If you have dreams on becoming a top level MMA fighter, you certainly aren’t alone. MMA is forever rising in popularity and research suggests that the number of people wanting to get into the sport is soaring in the UK.
For instance, a report showed last year that searches for the term “MMA gyms near me” averaged around 5,500 per month in the UK alone. So it’s clear that many of us want to take up MMA, regardless if it’s for fitness reasons, a challenge, or dreams of becoming a pro. But what should you be doing to make sure you improve your MMA skills?
How do you become the best MMA fighter you can be?
Well, MMA standing for Mixed Martial Arts it is important to cover all styles of the sport, from a good ground game to solid striking, not just focusing on what necessary you enjoy the most. And as Ryan McCarthy said in the movie ‘Never Back Down’ “You gotta mix it up.”
Furthermore, the fact MMA is made up of various marital arts, it has endless of moves that it’s essential to be supple and agile to easily transition.Below we will take you through some ‘hacks’ to help you succeed.
Don’t Train Too Hard
This sounds somewhat counterintuitive, but let’s explain what we mean. Too many would-be fighters tend to get overzealous, trying to cram in three, maybe four, training sessions per day, seven days a week. The enthusiasm is obviously good, but it can lead to being burnout. Everyone is different, but it often takes at least a couple of years for most athletes to feel that they are ready for MMA. And, you can’t rush it by ‘over-training’.
Set Realistic – But Tough – Goals
As per the above, setting yourself achievable goals is the way to go. If you overextend yourself, you’ll burn out. If you undershoot, you’ll fail. The whole point of getting into MMA is to challenge yourself, so it’s not going to be easy. But you can set realistic goals that test you. It might take some trial and error, but soon you will find a regime that’s tough but achievable should you have the discipline.
Great fighters study everything. You should study your opponent, yourself, people you’ll never fight and good and bad fighters. Take note of why particular fighters have a great knockout record and is it from the same move their opponents fall victim to. Also, no fighter is perfect, so look for common flaws to try and prevent making the same mistake yourself.
To study the sport as much as possible you can read books about MMA (Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamieson is a recommendation, but there are countless others). Before a big event like UFC, you should study the previews and predictions, and even have a look at betting UFC odds pre-fight. Why did the bookmakers believe one fighter was the betting favourite over another? And, why (as often happens) were the predictions incorrect?
Learning how to breathe is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most important tools for a fighter. Breathing properly can be easier said than done as with nerves and adrenaline it is easy to hold your breathe. Getting it right can lead to better stamina, concentration and reflexes. If you don’t have a coach, then one of the best resources for breathing exercises is YouTube. There are lots of quality videos showing you how to breathe to increase lung capacity for combat sports.
For more information about learning how to breathe you can read our article here.
Don’t Be Too Beholden to Technology
You’ll find all sorts of tech these days that purports to help you train better and smarter. Some of it works – up and to a point. However, as you train, you’ll also start learning about your own body. You won’t need an app to tell you to run another mile or a Fitbit to tell you that your stance is off. Without sounding clichéd – listen to your body before consulting the tech. Although, in saying that, you should always buy the best equipment if you are serious about your goals.
Do Other Sports
There are multiple benefits to doing other sports to help with your combat training. Swimming, for example, is often cited as one of the best rest day activities when you are not in the gym. It can improve strength, help with breathing, and increase suppleness. Moreover, with other sports, you can work on muscles that get overlooked when in MMA training. Another great activity to try is yoga. Even in 2022, some people turn their noses up at the thought of yoga. But ask yourself this question: Have you ever heard a great athlete who practices yoga say it hasn’t helped them?
Always Listen to your Coach
It may sound daft, but the better we become as a fighter we can start to become over confident that we think we know everything and stop taking advice from our coach. As much as you may believe how great you are in your own mind, it is always important to keep listening to your coach in training and fighting. You can never learn enough.
MMA is a fantastic sport as their is no one way to become a great fighter. It is simply a case of what works best for you and be consistent. We hope this article of hacks has helped you and one day we may see you in the octagon.