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How to Become an MMA Fighter

how to become an mma fighter

How to Become a Professional MMA Fighter: A Complete Guide

Few aspirations are as difficult and gratifying as being a professional fighter in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the world of combat sports. Numerous young enthusiasts have been drawn to this desire, but the road to professional MMA status is both difficult and tempting. This thorough book will cover all the information you require about MMA training and how to start on your path to become a professional MMA fighter. Continue reading if you’re serious about completing this task.


It’s important to realise some sobering truths before delving into the nuances of seeking a career in professional MMA. Success in this field is elusive, and only a small percentage of fighters achieve financial stability solely through fighting. Many pro fighters hold second jobs to make ends meet. So, while the path is arduous, it’s important to remember that even if you don’t reach the pinnacle, you can continue to enjoy MMA as a passion and a way of life.

Step 1: Finding the Right MMA Gym
The Importance of a Legitimate Gym Your journey begins with finding the right MMA gym. Not just any gym, but a legitimate one that can provide you with the essential training and guidance. Look for these qualities in an MMA gym:

Step 2: Proper Facilities and Equipment
MMA training requires access to specialized equipment and facilities. A legitimate gym will be equipped with essential gear such as punching bags, grappling mats, and cages or rings for sparring and practice. Having access to the right equipment is crucial for your development as a fighter, as it allows you to train effectively and safely.

  • 1. Solid Jiu-Jitsu Program: A legitimate BJJ black belt running a solid BJJ program is essential for mastering the ground game, a crucial aspect of MMA.
  • 2. Experienced Striking Coach: Seek out a gym with an experienced striking coach proficient in Muay Thai, kickboxing, or Karate.
  • 3. Good Wrestling Program: Wrestling skills are often the foundation of successful MMA fighters. Find a gym with a strong wrestling program or plan to learn this vital grappling art.

Relocating for Your Dream
In some cases, you may need to relocate to find the right MMA gym. Many aspiring fighters have packed up and moved across cities or even countries to chase their dream. Being willing to make such sacrifices demonstrates your commitment to becoming a professional fighter.

Step 2: Timelines and Attributes
There’s no set timeline for achieving professional status in MMA. The journey’s duration varies from person to person. However, certain attributes can expedite your progress:

1. Base in Another Martial Art:
Having experience in another martial art like wrestling can significantly accelerate your progress in MMA.

2. Athletic Ability:
Some individuals are naturally gifted athletes, giving them an edge in their development as fighters.

3. Talent:
Talent is an innate quality that some possess, allowing them to excel at a faster pace.

Famous fighters like Jon Jones possess all three of these attributes, contributing to their success.

Step 3: Starting from Ground Zero
If you’re starting with no previous martial arts experience, expect to spend a few years training before your first competition. Patience is key in this phase. Every fighter develops their unique style based on their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

For instance, Khabib Nurmagomedov relies on wrestling, while Israel Adesanya, known as “Izzy,” adopts a patient fighting style.

Step 4: MMA Gear
Choosing the right training gear is crucial in MMA, as it’s a sport that encompasses striking and grappling disciplines. To make an informed decision, refer to our detailed guide on essential MMA gear for beginners. Once you’ve decided on your gear, visit our store, Engage MMA, to explore a wide range of top-quality MMA fight gear used by elite fighters like Israel Adesanya and Alex Volkanovski.

Step 5: The Training Regimen
To excel as a pro MMA fighter, you must become a gym enthusiast. Dedicate yourself to daily training, focusing on skill development and foundational techniques. Attend grappling and striking classes while incorporating additional strength training through open mats sessions. Make MMA training your passion and the focal point of your daily routine.

Step 6: Weekly Class Goals
To maintain a well-rounded skill set, aim to attend the following classes weekly:

3-5 Grappling Classes: Enhance your ground game skills with these classes.

3-5 Striking Classes: Develop your striking techniques and prowess through these sessions.

Balancing your training between grappling and striking classes is vital, even if you eventually favor one discipline over the other.

Step 7: Conditioning-
Conditioning sets professional fighters apart from hobbyists. Fighters engage in various forms of conditioning to optimize their performance. Some essential conditioning methods include:

How to Become an mma fighter

Running Classes
Weightlifting/Weight Classes
HIIT Training Classes
Crossfit Classes
Interval Training Classes
Creating a personalized conditioning program that suits your specific needs is essential. Research and tailor your regimen to ensure it benefits you the most.

Step 8: Diet
Nutrition is a cornerstone of success in MMA. The food you consume directly impacts your training and performance. Opt for nutrient-rich foods to fuel your body positively. Avoid processed foods that can hinder your progress. A customized diet plan is necessary, considering individual preferences and requirements. For detailed insights on the best diet for fighters, refer to our article here. We also offer guidance for vegetarian and vegan MMA athletes here.

Step 9: Amateur MMA
Before reaching professional status, you must gain experience in amateur MMA. Amateur fights serve as a crucial stepping stone for aspiring pro fighters, allowing them to accumulate experience without the pressure of wins and losses impacting their professional careers. Competing in front of live audiences under modified rules prepares you for the professional stage.

Step 10: Number of Amateur MMA Fights
Participate in as many amateur fights as possible to gain valuable experience. Just as amateur boxers and kickboxers accumulate numerous fights, aim to compete in over 10 amateur matches and secure a few belts before transitioning to the professional level.

Step 11: Hard Sparring Events (Smokers)
Some MMA coaches require fighters to engage in hard sparring sessions, often referred to as “smokers,” before allowing them to compete in amateur MMA. These unsanctioned fights help assess a fighter’s readiness for actual competition. Embrace these opportunities for valuable experience.

Step 12: Other Types of Competitions
Participating in other combat sports competitions can complement your MMA journey. Jiu-Jitsu competitions, amateur boxing, and kickboxing competitions provide valuable skills and experience that contribute to becoming a well-rounded MMA professional.

In your pursuit of becoming a professional MMA fighter, remember the following key attributes:

Immense dedication is required for this journey. MMA must be a way of life, encompassing diet, sleep, and unwavering commitment. Immense dedication is required for this journey. MMA must be a way of life, encompassing diet, sleep, and unwavering commitment.
Maintain a laser-like focus on your goals, with MMA as your sole priority.

Develop a high fight IQ, as MMA is as much a mental battle as a physical one.

PMA (Positive Mental Attitude):
A positive mindset is vital. Believe in yourself and refuse to let negativity hinder your progress.

Acknowledge the role of luck in your journey. Good timing and fortunate circumstances can play