7 Best Martial Arts For MMA | Which one to learn

martial arts

Today, MMA is the most widespread fighting style worldwide. Let’s examine which martial arts are best for MMA. We’ll be discussing a few aspects of fighting and their effectiveness. 

Plenty of martial arts is suitable- for MMA, including Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, Muay-Thai, and Boxing. Since all of them are rounded or combinable with other martial arts, they’re suitable. As a result, elite MMA fighters learn these- to dominate their competition. 

Next, we’ll look at various fighting styles and their suitability for MMA. Consequently, if you’re having a tough time deciding which one you want to learn, you’ll be capable of making a wise choice. 

The following list is the seven best martial arts for MMA- by order. (#1=Best)

  1. Jiu-Jitsu
  2. Wrestling
  3. Judo
  4. Jeet Kune Do
  5. Boxing
  6. Kickboxing
  7. Muay-Thai

Before jumping in, progressing outside of your fighting gym; will assist you in becoming a better fighter. Thus training at home correlates to your progression. If you want to know how to do so, I wrote a complete guide to training martial arts at home

Martial artUFC Fighters
Muay-ThaiAnderson Silva
Edson Barboza
Jon Jones
KickboxingPat Barry
Stephen Thompson
BoxingNate Diaz
Holly Holm
Jeet Kune DoJerome Lee Banner
Ben Saunders
JudoRonda Rousey
Khabib Nurmagomedov
WrestlingKhabib Nurmagomedov
Kamaru Usman
Jiu-JitsuNate Diaz
Mackenzie DernUFC fighters and their primary martial art

#7 – Muay-Thai

Today, knowing to fight; is crucial for your protection. There have been plenty of aggravated assaults in the US in 2020. In fact, there were 113,646 of them. Thus you must know self-defense in today’s world. 

Muay-Thai is a martial art that utilizes striking, kicking, and grappling for knocking the opponent. As a result, knowing to use it; will make you a solid, dynamic fighter. It’s suitable for MMA because of the many movements you’ll learn while studying it. 

People don’t understand the differences between martial arts. As a result, they may choose an unsuitable one for them. Thus knowing the pros and cons of each one– may assist you in dodging a bullet. 

I’m a big fan of fighting. Thus I can tell you with complete confidence- that learning Muay-Thai will make you a solid fighter. You’ll know to get hit without moving an inch. Thus you’ll become a capable fighter. 

Today, the primary fighter that uses Muay-Thai- is Rodtang. He’s one of the best because of his aggressiveness and fearlessness. Hence he can get hit without noticing it. The following video shows his skills, and I recommend watching it. 

Overall, Muay-Thai is one of the best fighting styles you can learn. It’ll make you a solid fighter, and therefore elite MMA fighters use it to dominate their competition. Additionally, it’ll teach you self-defense quickly. Thus it’s relevant in today’s world. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

One aspect of becoming an elite MMA fighter is knowing to adapt. Because each one brings his unique style, you must be dynamic. Consequently, you’ll overcome every obstacle that turns your way. 

Muay-Thai is suitable for MMA because you can combine it with most fighting styles. Additionally, it teaches you various grappling movements. Now, they’re highly effective in any fighting scenario. 

Furthermore, it’s the best fighting style for close-quarters -because it incorporates grappling and striking techniques. Thus you’ll become capable of beating anyone in close quarters. 

#6 – Kickboxing

Training in martial arts provides many benefits. Because of that, doing them- is highly valuable. For instance, you’ll better your physical and mental states, hence getting into shape. 

Kickboxing is a martial art that utilizes kicking and punching to knock out the opponent. As a result, you’ll become a capable fighter in various movements. Furthermore, it’s suitable for MMA because it provides a foundation to combine other fighting styles. 

Most elite fighters that use Kickboxing- also learn another fighting style. As a result, they can knock out an opponent and other techniques. For instance, many study Jiu-Jitsu to control their opponents on the ground. 

As a result, they dominate their competition- with ease. For instance, picture yourself knowing to punch and kick powerfully- while being comfortable with pinning your opponent to the ground. You’ll be capable of using both techniques to master the opponent. 

“The findings of the present study revealed that 5-weeks of kickboxing training involved significant improvements in aerobic power (i.e., MAP and VO2MAX), and anaerobic fitness” (Source)

As you can see, 5-weeks of Kickboxing training had significant changes to the physical health of the trainees. That means that you can do the same, which is highly desirable- in today’s world. 

Furthermore, you can learn Kickboxing at home. Thus progressing without spending a single dime on martial arts– is possible. I wrote an article on the five best martial arts to learn at home. If you’re interested in doing so- I recommend checking it out. 

The following video is about Kickboxing MMA fighters. I encourage watching it if you’re interested in seeing which techniques you’ll be learning in training. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Kickboxing is suitable for MMA because it lays a foundation for the fighter. Thus he could combine it with other fighting styles to complete his skillset. Consequently, using both to dominate his competition- will come naturally. 

I recommend learning to Kickbox if you’re interested in learning self-defense- while getting into shape. It’s one of the best martial arts for fitness, and therefore, you’ll highly benefit from it. 

#5 – Boxing

Learning a simple fighting style- will make your life easier because you’ll study it fast. As a result, you’ll stay consistent effortlessly. Most people who begin their journey end up quitting for a primary reason- they don’t see the results they expect. 

Boxing is a martial art that utilizes punching in various forms to knock an opponent. As a result, it’s simple- yet effective. It’s suitable for MMA since it lays a foundation to combine another fighting style. However, Boxing alone- isn’t appropriate for MMA. 

I have done Boxing for a couple of years now. Thus I’m familiar with the expectations you should have before you begin training. Because of that, I can tell you that you’ll learn the basics- fast. As a result, staying consistent with training- will be more manageable than in other martial arts

Additionally, you’ll learn to become a solid fighter- capable of getting punched several times. At first, you’ll be crumbling whenever someone comes to hit you. With progression, you’ll begin to receive the hits without any issues. 

In street fights, not being afraid of getting hit- is vital. If you’re scared, you’ll not close the distance between you and the attacker. Thus disabling the attacker becomes impossible. When you’re self-confident in your abilities, you’ll complete the space and disable the hostile smoothly. 

Boxing is one of the best martial arts on the entire planet. In fact, it’s the most popular fighting style worldwide

Lastly, understand that Boxing alone isn’t suitable for MMA. You can’t be a dynamic fighter if you know to punch- and that’s it. Yet, you can combine it with another fighting style- thus creating a more rounded fighter. Read more about the best martial arts combinations for Boxing

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Boxing is suitable for MMA because it lays a solid basis for your fighting style. As a result, you can mix another fighting style in your skillset- to create a capable fighter. Yet, Boxing alone won’t fit the elite levels of MMA.

If you want to learn a simple martial art, consider Boxing. It’s one of the best ones. Therefore, participating in it will benefit your well-being. 

Key benefits of fitness boxing (Source)

  • Improves balance
  • Helps posture
  • Strengthens upper- body and core.
  • Boosts endurance
  • May increase alertness.
  • Enhances mood
  • Improves hand-eye coordination

As you can see, Boxing provides the trainee with plenty of valuable benefits. As a result, doing it- improves your overall well-being.

The following video is Boxing knockouts in MMA.

#4 – Jeet Kune Do

If you’re reading this post, you must be familiar with Bruce Lee. If you’re not, he’s the most famous martial artist to live. Additionally, he was a movie star. He used the cinema as a platform to make martial arts as widespread as they are today. His life creation was creating Jeet Kune Do.

Jeet Kune Do- is a martial art that’s all about self-defense- and disabling hostiles quickly. As a result, it uses effective techniques, such as groin kicks. It’s suitable for MMA because it teaches the fighters to use various movements to win the fight smoothly. 

Although some JKD techniques are illegal in MMA, some aren’t. As a result, using them in fights will be deemed legal. If you want to study self-defense quickly, consider researching more about Jeet Kune Do. 

Learning Jeet Kune Do takes plenty of time. Yet, you can study some techniques effectively and quickly. As a result, staying consistent with JKD; is more manageable than other martial arts

In the following video, you’ll see MMA fighters use Jeet Kune Do techniques- to win a fight quickly. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Although many JKD movements aren’t legal in MMA, some are. As a result, using them is legal.

Jeet Kune Do- is suitable for MMA because it utilizes many techniques- effective for disabling the opponent quickly. As a result, using it for such purposes; is beneficial. For instance, you can beat an opponent rapidly using a kick to the knee. 

#3 – Judo

Mastering your opponent equals victory. Because of that, Judo is highly effective for self-defense. However, many people believe it isn’t. Yet, that cannot be further from the truth. 

Judo is a martial art that utilizes pinning and throwing your opponent to the ground. As a result, it’s effective for self-defense and real fights. Judo is suitable for MMA because it completes many fighting styles, such as Kickboxing and Boxing. 

Today, elite fighters use Judo techniques to dominate their competition. If you can force the opponent to submit- you win. Because of that, getting into such a position- will be of high value in MMA. 

In many previous fights, fighters executed a Judo move that ended the battle. Thus if you can do so, you’ll become a solid fighter. 

However, it’s not a suitable martial art for MMA all alone. Like Boxing, you must complement it with another fighting style. For that reason, learning Boxing and Judo; will be wise. You’ll be an adaptive fighter capable of dominating the top levels. 

The following video shows instances where elite UFC fighters used Judo to end a fight quickly. If you can learn similar techniques, you’ll be solid for your- fighting journey. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Judo by itself- isn’t suitable for MMA- since it doesn’t teach any striking or kicking. At such elite levels, knowing these movements- is crucial to success. Yet, combining Judo with another fighting style, such as Muay-Thai- will be ideal and will make you a solid fighter. 

Mastering your opponent will assist you in winning. 

#2 – Wrestling

Today in the UFC, many elite fighters use wrestling to master their opponents. They can pin them to the ground, hence gaining the advantage. Let’s see why it’s as effective as it is. 

Wrestling is a martial art that utilizes grappling techniques to master the opponent. As a result, it’s suitable for self-defense and real fights. It’s an incredible fighting style for MMA because it compliments other martial arts, including Boxing and Kickboxing.

Distinct fighters dominate their opponents because they catch them off-guard. As a result, they dominate their competition- with ease. 

Picture yourself knowing to throw powerful punches while pinning your opponent to the ground. Thus you have the advantage in both ways. Consequently, you can pin the attacker to the ground- while knocking him out. 

Yet, wrestling isn’t that good alone because it needs another fighting style to complete it. For instance, mixing it with Boxing- will make you a solid, capable fighter. 

If you’re interested in learning to fight appropriately, I encourage learning wrestling. Its techniques are valuable for self-defense. As a result, its value is up there. 

Although most people don’t respect wrestling as much, it’s incredibly beneficial for MMA. If you want to become a solid fighter- investing time in learning to wrestle; is wise. 

The following video explains further why wrestling is suitable in MMA. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Wrestling is suitable for MMA because it utilizes various grappling techniques. As a result, you’ll become capable of mastering your opponents using said techniques. For instance, if you pin your opponent to the ground, the advantage is yours. 

Currently, Khabib Nurmagomedov is an elite fighter. He dominates his competition because he uses wrestling to his advantage. Additionally, he has solid fundamentals in Boxing. As a result, he’s an all-rounded fighter. 

#1 – Jiu-Jitsu

Although you won’t learn striking and kicking, Jiu-Jitsu teaches a primary technique- grappling. Knowing to maneuver your opponent on the ground- is valuable in many situations. To be clear, I’ll be discussing the Brazilian style rather than Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. 

Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that utilizes grappling and submission techniques to beat opponents. It’s highly relevant for self-defense- because if you reach such a position, you’ll win the scenario. Lastly, it’s suitable for MMA because it teaches you proper movements to win fights.

I ranked it #1 because if you master Jiu-Jitsu- you’re a solid fighter. Eventually, it won’t be enough on its own. However, if you mix it with another martial art, such as Muay-Thai, you’ll be an all-rounded fighter.

Today, there are two primary types of Jiu-Jitsu- Brazilian and Gracie. To study self-defense, doing Gracie- is more suitable. However, if you want to learn fundamental JJ techniques, the Brazilian one is better

To understand why Jiu-Jitsu is as valuable, I encourage watching the following video. 

“Our results indicate that doing an additional martial arts training once a week may lead to better performance under anxiety…” (Source)

They conducted the study on Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts. From that, we understand that learning is valuable for such purposes. 

Why it’s suitable for MMA?

Jiu-Jitsu is suitable for MMA because it teaches various grappling techniques appropriate for winning fights quickly. As a result, submitting your competition will happen more smoothly. For instance, many MMA fighters use JJ to dominate their competition. 

If you desire to be a solid fighter, mixing Jiu-Jitsu with another fighting style is beneficial. If you know solely grappling techniques- you won’t be as rounded as you can be. Thus you must learn striking, kicking, and other fighting movements. 

What makes a martial art suitable for MMA?

The best martial arts for MMA teach a solid fighting foundation. Consequently, you’ll be a solid fighter if you know it. For instance, Muay-Thai is suitable because it teaches many beneficial techniques. 

Yet, some are solid for MMA because they’re all rounded. For instance, Jeet Kune Do- teaches many techniques. For example, you’ll learn grappling, striking, kicking, submissions, and even firearms. Thus you’ll be capable of overcoming any dangerous situation, hence dynamic. 

What’s the best combination of martial arts for MMA?

To become an elite fighter, you must learn at least two martial arts. You would have to choose a primary martial art. Now, both fighting styles should complete each other. That’s the only way you can become an elite MMA fighter. 

The best martial arts combination for MMA is Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing because they complete each other. You’ll know to maneuver your opponent on the ground while throwing powerful punches. Furthermore, you would receive hits without moving an inch. 


Boxing teaches you the basics of fighting. You’ll learn to throw powerful punches and receive hits- without any issues. Consequently, your offense and defense will dramatically increase when you do Boxing.

However, there’s a factor that’s missing. What happens if you end up on the ground? Well, you become a white belt. Thus you must learn another fighting style to complete your skillset. 

Jiu-Jitsu completes Boxing since it teaches overcoming opponents in close quarters. As a result, you’ll become a solid fighter if you know both. For instance, you’ll throw punches while maneuvering your opponent on the ground. 

Which fighting styles are not allowed in the UFC?

If you want to become an elite UFC fighter, you need to know which fighting styles are illegal to use. Additionally, some movements are unlawful to use. Thus you must know that to ensure you’re in the clear. 

The UFC doesn’t ban any particular martial art because they accept all types of fighters. However, using various techniques, such as some kicks- is illegal. Thus if you use them, you’ll break the rules. For example, groin kicks are unlawful to use in the UFC.

Additionally, eye-gouging and hair-pulling are illegal to use in the UFC. Because they’re unfair moves, using them will give you an immediate advantage. Because of that, they’re valuable for self-defense. Yet, you can’t use them in MMA. 


To summarize, many martial arts are suitable for MMA. Jiu-Jitsu is the best because it teaches the most valuable skill- grappling. If you’re familiar with it, you’ll overcome- your opponents with ease. Consequently, you’ll be a solid fighter. 

Yet, to be an elite MMA fighter, combining two martial arts- is ideal. Today, all UFC fighters have a broad skillset. As a result, the best ones dominate their competition using various movements. 

I wrote an article on the best martial art combinations for MMA. This piece closely correlates with this one. Thus I encourage reading it after you finish with this one. 


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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