Ranking the Top Martial Arts to Learn for MMA

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  When the UFC was in its early stages, the main goal of the MMA organization was to figure out which style was the best.

The matchups of martial artists such as boxers and wrestlers and kickboxers made for a lot of intrigue back then as most guys weren’t very well-rounded, so we got to see which styles worked the best.

Of course, everyone seemed to be on a different playing field compared to Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Royce Gracie, who used his BJJ to dominate even guys that seemed much bigger and stronger than him. People declared BJJ as the best martial art for MMA and the UFC then began trying to learn it to round out their wrestling and/or boxing skills among other martial arts skills.

But which martial arts are the best to use in today’s MMA and among UFC fighters?

Best Martial Arts to Use for MMA and the UFC

Here are the martial arts to focus on if you want to use them in MMA…

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

This mostly ground-based fighting style is a must-have for any MMA fighter. If an MMA fighter doesn’t have BJJ his odds of getting submitted are high, period, even if he happens to be a great wrestler.

That makes jiu-jitsu the most important and best martial art for MMA and the UFC. The only caveat with BJJ is that it isn’t as effective by its lonesome as it used to be because more people have it and the rules seem designed to favor strikers.


From successful older MMA fighters like Matt Hughes and Randy Couture to the newer generation like Georges St. Pierre and Cain Velazquez, wrestling is one of the best martial arts for MMA. The style must be modified to include jiu-jitsu and to allow fighters to be more comfortable off their backs but wrestling is the best way to control and opponent and the pace of the fight.

Muay Thai

Using a nice mix of leg kicks, elbows, and knees both regular and in the clinch, muay thai is one of pre-eminent striking martial arts in the world and is prevalent in MMA. It’s probably the top style overall for striking and is very versatile.


American-style boxing is one of the best martial arts for MMA and the UFC because it is a powerful style that also offers good defenses against other punches. The weakness is takedown defense kick defense but the style can be modified easily for MMA.

Any boxer who trains for years will develop great hand-eye coordination and quickness for use in MMA.


This Russian martial art is similar in a lot of ways to other more well-known grappling styles and is used by pound-for-pound legend Fedor Emelianenko. It might be hard to find an American school for this martial art but it is well worth anyone’s time.


This style of throws and grappling in the clinch is a good secondary skill to have and if you get good enough at it like Karo Parisyan for example you can use it as your main style.

But judo fighters have had a hard time finishing opponents in the past and that’s why it’s a good idea to supplement this style with top-notch striking and BJJ training.


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