What you need to be an MMA champion

The 5 Keys to Being an MMA Champ

MMA is one of the most brutal forms of hand-to-hand combat in this modern era. To be the best, you not only need strength, but agility, endurance, and the brains to know when to make the move that will ensure you win the fight.

MMA has gained massive popularity over the past few years, is watched by millions, is one of the most popular sports to bet on, and is also home to some of the greatest, fastest, and strongest athletes in the world. 

MMA champions have a lot in common, and these 5 key points are what they have, or what they do better than anyone else, which has helped them reach the top and earn the honor of being called Champion. 

Strength and Power

Obviously strength and power are needed to beat your opponents, you aren’t going to win fights if the shots you are landing are barely phasing your opponents. What strength is most important for, however, is explosiveness. 

Being able to hit heavy punches or kicks is all well and good, but the best fighters are able to use their explosive power to overwhelm opponents. Kick after kick, punch after punch, hitting your opponent over and over again and tearing them down. 

The best fighters have powerful backs, shoulders, and legs, all the characteristics you need to land fight-ending blows over and over again. This power also helps the fighter control the distance, and push his opponent to where he needs him to be.


Strength and heavy punches and kicks mean nothing if you don’t know how to wield them. This is where technique comes into play. There are 5 main styles or techniques of fighting that currently dominate MMA

These are boxing, Muay Thai, Karate, wrestling, and grappling such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo. Each of these techniques have their own positives and negatives, and a true champion is not only able to use each technique effectively when needed but is also able to defend against each style. 

Someone may be an incredible boxer or have extremely powerful kicks, but if they can easily be taken down and arm-barred or choked, their boxing or Muay Thai prowess means nothing. The same is true the other way around, you can’t just be a great boxer or grappler.


Probably the most vital aspect to being a good fighter is being able to go the distance in a fight. Every great athlete, in all sports, is able to go full speed or full power from the first minute until the last. 

No matter which sport you play or take part in, getting tired is a killer and is more often than not the reason for losing. Therefore, having the ability to go full force for a whole fight is a serious difference-maker. 

You want your last punch in a fight to be as strong as your first, you want your footwork to be just as quick. Endurance also helps when you’re on the back foot. It enables you to fight back more effectively and recover from a position of weakness. 

Considering an MMA fight can last anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes, you need the endurance to get through that time. Many fighters are famous for getting first-round knockouts, but then struggle when the fight gets to the third, fourth, or even fifth round, with their much fitter opponent usually taking home the win. 

High Pain Tolerance

If you ever been in a fight, or even just watched a fight, being hit hurts. Being hit or kicked by a professional fighter can put even the strongest guy on the mat. Add in grappling, calf crushers, armbars, and the like, and a round of MMA can be torture. 

This is why fighters need a high pain tolerance, you can’t be made of glass, and you also can’t buckle when your opponent lands a powerful hit. Whether it be to the jaw, a kick to the stomach, or a toe stamp, fighters need to be able to fight through the pain, ignore it, and focus on the job at hand. 

Considering the amount of punishment a fighter goes through in each round, it is essential that they can not only tolerate large amounts of pain but also fight through it, no matter how much it hurts. 

Mental Strength

The final key is mental toughness. You need to be mentally strong to fight through the pain, keep a clear head no matter how tired or beaten you are and have the self-belief to know that no matter who stands opposite you, you have the ability to beat them. 

You also need the motivation to train every day, eat properly, do whatever it is that you need to do to be the absolute best. Being a fighter at the very job is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and that’s just the training side of things. 

You also need the same motivation and self-belief when you step inside the ring. The best fighters come off the back of an injury or a defeat and are just as motivated and just as driven to compete and win. 

There are definitely other factors that separate good fighters and champions, but these are easily the five that are the most important if you are wanting to succeed and be crowned a champion in the world of MMA. 

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