Let’s be honest, we’ve all have done it, when we’re sitting at home watching the Saturday night boxing fight night or the UFC, we all become an armchair expert. We say exactly what the fighters should have done or how we could have done better ourselves; but how hard actually is it to be a professional fighter?
If you have ever stepped into a martial arts club or boxing gym you would know exactly how hard it really is.
To be a fighter of any level requires grit, determination, and most importantly, dedication. It is a dangerous sport and if you’re solely in it for fame or fortune then the chances are you won’t last long.
Training for Fighting
Before you can even consider being a fighter, you need to be training regularly and consistently. It is also essential to be doing sparring to get prepared to be a fighter. If you are thinking of doing your first amateur fight, it is recommended to be training a minimum of 3 times a week with 2 of the sessions involving quality sparring.
How Can I Become an Amateur Fighter?
We would all love the thought of jumping straight into the UFC octagon or fighting on Glory kickboxing but first, you need to start from the grassroots of fighting. We all see the superstar fighters fighting in huge lit-up arenas making millions of pounds but they too started off fighting in sports halls.
To become an amateur fighter in kickboxing you would need to be training regularly for at least a few years before taking the step to complete. You would want to be sure and confident enough you would perform well in front of a crowd otherwise your fight career may be over quicker than it started. Sparring regularly at your club should give you a good indication if fighting is for you.
How Can I Become a Professional Fighter?
The main difference between an amateur fighter and a professional is a professional gets paid for their fights. So, turning pro sounds like a dream come true to get paid for what you love doing but it does come at extra costs.
You can read our full article about ‘turning pro’ here.
A professional fighter will have to fight for more and longer rounds which will involve more training to get to the required fitness level to last the rounds.
Also, a professional fighter should be fighting on bigger shows and may even need to travel internationally.
Can I Get a Sponsorship?
Sometimes, professional fighters may not earn as much as they would like so they look out for sponsorship deals. A sponsorship deal maybe to endorse fight equipment or supplements.
You do get journeymen who make themselves available to fight at any time and for only a few hundred pounds. Peter Buckley lost 256 of 300 fights but ‘the King of the Journeymen’ occupies a spot in history:
“I could try my heart out and still get beaten. Or make it as easy as I want and still get beaten. For the same money,” said Peter Buckley who won 32 times in 300 fights over a career which was used as a measuring stick for emerging talents.
Many fighters with the huge spike in popularity in boxing in recent years, more fighters want to become professional boxers and Kickboxers are transitioning over to boxing also.
To be a professional fighter, many people recommend you should have had at least 20 amateur fighters before progressing into the professional ranks.
Becoming a Pro MMA Fighter?
Nowadays, more and more clubs teach MMA at a beginner’s level but generally, you would need to focus on just one style as MMA focuses on multiple martial arts.
So, to be an MMA fighter is a little bit different from other combat sports as it involves learning multiple martial arts. This is why we wouldn’t recommend your first fight to be an MMA fight, you want to establish yourself as a fighter and work through the ranks in a specific discipline before commencing to MMA. So when you become an MMA fighter you will be used to everything of the lifestyle of being a fighter like the intense sparring, cutting weight, not drinking alcohol, and just getting mentally focused.
It is not necessary that a top MMA fighter is better than a top Thai boxer as they will spend the same time training and in preparation for a fight, it’s just an MMA fighter will spread their training across different styles.
Signing to the UFC
The UFC is the world’s biggest fight promotion for MMA so it is the pinnacle for any MMA fighter to achieve.
To sign to the UFC, there are a few steps you have to complete:
- Fighting in the right promotions. This is essential for any fighter wanting to sign to the UFC. Although the UFC signs fighters from a wide variety of promotions the most likely areas to get seen are RFA, Legacy, and Cage Warriors.
- Having good management. Managers really help get a fighter to be seen in the right places at the right time. Although some fighters get signed to the UFC without the help of managers, it can make the process much easier.
- Training in the right places. Again, much like having the right management, training in the right place can help you get seen as a fighter by the UFC. Some of the best places to get seen by the UFC are Team Alpha Male, Jackson-Winkeljohn, American Top Team, Serra-Longo, Tristar, Alliance, or the Lab.
- Be ready as an injury replacement. Being available as a replacement really can help your chances of getting noticed by the IUFC. Late notice fights are your friend and can help you be seen at the right time by the right people.
- Train! This is a given. Staying active and training regularly will help hone your skills and make you get signed by the UFC much more possible.
- Finishing fights. Having a high finish rate really does help you get signed by the UFC, This is because a fighter with more impressive finishes is a more impressive fighter overall.
- Build up a following. Again, this is all about getting seen. By building a following, you can get seen by the UFC. A fighter who used this to his advantage is Conor McGregor. regional promotions can be great for fighters wanting to get signed by the UFC and will help you build up a fan base too. Win-win.