MMA and self-defense

Mixed Martial Arts is a relatively new style of combat with a short history spanning only a few decades . The sport combines elements of various martial arts into a holistic whole. The main promoter of the activity in the world is the UFC, holding its first event in 1993. Cage fighting is seen mainly as a male endeavour, although women can also receive training and take part in tournaments. There are both positive and negative aspects of MMA that need to be looked at.

On the positive side, MMA training will allow a person to know the moves from a diverse set of martial arts. Be it boxing, judo, muay thai or jiu jitsu, cage fighting will involve different aspects of these arts. The sport expects an athlete to have mastered techniques from other fighting styles. Quickly applying the learned skills in a cage fight can result in a victory. Although the sport is not recognized by the Olympic committee, plenty of sport betting sites offer fans and supporters various gambles on the athletes.

On the negative side, cage fighting involves two sportsmen contesting each other in a closed environment. There are rules and regulations that have been set in place by the match organizer and the UFC committee. Presence of a referee ensures that after a knock-out, no more punches or kicks can take place. Hitting the groin or biting the opponent has been banned from the games. Lack of weapons of any kind and fighting just one opponent at a time is another aspect of each tournament. The conditions of a cage fight hence differ radically from real street combat.

This article will look at both the pro and con aspects of cage fighting. Whether it can help an individual win a street fight, preparing them for real combat. Or if the training they receive at the gym is suitable only for tournaments held behind closed doors.

How MMA can let a person win a fight

Cage fighting is probably the sport with the highest contact ratio. Meaning that athletes strike each other plenty. Training at an MMA gym will teach a person how to fight, with only practical and effective techniques being part of the lessons. The training for the sport will focus mainly on moves that are effective and can be applied in real combat. Many other martial arts are filled with techniques and principles which have no real world application. Cage fighting takes the essence of other fighting techniques and distills them into a practical training regiment.

The best training for self defense should include grappling, striking and clinching. Knowing how to grapple someone and combat the opponent on the ground is paramount to defending oneself. Many random street fights can often involve people falling to the ground and continuing the fight on tarmac. Jiu jitsu, wrestling and judo are three sports which teach grappling and fighting on the ground to athletes. The following is a list of sports which can be useful to winning in a street fight.

  • Brazilian jiu jitsu can be excellent for learning how to fight with your back on the tarmac.
  • Muay thai, also known as thai boxing, is great for learning how to strike the opponent. This sport will involve kicks and punches, using one’s knees and elbows.
  • Boxing is also focused on hitting and punching the enemy. The sport can be useful for learning how to fight and strike an enemy.
  • Judo can teach an individual how to clinch. This allows them to control the attacker while standing upright and close thus controlling the enemy.
  • Wrestling can be great as the sport teaches takedowns. A person can learn how to both takedown their opponents and avoid being thrown onto the tarmac.

MMA contains elements from all of the above mentioned martial arts. The activity, although technically a sport, removes the bits that are hard to apply in practice. But cage fighting will contain the essence of different combat techniques, teaching skills that matter in real life. Not only MMA will allow for a fast muscle mass gain and lower weight, but also teach its students grappling and striking techniques from a variety of martial arts. An important aspect of cage fighting is that the sport provides a wide range of tools from an extremely diverse background. Training in the arts can be an excellent resource for neutralizing an enemy on the street quickly and efficiently.

The athletes learning the game can get serious fighting practice done on a routine basis. MMA continuously will take its players through a series of rough stress tests. As street conflicts can be extremely stressful situations, knowing how to control the adrenaline is extremely important. Avoiding paralysis during a severe fight and having good reaction time can be important attributes of a good fighter. Practicing cage fighting is excellent for quickening athlete’s reactions and helping them deal with stress during a real altercation. As stress testing is part of MMA training, an athlete should be able to do well in a street fight that would otherwise imperil many of their abilities.

Problems with MMA

Although cage fighting provides an extremely efficient way of teaching multiple martial art styles, situations can change when encountering an altercation on the street. First, MMA does not teach fighting using a weapon. Be it a knife, brass knuckles or any other tool that an enemy can wield on the street. If an opponent has a knife or a gun, then self-defense classes may be more suited for dealing with such situations.

Second, MMA fights take place in a controlled environment. There is a carefully built cage within which the fight takes place. The referee monitors the fight and stops kicks and punches the moment someone is knocked out. There are plenty of rules and regulations that govern cage fighting. For example biting, eye-gouging, kicks in the groin are all prohibited. In a street fight these, however, may often take place.

Overall learning MMA can definitely increase the odds of winning a street fight. Someone untrained in martial arts has a low chance of success against their enemies. Training in boxing and judo can roughly double that chance. MMA, on the other hand, can triple the odds of winning in a street fight. Cage fighting efficiently combines various skills and techniques from many martial arts into a coherent whole. An athlete will thus have a powerful toolset to help them on the street. Although tripling the odds and giving a 100% probability of a win are not identical.

Cage fighters that didn’t do so well on the street

Although the sport is great at teaching its students how to fight in a cage, there are examples of professional MMA athletes getting beat up on the street. Here are a few examples:

  • Connor McGregor, a UFC champion, couldn’t defeat a much bigger opponent in a sparring match.
  • Urijah Faber, an MMA champion, won a fight in the beginning, only to get hit with brass knuckles from the back while out in Bali, Indonesia. The athlete had four people chasing him with rocks and bottles and the fighter had to run away in a taxi.
  • Jamshid Kenzhaev, an MMA fighter and free wrestler, got killed in a fight with four nightclub bouncers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, while trying to force his way indoors. 
  • Muslimbek Omonov, a professional cage fighter and a gold medalist, got stabbed while partaking in a street fight in Uzbekistan and died soon afterwards in a hospital bed.

The examples presented above show that being an MMA champion is not a sure way to win a street fight. The attacker can be twice the size, be armed with weapons such as brass knuckles or knives, or the athlete could simply be up against a large group of hostiles. Either way while cage fighting is excellent as a sport, it is not a sure way to win in every fight on the street. MMA can also give extreme confidence to an athlete and when faced with a real life situation, they can simply overestimate their strength.


MMA fighting can greatly increase the chances of succeeding on the street against an attacker. Being an extremely efficient composition of various martial arts, the sport can greatly increase the odds of a victory. However, as described above, cage fighting is not a sure way to success. Training to fight in a controlled environment is not the same as getting into actual street fights. As tools such as knives and baseball bats can be employed, it can be sometimes better to simply run away from a fight than partake in it.


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