We are going to go through some of the crucial basics next, but it’s all up to your own innate talents and ability to take and deliver punishment in the octagon. Also, there is more intelligence involved in MMA fights than in any other form of professional martial arts. What that means is watching past matches is going to be a crucial part of your path to becoming a pro.
What It Takes: The Right Mindset
Technically, there is not much difference between the processes involved in becoming a male or a female Mixed Martial Arts fighter. The only thing is that you may need to change is your mindset. Let the authorities decide gender and weight divisions, while you focus on simply becoming an MMA fighter rather than a female MMA fighter. You will be fighting other women in your own weight class, so the fights will always be fair, and just like how it is with men’s MMA, if you are good at it, you will succeed to at least some degree. If you are really good at it though, you may just become the next Undisputed UFC Female Champion!
It helps If You Have an Amateur Background in Fighting
If you do a bit of research, it will become evident that most MMA fighters, male or female, usually come from an amateur fighting base of some sort. Cristiane Justino Venâncio, aka Cris Cyborg came from a Muay Thai and Kickboxing background and learned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu later when she joined MMA. Ronda Rousey represented the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won Bronze there. Rousey learned boxing to improve her offence on feet, but 9 out of 12 of her career victories came from judo submission moves.
The point is that if you wish to be good at mixed martial arts, you will need to master at least one martial art for a few years first, before moving on to the next. This isn’t necessary and a lot of regular female MMA fighters joined MMA directly without a background. However, it does help a lot.
You Will Need to Keep an Eye on Realtime Events
Watch past matches that your coach recommends, or you know will benefit you, but nothing can match the thrill and the educational value of watching a superb fight unfold in real-time. If you look at this set of comprehensive UFC tips which includes predictions and probabilities about big UFC fights, you will notice that there is always a pattern.
Remember that every time you get better at detecting the working patterns in a fight and the more accurate your predictions become, the more fight intelligence you gain. With the necessary practice, they will actually become actionable insights for you to find openings in your own opponents in the ring.
You Will Need a Second Fighting Style
Some fighters have more than two styles at their disposal, but most make do with two. They call it mixed martial arts for a reason, and you can’t mix it up without knowing at least two martial art styles. If you have a base in striking, then you will need to learn something that will help you grapple on the ground with better efficiency. When the fighter is coming in from a grappling base, they will need training in a striking technique. If you are unsure about the concept, check the following division:
- Common Grappling Techniques: Wrestling, Judo, Brazilian Ju Jitsu
- Common Striking Techniques: Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai.
Note that full-contact sports like American football, Australian rules football, and rugby can also serve as a background, but they cannot be considered a base because they are not part of the martial arts family. The toughness that a sport like rugby provides can certainly come in handy when taking a beating in the ring though, as is often demonstrated by former rugby players like James Haskell (England) and Michelle Montague (New Zealand) in the octagon.
That is pretty much all you need to know about becoming an MMA fighter in theory, but now it’s up to you. It’s a short, risky career that can be highly rewarding for only a select few. However, you will never know if you have it in you unless you at least give it a try.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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