Taking up MMA is actually a very brave thing to do, so you want to give yourself the best possible advantages. Knowing exactly what you want to do before starting your preparations is the best way to go about it. However, you might be wondering, what is the best combination of martial arts for MMA? Well, we will try and answer this for you.
A good combination of martial arts for MMA is Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The reason for this is, Muay Thai will develop your stand up striking skills while Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will develop your grappling skills. A combination of these will help you fight well in the two most common styles.
Knowing which martial arts you should study is only a small aspect when it comes to your preparations. There are things such as the why, the how, and the when to consider as well. In this article, we will talk about all of this so that when you are done reading, you should have all the knowledge to get started on your journey into MMA.
The best combination of martial arts for MMA
In the sport of MMA, there are a variety of different disciplines that fighters use, and the name itself (MMA) stands for “Mixed Martial Arts.” This might throw people off who only know one discipline. There is some good news if you are one of those people.
If you are just getting started, you can choose your 2 disciplines without worrying. If you already know a form of martial arts and want to find out which discipline will best compliment that one, let’s take a look.
Choosing a 2nd martial art for MMA
You need to consider what the combat style of your current discipline is, and then go with the opposite of that to add additional skills you might be lacking.
Let’s say that your current discipline is Taekwondo, which is a mostly strike-focused martial art. The best martial art to compliment that would be a grappling and/or ground focused martial art, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Now, let’s flip that and assume that you are already trained in a grappling-focused martial art like Judo. Then you should look to a standing strike-combat-focused martial art like Muay Thai.
Why are Muay Thai and BJJ the best combination of martial arts for MMA?
As indicated above in this article, you should always have a combination that allows you to fight standing up, win grapples, and fight on the ground. A good MMA fighter can do all three in a match.
It is important to note that learning all of these skills is needed, but you should put extra focus into your primary style. So, figure out how you want to fight and spend more time training that discipline. You could also figure this out during your training.
Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for MMA
While there are various combinations that you could learn, these two, in my experience, are the best two to learn. Let’s take a close look at both of them and also see which MMA fighters use each discipline.
In Muay Thai, you will learn how to fight standing up. The martial art is similar to kickboxing and is actually sometimes called “Thai Boxing.”
Muay Thai also has good clinch training, which helps you in getting a good grip on your opponent and holding him close.
MMA fighters who use Muay Thai
- Anderson Silva is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time. He uses his Muay Thai training as his primary fighting style, and it is how he got most of his knockouts. He also practiced BJJ, which he would sometimes use in the right situation.
- Valentia Schevchenko is the current champion in the female flyweight division. She, like Anderson Silva, uses Muay Thai as her primary focus. She also uses her Judo training when in grappling and ground fighting situations.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular forms of martial arts. It is a grapple and ground-fighting-focused art form. This is a great secondary martial to learn for anyone whose primary focus is, stand up and/or strike-combat martial arts.
Fighters who use BJJ
- Nate Diz is one of the most well-known names in MMA. He famously beat a then seemingly unstoppable Connor McGregor. He is known to use his BJJ training often when his Boxing skills aren’t frustrating his opponents enough.
- Charles Oliveira Is known for using his BJJ to get his opponents into positions where he can put them in submission holds. He is so good at it that he holds the crown for the most submissions in MMA.
- Anderson Silva is a fighter that we already mentioned in the Muay Thai section.
Taekwondo and Judo for MMA
This is another great combination that you can use in MMA. It is used by a fair amount of fighters, and doing both together will definitely give you advantages in the octagon.
This is one of the most exciting forms of martial arts to watch. It is full of flair and skill. Taekwondo is a stand-up strike-focused martial art that sees people using their legs to strike most of the time. If you are interested in doing great looking flying kicks, this is the martial art for you.
MMA fighters who use Taekwondo
- Anthony Pettis has produced some truly unforgettable moments with his kicking ability and his experience. Anthony has given me some of my favorite MMA and UFC moments while watching the sport. This incredible fighter uses Wrestling as a second martial art.
- Nina Ansaroff is a Taekwondo fighter who uses Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a second martial art. Her career in MMA started when she wanted to do martial arts as a way to get fit after a motorcycle accident. Looking where it got her, is incredible.
Judo is a martial art that focuses on grappling and then throwing your opponent to the ground. This is another very popular martial art in MMA.
MMA fighters that use Judo
- The first person on this list needs no introduction. Ronda Rousey was not just the most popular female fighter; she is one of the most popular MMA fighters of all time. Her primary focus was Judo.
- Rick Hawn uses Judo and BJJ in his fighting style. He has won a few titles in the light and welterweight divisions.
Judo vs BJJ
While these two may look similar from a distance, they are two completely different forms of martial arts. We dedicated an entire article to these two sports, where we compared them.
Like I mentioned in the article, there are a lot of different combinations that you can use when starting out in MMA. That being said, you will always be best known for the one that you are most efficient in, and that is something to consider.
In the “Fighters who use” section, I tried to highlight that some of the best fighters use combinations that make them proficient in different styles of fighting.
I really like the BJJ and Muay Thai combinations. Muay Thai has delivered some truly memorable moments in MMA and UFC.
You can always go back and read some of our articles; they are packed full of all the information you need if you are starting out or even if you already do martial arts.
Other articles in this series:
Best martial art for a small person.
Best martial art for tall people.
Best martial art for skinny people.
Best martial art for big guys.
Best martial art for overweight people.
Best martial art for bodyguards.
Best martial art for women to learn.