedowns. Judo emphasizes the use of leverage and balance to throw the opponent to the ground. Fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Karo Parisyan have had significant success in MMA due to their Judo background, where they can use their throws to take their opponents to the ground.


Karate is a traditional striking martial art from Japan that emphasizes precise and powerful techniques. The strikes in Karate are often more diverse than in boxing, such as kicks and strikes with various limbs. Lyoto Machida is a prime example of a successful MMA fighter who used their Karate skills to great effect.


Kung-Fu is a term that encompasses several different Chinese martial arts. Traditionally, Kung-Fu includes a wide range of techniques such as strikes, kicks, throws, and joint locks. Kung-Fu places a strong emphasis on timing, fluidity, and power. Cung Le and Zhang Weili are both MMA fighters who have had success using their Kung-Fu skills.


Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that emphasizes high kicks and acrobatic maneuvers. Taekwondo has become a popular style in MMA due to its flashy techniques and the ability to keep distance from opponents with kicks. Fighters like Holly Holm and Anthony Pettis have used their Taekwondo skills to great success in MMA.


Kickboxing is a striking-based martial art that allows kicks and punches to the head and body. Kickboxing emphasizes the use of powerful kicks and dynamic punching techniques, making it a popular style in MMA. Fighters such as Alistair Overeem and Israel Adesanya have found great success in MMA due to their kickboxing skills.

MMA Techniques

In addition to traditional martial arts styles, there are various techniques specific to MMA that fighters must master to be successful. Let's take a closer look at some of these techniques.


Striking in MMA involves punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, and is used to keep the opponent at a distance and inflict damage. Fighters must learn how to strike effectively while standing and while on the ground.


Grappling in MMA involves techniques such as takedowns, throws, and submission holds. Fighters use grappling to control their opponents and take them to the ground, where they can use their ground skills to gain an advantage.


Clinching in MMA is when two fighters engage in a close-range form of combat, where they can use strikes and takedowns. Clinching requires excellent balance and control, as well as the ability to deliver and absorb strikes.

Cage fighting

Cage fighting involves using the cage to gain an advantage. Fighters use the cage to brace themselves, escape takedowns, and pin their opponents against the fence.

Methods of Victory

In MMA, there are several methods of victory. Let's take a closer look at each one.

Knockout (KO)

A KO is when a fighter is knocked out and unable to continue fighting.

Technical Knockout (TKO)

A TKO is when a fighter is deemed unable to continue fighting due to injury or exhaustion.

Submission (SUB)

A submission is when a fighter forces their opponent to give up the fight by applying a submission hold, such as a choke or armbar.


If a fight goes the distance without a knockout, submission, or TKO, the winner is determined by a judge's decision.

MMA Weight Classes

In MMA, fighters are separated into weight classes to ensure fair competition. Let's take a look at the weight classes for both men and women.

Men's Divisions

  • Flyweight: Up to 125 lb (56.7 kg)
  • Bantamweight: 126-135 lb (57.2-61.2 kg)
  • Featherweight: 136-145 lb (61.7-65.8 kg)
  • Lightweight: 146-155 lb (66.2-70.3 kg)
  • Welterweight: 156-170 lb (70.8-77.1 kg)
  • Middleweight: 171-185 lb (77.6-83.9 kg)
  • Light Heavyweight: 186-205 lb (84.4-93.0 kg)
  • Heavyweight: 206-265 lb (93.5-120.2 kg)

Women's Divisions

  • Strawweight: Up to 115 lb (52.2 kg)
  • Flyweight: 116-125 lb (52.6-56.7 kg)
  • Bantamweight: 126-135 lb (57.2-61.2 kg)
  • Featherweight: 136-145 lb (61.7-65.8 kg)

Advanced Techniques in MMA

Now that we've covered the basics, let's delve into some more advanced techniques in MMA.

Defensive strategies

Defensive strategies involve evading your opponent's attacks and minimizing damage. Fighters must learn how to block, slip, and move their head to avoid strikes.


Counter-striking is when a fighter waits for their opponent to attack and then counters with a strike of their own. Counter-striking requires excellent timing and accuracy.

Ground and pound

Ground and pound involves taking the opponent to the ground and then using strikes to inflict damage and gain a dominant position.


Submissions involve applying a hold or lock to force the opponent to give up the fight. Fighters must learn how to apply a variety of submissions from different positions.


mma fighting styles,

What martial arts does John Wick use?

John Wick, portrayed by Keanu Reeves, uses a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Gun Fu in the movies. BJJ and Judo are grappling martial arts commonly used in MMA, while Gun Fu is a style of gunfighting that mixes martial arts and firearms.

Can a female martial artist beat a man?

The outcome of a fight depends on several factors, including the skill level, size, and strength of the fighters. While it is possible for a female martial artist to beat a man, it is not guaranteed. However, many female martial artists have been successful in MMA and other combat sports.

What is mixed martial arts style?

Mixed martial arts style is a combination of a variety of traditional martial arts, such as boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and more. MMA fighters must be skilled in both striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Mental toughness is just as important as physical conditioning in MMA.
  • Footwork is crucial in MMA, and fighters must learn how to move properly to avoid strikes and set up their own attacks.
  • Training in multiple disciplines will give you a more well-rounded game and greater adaptability in the cage.
  • Nutrition is a crucial element in MMA, with fighters needing to maintain a healthy diet to stay in top shape for fights.

In Conclusion

MMA fighting styles are a combination of traditional martial arts and specific techniques developed for the sport. Fighters must possess an array of striking and grappling skills to be successful in the cage, and must also have a deep understanding of defensive strategies and ground techniques. By mastering these skills and maintaining a rigorous training regimen, anyone can become a successful MMA fighter. As expert martial artists and enthusiasts, our team at MMA Ninja™ recommends training under experienced coaches and fighters to develop your skills, and sparring regularly to hone your techniques. With dedication and hard work, anyone can achieve greatness in the world of MMA.

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