How to Recover Quickly Following an MMA Fight

Side view of empty mma arena under lights

There’s no doubt that mixed martial arts has become an entertaining sport with a following that understandably continues to grow. Participating in MMA gives fighters a chance to show off their strength and endurance while also earning a living wage. Only the best make it into the professional ring where championship titles and prize monies are granted. That’s partly because the best have the knowledge to bounce back quickly after each fight so they can continue moving up the ranks. 

If you’re just starting out in MMA, here are some tips to help speed up your recovery so you can keep rising to the top. 

1. Light Therapy

The primary focus of MMA recovery is on the muscles. A large part of your healing process happens on the cellular level. Naturally, it takes your body time to recover after it’s taken a beating, but recent discoveries in science have shown red LED light therapy can actually help speed up the process of new cell growth and repair in muscles in addition to providing relief for inflammation. Light therapy is harmless and noninvasive and could promote overall wellness to anyone who uses it.

2. Protein Diet

Good nutrition is an important part of recovery. While you should always make sure you’re getting the right balance of nutrients, it’s especially important to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein. After all, protein provides amino acids to your body, and amino acids are also known as the building blocks of your body. They help build and repair muscle. The best way to get protein is through food sources such as fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables. Supplements may also help, but going straight to the source is always the better option. 

3. Adequate Sleep

Many people don’t appreciate what a good night of sleep can actually provide. During your sleep hours, while your mind and body may appear to be at rest, there’s actually a lot going on. Important to your muscles is the release of cytokines. Cytokines are protein molecules that help fight infection and repair damaged cells. If you’re planning on staying up late after your fight going over everything you did right or wrong, you may want to rethink your plans. Getting better sleep is the first step toward a faster recovery. 

4. Ice Bath

Many fighters use a trick to alleviate muscle swelling and soreness known as an ice bath. Ice baths work by restricting the flow of blood to the muscles, which in turn reduces swelling which will also help reduce the damage that can be occurring inside the body post-fight. While a person wouldn’t want to jump in an ice bath for any other occasion, when it comes to recovery following a fight, it’s a must. 

5. Take It Slow

While it’s important to continue training following a fight, because after all, this is your bread and butter, it’s also important to ease back in a bit slower. Sitting on the couch doing nothing is also doing nothing for your muscles, but jumping back in hot and heavy won’t allow for the healing that needs to take place.

6. Listen to Your Trainer

Last, make sure you have a wise trainer that’s had success with other fighters. Being a good trainer takes experience and it’s not a role that a best friend or family member can fill unless they have that experience. Listen to your trainer, because he or she is likely going to know a few other tricks that can help get you back in the cage. 


MMA is a rewarding career. Not only are you in the best health of your life, but you’re also on the road to making good money. The key is to train smart, fight smart, and heal smart. If you don’t do those things, you won’t be in the game for very long, and it takes time to get to the top. 


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