Professional MMA has fighters with a range of different martial arts backgrounds. But, there are two main fighting styles striking and grappling. I wanted to know what the best fighting style is in MMA, so I did some research, and here’s what I found.
On average, striking is the best fighting style for MMA. The official UFC top pound for pound fighters have the vast majority of their wins from striking, 47%. Whereas, a much smaller percentage of their wins, 25% to 30% come from a decision or a submission.
Below, I will provide data I compiled that analyzed the fighting style of the top MMA fighters. I will also explain what fighting style is the best and if MMA is good to learn.
What Fighting Style the Top MMA Competitors Have
There are generally three main styles for MMA, striking, grappling, or being well rounded. Typically, MMA fighters have a better skill set in one. For example, they were a wrestler from a young age. Or, they started with boxing.
I analyzed the fighting styles of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the MMA. Here’s a list of who the pound-for-pound best fighters are. As well as, what their main fighting style is:
- Kamaru Usman – wrestling background
- Alexander Volkanovski – well rounded – rugby background
- Charles Oliveria – well rounded, very good ground game
- Francis Ngannou – mostly striking
- Max Holloway – mostly striking
- Dustin Poirier – well rounded
- Glover Texeira – well rounded
- Jon Jones – well rounded
To understand this further I analyzed all of their wins. For example, if their wins came from striking such as a KO or TKO, a submission, or a decision. I then converted these into a percentage of all of their wins. Here’s a table that shows the results, with an average at the bottom:
|Fighter||Wins by submission||Wins by striking||Wins by decision|
From the average of how the pound-for-pound fighters won their fights, it can be seen that the majority 47% came from a KO or TKO victory. This is a victory from strikes. Where’s wins by submission or decision are split fairly evenly between the remaining 50% of wins.
The top pound-for-pound fighters that are a bit different from the average are Francis Ngannou, Kamaru Usman, and Charles Oliveira. Francis Ngannou has significantly more wins from strikes. Charles Oliveria has significantly more wins by submission. Kamaru Usman has significantly more wins by decision.
This shows that if you are especially at either striking, grappling, or are well rounded, it’s still possible to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.
It only takes one very good strike to finish a fight
It could be argued that the main reason why the best fighters win by strikes, is because if a significant strike lands, it will almost always be a KO. Or, the other person will be wobbly or ‘rocked’, in a way that they can be finished as a TKO very easily.
However, with a submission typically it’s a process. First, they need to get the takedown in most cases. Then they need to get into an advantageous position to apply a submission, then they need to secure the submission. All of this takes time. And an MMA fight only goes for a fixed duration of time.
Whereas, a knockout or a strike that leads to a TKO can happen instantly. Submissions are very methodical and step by step. Well-trained fighters are aware of what’s coming and they don’t need to take risks. And leave themselves open to getting submitted. But, with striking often a fighter will need to ‘trade’ blows to land a significant strike.
A good example is the fight between Connor McGregor and one of the pound-for-pound best fighters Jose Aldo. Connor McGregor purposefully ‘ate’ a significant strike in order to land a perfect strike to the chin. That knocked out Jose Aldo and finished the fight.
Is MMA the Best Martial Art
There are many different martial arts from different countries. Some have a lot of similarities, whereas, others are quite unique. So, which is the best, and is MMA the best martial art?
Overall, MMA is the best martial art. But, technically MMA is not a martial art. MMA stands for mixed martial arts. MMA is the best because it combines grappling and striking. Whereas, virtually all other martial arts mostly train grappling only or striking only.
The closest martial to MMA that is an actual martial art is sambo. It is a combination of judo/jiu-jitsu, boxing, and kickboxing. It’s the fighting style that one of the best fighters MMA fighters in the world Khabib Nourmagemedov trained a lot in. As well as, MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.
The main fighting styles used in MMA are boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and judo. All of these, are very effective on their own. But, they lack various aspects of a real fight. For example, boxing is very good for ending a fight with punches. As well as, avoid strikes. But, it lacks the
What Fighting Style Is the Most Effective
One of the most interesting questions in martial arts is which style beats another style. Martial arts are typically always learned as a means of self-defense, but clearly, some styles are better than others. So, here’s the rundown on which fighting style is the most effective.
In general, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the most effective. But, this is only against an untrained fighter. In a fight between two trained fighters typically a grappler like a wrestler or BJJ practitioner will win. However, there’s always the chance the other person can land a lucky strike.
A person with superior grappling skills will always win if the fight goes to the clinch. As you may know, the clinch is where two people are ‘hugging’ each other. The difference between an untrained grappler and a normal person is very stark.
And an untrained person will easily get defeated. The same is true of a striking martial art. However, there is more potential for the other person to land a lucky strike, which knocks out the more experienced person.
However, in a situation where there are multiple attackers, and any fight in general, experienced fighters always recommend not fighting at all. And to de-escalate the situation verbally. Or, get out of the situation.