Which Martial Arts Are the Best Base For MMA?

Martial arts

MMA continues to grow as a sport and over time we’ve seen fighters with all kinds of backgrounds. Some venture into MMA after having trained in multiple types of martial arts from a young age while there’s also high-level athletes that come over to the sport and start wrecking house at once.

It’s undeniable that some bases for MMA are better than others but all are lethal in their own way and it can be hard to gauge what’s been the best base most consistently, as it seems to swing over time. That said, here’s an in-depth look at three of the best bases for MMA.


Boxing is one of the best bases for you to build your striking before entering the MMA world. For years, dominant collegiate wrestlers from around the world have started practicing mixed martial arts and enjoyed great success because of their grappling skills but in recent times, more and more boxers are entering the cage and using their hands to significant effect.

In combat sports, those who want to learn how to do something effectively have to look at the people who are doing it the best and right now, many of the top MMA experts use their boxing skills to win championships all over the world.

Take for example Conor McGregor, as his lethal left hand has helped him win three championships in the UFC and become the first fighter in MMA history to hold multiple UFC championships at the same time or Martin Nguyen, who has won three titles in two divisions in ONE Championship. He captured the featherweight and lightweight championships by connecting a well-timed right-hand counterpunch in his victories against Marat Gafurov and Eduard Folayang. McGregor and Nguyen have a well-rounded game but it can’t be denied that their devastating punching ability is the main reason for their success.


Wrestling is among the best bases to master if you want to transition to mixed martial arts. Wrestlers learn to control and dominate their opponent on the ground and they can keep a fight where they want it to be, whether it’s standing up, in a clinch, or on the ground, which is perfect for MMA because it is a sport in which fights are judged based on aggression, effective striking and cage control.

Transitioning to MMA is a lot easier if you have wrestling experience because wrestlers have to make weight for competitions just like mixed martial artists and wrestling can teach you toughness in a way few other martial arts can, as you learn to push your body to the limit, even when exhausted and it also teaches you how to impose your will on your opponents.

There are many benefits to having wrestling as an MMA base so it’s not surprising to see many wrestlers dominate the sport. Cain Velazquez, Daniel Cormier, Ben Askren, and Jon Jones come to mind as examples of wrestlers who made a proper transition to mixed martial arts. Jones will face Alexander Gustafsson for the undisputed 205-pound title at UFC 232 on December 29 and Bovada has already set betting odds for this huge fight, it is safe to say the Bovada is one the most highly reputed sportsbook according to is review.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has been the most effective grappling art in MMA and another solid base. BJJ has a lot of similarities with other grappling styles but its finishing ability has no equal. Wrestling is about controlling your opponent but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is about finishing fights.

Those who are well-versed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are always in a fight, even when they’re getting dominated. They only need a single opening to secure a joint lock or choke and force their opponent to submit. BJJ has literally countless submissions, sweeps, and reversals.

BJJ practitioners separate themselves from other grapplers because of their ability to finish fights on their backs. This is evident with the guard, a classic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu position that is considered the greatest contribution BJJ has given to the grappling arts. People might think that the person on the bottom is losing a fight but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu actually has more submissions and attacks from the bottom position than the top.

Being able to finish a fight from traditionally disadvantageous positions is what makes BJJ the king of grappling martial arts. Having Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills helps open up other aspects of your martial arts repertoire because you are never worried about being put on your back. Anderson Silva is one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time and he has a solid BJJ base.


If you want to learn mixed martial arts, wrestling seems to be the best starting point. All bases require hard training, but wrestlers are built to be explosive, endure constant pressure and be extremely fit. Combine all that and you can be a tank of a fighter who can dictate where the fight goes.

Along with strength, most wrestlers have heavy hands, so it’s easier to teach a wrestler to box than to teach a boxer to wrestle and a wrestler with boxing training can become a heavy-handed striking machine.