If you’re a good Muay Thai fighter, does this mean your techniques are going to work in Mix Martial Arts (MMA)? I can tell you from personal experience that striking in MMA is very different then striking in Muay Thai. It’s almost like night and day.
There’s reasons for this and in this blog I’ll share them with you. Now, I want to point out that this doesn’t mean your Muay Thai skills won’t work in MMA. It’s just that you’ll have to pick and choose wisely which ones you plan to use. That and the tactics have to adjust to avoid being taken down by ground fighters.
Takedowns Change The Game
Many of the best techniques taught in pure Muay Thai Kickboxing classes won’t work well in MMA. Many techniques will get you in trouble with a fighter who uses takedowns well.
A good example of this can be seen by the use of the “Clinch”. In Muay Thai, a fighter will use the clinch position pretty much every chance he/she gets. But In MMA, that same type of clinch should be avoided due to the high chance of getting taken down by the wrestlers.
The really good fighters can adjust their striking style to fit the need of the situation. Good strikers can control the range better then most and that in turn allows them to be effective with their Thai Boxing techniques.
What Techniques Work Best?
Lots of jabbing and low kicks always work well in MMA. High and mid level kicks do work but you need to be careful when using them. You’ve got a much higher chance of getting taken down off of kicks.
If you like to use knees then you need to master the over/under position. This is much more common position used in MMA and where most attacks using the knees will take place.
Punches like hooks, uppercuts and crosses work fine, they just need to be timed well. If you get crazy and just start swigging away you’ll get taken down.
What Style of Striking brings the most success in MMA?
No matter what, Muay Thai Kickboxing is still the number one striking style used in MMA. That’s a fact. The key is more in how to use Thai Boxing to strike.
I don’t know if I’d say there’s a best way to strike. Everyone is different and at the end of the day it’s all about what works for you. Here at Ivey League MMA, the style of striking we use tends to be more suited for MMA and street self defense. Lots of Boxing, low kicks and control from the over/under are all taught on our curriculum.
If you control the range well and avoid takedowns that’s a good place to be. But just doing that and stopping takedowns is a only a part of the puzzle.
Small gloves…or what I like to call “Knockout” gloves. Be careful.
MMA gloves are tiny. These gloves have very little padding. Trust me, you don’t want these gloves hitting you. They hurt a lot and do a lot of damage if the other fighter knows a thing or two.
Because of the lack of padding, KO’s are very common in MMA events like the UFC. This too will force a change in the style of Muay Thai you use.
More head movement will be needed. That and you’ll have to cover tighter in order to block head punches from making it past your hands and forearms.
Again, taking a hard blow to the chin with UFC gloves on is bad news. Let’s avoid that huh.
Videos to study.
Below I included some great videos that are worth checking out. They feature some of the best strikers in MMA. Study the movements and techniques they use. You’ll see what I mean when I say the striking styles are very different.
As always feedback is always welcome. Shoot me an email or leave a comment below!