Boxing VS MMA – Crucial Differences | Beginners’ Guide


Today, the two primary martial arts are Boxing and MMA. Let’s examine which one is more dominant and their differences. If you’re wondering which one you should learn, I’ve been there- and I know the solution. Next, we’ll discuss choosing which one is most suitable for your needs. 

MMA is more dynamic than Boxing because it uses various techniques that Boxing doesn’t include. Additionally, Boxing teaches simple movements- in the form of punches and footwork. Thus the primary difference is the dynamic nature of each one. 

Yet, both fighting styles are suitable for self-defense. Because of that, you may find it challenging to pick one to begin learning. For instance, I chose to study Boxing. However, I’ve had an inner battle with myself until I started learning it. 

Differences between Boxing and MMA

MMA or mixed martial arts is- as its name suggests- mixed. Consequently, it teaches its trainees a variety of techniques. Therefore, the skillset of elite MMA fighters is broader than those of Boxers.

The primary difference is that Boxing is an uncomplicated martial art that uses punches exclusively. Yet, MMA is mixed and contains many techniques- each with a purpose. For instance, grappling, kicking, and submissions. Thus MMA is more dynamic than Boxing. 

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Bruce Lee

MMA is more dynamic

Today, there are many dangerous situations one can encounter. Because of that, being an adaptive fighter- is crucial. For instance, you must react differently to a knife attacker- rather than to a street fight. As a result, knowing to adapt appropriately- is vital for self-defense. 

MMA is more dynamic than Boxing because it incorporates a variety of techniques. On the other hand, Boxing teaches many forms of punching. For instance, jabs, straight punches, and hooks. Consequently, if you want to learn more than punching, MMA is most suitable. 

Martial arts
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Eventually, knowing more movements is better than just punches. Because of that, you’re more likely to defend yourself successfully using MMA- rather than Boxing. Because of that, consider your pursuits before choosing one to study. 

If you’re looking to learn plenty of techniques, I encourage you to learn MMA. It’s a solid martial art that’s suitable for self-defense and fitness. You’ll learn many movements- fitting for fighting. For instance, you’ll learn to grapple, submit, kick, and strike

The moves taught

While in Boxing, you’ll learn punching techniques- in MMA- you’ll study many techniques- such as grappling and kicking. As a result, the moves taught in each one- are different. Because of that, consider that when choosing which one to learn. 

For instance, if you desire to study many moves- MMA may be suitable. However, if you wish to learn an uncomplicated martial art- that will make you a solid fighter- Boxing is the primary choice. 

The following video demonstrates what you’ll learn in MMA training. If you desire to reach- such an elite fighting level- mixed martial arts is your primary choice.

The scoring system

If you want to compete in one of these martial arts, you need to know how it works. Thus you’ll make a wiser choice- choosing one to learn. For instance, if you fancy the way Boxing competition works, you may choose to focus on it. 

Boxing and MMA are similar in that sense. Both scoring systems are done individually- from 9 to 10. Thus the winner of the round gets a 10- and the other gets a 9. If the match is even- both get a 10. However, if a fighter cannot proceed, he immediately loses. 

Well, I said there’s a difference. There is. In Boxing- understanding which fighter had the advantage- is somewhat unchallenging. However, in MMA, you may find trouble understanding which fighter won which round. Thus it’s more challenging to decide- if there wasn’t a knockout. 

Unless you want to become a professional fighter, that shouldn’t impact your decision. Instead, concentrate on which moves you desire to learn- while making a wiser choice. Thus you’ll study a martial art- you want to study, which means staying consistent- becomes effortless. 

Should you learn Boxing or MMA?

Choosing a martial art that’s suitable for you- is detrimental. If you won’t, you’ll find yourself practicing a fighting style that doesn’t grant you any enjoyment. Thus it’ll be challenging to stay consistent with training

MMA and Boxing are suitable martial arts for self-defense, fitness, and competitions. If you wish to study an uncomplicated fighting style, consider Boxing. Yet, if you’re looking for a dynamic martial art to learn many skills- MMA is for you. 

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

I chose to study Boxing because it’s uncomplicated. As a result, I learned the basics of it shortly after beginning. I’m aware- that if I were to choose MMA, it would’ve taken much longer. Hence I chose the fighting style most suitable for me. 

Although that’s the case, I might have enjoyed the variety of movements in MMA more than in Boxing. You’ll learn the basics of it in a short period. Thus you may find it tedious after a while. 

On the other hand, I may have been overwhelmed by MMA- if I were to pick it up. Thus- staying consistent with it- would’ve been more challenging. 

Progressing outside of your martial arts gym- is crucial. As a result, I wrote an article on the complete guide to training martial arts at home. If you’re interested in doing so- reading it is mandatory. 

Lastly, both are suitable for self-defense. As a result, you’ll become a solid fighter no matter which one you choose. If that’s your goal, all you need to do is understand which one resonates with you the most. 

Which is better for self-defense- Boxing or MMA?

Self-defense is all about adapting to the current situation. If you won’t, you’ll find it challenging to react to some scenarios. For instance, if you haven’t trained for a knife attack, you’ll find it challenging to overcome this situation. Because of that, learning a variety of skills- is crucial for self-defense. 

MMA is better than Boxing for self-defense because it’s more dynamic. Thus you’ll become capable of adapting to any situation you encounter. For instance, you’ll understand how to overcome a knife and a pistol attack. Hence you’ll be an adaptive fighter. 

Yet, Boxing is an incredible martial art for self-defense because you’ll be a solid fighter. Knocking out the hostile with a single punch- becomes possible. In addition, you won’t be afraid of getting hit- since you have welcomed plenty of hits by now. Yet, you won’t know basic grappling and kicking techniques. They’re essential to know for self-defense. 

A significant benefit of martial arts is its increase in cardiovascular health. It’s a fantastic cardio workout and is effective in preventing various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and depression. MMA is one of the best workouts when it comes to fat or weight loss.


Can an MMA fighter beat a Boxer?

Learning martial arts is the essence of fighting. To become a solid fighter, one must train in such fields. Thus learning to box- can be a detrimental step- toward reaching such a goal.

An MMA fighter is more plausible to beat a boxer because he knows more techniques and movements than him. For instance, the boxer doesn’t understand any grappling or kicking motions. On the other hand, MMA fighters know to use these movements appropriately. 

Overall, both are solid fighters. However, if the boxer ends up on the ground, he’s useless. An elite boxer is a white belt when he’s on the floor. Thus if the MMA fighter successfully uses a grappling technique, he’ll have the advantage. 

Usually, without any rules, the MMA fighter will win. However, if they were to compete in a Boxing match, the boxer would obviously win. Such detail is crucial to mention because people don’t understand that. 

The following video demonstrates further the differences between the two sports. I recommend watching although it’s rather long. (12 minutes)

Who hits harder – a Boxer or an MMA fighter

Hitting harder is a broad term. If you’re measuring that by sheer physical force and technique, the fighter that practices it the most- will win. However, that’s not the only aspect of fighting. In fact, it’s one of the least vital ones.

A boxer hits harder than an MMA fighter because he practices it more. As a result, the MMA fighter won’t punch as powerfully as the boxer. However, the MMA fighters know more fighting techniques than the other. Consequently, he’ll win in a street fight.

You must think if that’s your goal. If you want to hit with as much physical force, that’s what you should train to do. Thus every fighting session should be hitting a punching bag. However, if you want to become a solid fighter, I encourage you to diversify your workout plan. As a result, you would gain more benefits than if you were to try to punch the hardest. 


At last, learning a martial art will change your life. It definitely changed mine. It provides both mental and physical benefits. Because of that, participating in one- is incredibly wise. For instance, you’ll experience your self-esteem increasing the more effort you invest into training. 

Boxing and MMA are the most widespread martial arts one can learn. Because of that, studying one of them- will make you a solid fighter. Although they’re similar, they are different. 

MMA is more dynamic. In training, you’ll learn a variety of techniques. Thus if you want to become a more adaptive fighter, I encourage learning it. However, if you wish to study an uncomplicated fighting style, Boxing may be more suitable. 


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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