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UFC vs One: What Is The Better Promotion?

The sport of MMA has seen a meteoric rise over the past two decades. At the forefront of the explosion is the world’s leading MMA promotion, the UFC. However, one promotion that has seemingly gained a lot of popularity worldwide is ONE. The promotion was founded in 2011 in Singapore and has gained a lot of recognition.

On the flip side, UFC started nearly three decades ago when the sport of MMA was frowned upon. Over the years, the UFC has managed to change the mindset surrounding the sport and has played a massive role in making it one of the biggest and most popular sports in the world. Moreover, UFC has produced some of the biggest combat sports stars that the world has ever seen.

For those unaware, there is a massive difference between ONE and UFC. To distinguish itself, the Asian promotion stacks its fight nights with disciplines such as MMA, Muay-Thai, Kickboxing, and Submission Grappling, unlike the UFC which is only MMA. A typical ONE fight night is a blend of diverse fighting styles, offering audiences the spectacle of Thai boxers showcasing their skills, followed by intense MMA bouts, and concluding with submission grappling matches.

Unlike the UFC events that are held on Saturdays, ONE has its events mostly on Fridays. Moreover, ONE hosts ‘Friday Fights’ every Friday at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. This is ONE’s counterpart to ‘Dana White’s Contender Series,’ ‘Friday Fights’ serves as a platform to scout and recruit promising young talent to enrich their professional roster. This also motivates the young generation to take up the sport of MMA.

There is also another difference between the two. While the UFC uses nine weight divisions as opposed to ONE’s ten. ONE has women’s Atomweight to account for female fighters who are too small for Strawweight. Moreover, ONE’s weight divisions are also heavier than that of the UFC’s weight divisions.

With that said, let’s take a further look at the differences between the two leading MMA promotions in the world, ONE Championship and UFC.

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ONE vs UFC: Which promotion is more popular across the world?

It goes without saying that the UFC is more popular globally when compared to ONE. Considering the fact that the UFC has been in business for three decades as opposed to ONE’s just over a decade, this is not a surprising fact.

Moreover, UFC has done a great job of capturing the global market. The same has not been the case with ONE. ONE is prominently known in the Asian market but it has failed to capture the Western market. However, the Asian promotion is actively trying to enter the Western side.

ONE marked its entry into the American scene in 2023 with its promising and lucrative partnership with Amazon Prime. This has helped ONE Championship to expand its audience in the western regions of the world and potentially compete with the UFC on a higher level.

That said, it’s safe to say that ONE Championship is trying its level best to expand its market and it remains to be seen if they can challenge the UFC in terms of popularity in the years to come or not.

Are there any differences in rules between UFC and ONE?

No, there are no differences between ONE and UFC in terms of MMA. Both organisations follow the same rule-set. The two follow the Global Martial Arts rule-set, which is described as blending a combination of best practices from Asian and Non-Asian rules. That said, considering that ONE hosts a number of combat sports in its events, let’s take a look at the rules of those.

Kickboxing

ONE championship uses K-1 rules in their kickboxing bouts. Fights are 3×3 minute rounds, with title fights being five rounds. Bouts are scored using a ten-point must system. Fighters weighing at or below 65.5kg wear 8-oz gloves, whereas fighters above wear a 10-oz boxing gloves.

Muay Thai

ONE Superseries Muay are 3×3 minute rounds, with 5 rounds for title fights. Fights are scored using a 10-point must system. Elbow strikes, clinch fighting, sweeps and throws are all allowed during fights. Fighters use open-fingered 4-oz gloves as opposed to boxing gloves usually.

Grappling

Using the ONE Grappling rule-set, grapplers can either win fights by submission or decision, which is scored over the course of one 10-minute round. Winners are determined by the “number of real submission attempts” made during the bout. A yellow card can also be issued for stalling.

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ONE vs UFC: Who has the better fighters?

This has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. While the UFC certainly has the most famous MMA fighters on the planet, fans often wonder which promotion has the better roster in terms of fighting abilities.

If we compare MMA to MMA, the UFC seems to have the better fighters. However, considering the fact that ONE has fighters from different verticals of combat sports, the overall roster seems to be better at ONE.

Moreover, ONE became the talking point recently after allowing Jake Peacock to compete in their organisation. “The One” is far from your average Muay Thai fighter. Incredibly, the English-born Canadian resident has reached the global stage of the ONE Championship despite missing his right forearm and he’s never allowed those circumstances to deter him from realising his dream.

Jake Peacock made his promotional debut this past week with a unanimous decision victory over Kohei Shinjo.

Have UFC and ONE traded fighters?

The sport of MMA saw a first-of-a-kind trade back in 2018. The UFC and ONE championship finalised a trade between Ben Askren and Demetrious Johnson. In a deal that shocked everyone, Johnson was traded to the ONE championship while Askren made his move to the UFC.

Demetrious Johnson was the UFC’s first flyweight champion. He defended his belt 11 consecutive times and broke Anderson Silva’s record. That streak ended in his fight in August 2018, when Henry Cejudo won a close split decision.

On the flip side, Ben Askren was a four-time All-American wrestler at Missouri, claiming two national titles. He also competed in the 2008 Olympics. After college, he began training in MMA and eventually signed with Bellator. He became the promotion’s welterweight champion in 2010 and defended the title four times before leaving to join ONE. He later won the promotion’s belt in 2014.

While Ben Askren left ONE because he felt that he had achieved everything that there was to achieve in the promotion, Demetrious Johnson left the UFC because he felt that he was underpaid and he constantly had issues with the people in charge.

Since leaving UFC, Johnson has gone 5-1 under the ONE promotion and also holds the flyweight championship of the promotion. On the flip side, Ben Askren had a rather okayish career at UFC. He fought just three times in the promotion and lost two of his fights. Moreover, he was also at the wrong end of the quickest knockout in the history of UFC at the hands of Jorge Masvidal.

That said, it is safe to say that the trade benefitted Demetrious Johnson and not Ben Askren so much as he was undefeated before coming into the UFC. Since then, no trade of such sort has happened between the two promotions and it remains to be seen if any can happen in the future.

Conclusion

With all that said about the two promotions, it is safe to say that both UFC and ONE are leaving their impact on the world of MMA. Moreover, fans would love to see UFC vs ONE events in the future. While this seems far-fetched, it will certainly be a huge event. For now, fans should enjoy both promotions as they offer the world’s best fighters competing at the biggest stages and even further spread the sport of MMA across the world.

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