Is MMA Effective in a Street Fight?


At some point in someone’s life, they may be involved in a street fight or two. Hence, martial arts are becoming a skill set that many pursue, especially Mixed Martial Arts (also known as MMA).

Is MMA Effective in a Street Fight?

MMA is considered to be one of the more effective types of combat sports in a street fight. MMA’s efficiency and effectiveness are due to the versatility and real-life training and competition it is exposed to.

Therefore, in this article, we will be covering several things regarding martial arts and street fighting. These include why MMA is considered an effective martial art in street fights, if boxing is better than MMA, and what martial arts are known to be effective for street fighting.

Why is MMA Effective in a Street Fight? 

MMA is considered as an effective martial art for street fighting due to how versatile and practical the combat system is. Note that MMA is usually focused on competition, where eye gouging and groin strikes are forbidden. However, when competition rules are not the case, MMA can be easily converted into a deadly self-defense tool. 

When it comes to street fighting, anything can happen. You may be:

  • Punched
  • Kicked
  • Taken down to the ground
  • Strikes involving weapons (Knife, Baseball Bat, etc.)

Therefore, a martial art that is versatile is the best type of martial art to use in a street fight.

The idea around MMA is that you are training to be a well-rounded fighter. What constitutes a well-rounded fighter means that you can fight in whichever position you are in. If you are standing up, great, use your boxing or Muay Thai. If you are on the ground, excellent, use your wrestling or Jiujitsu. 

MMA itself will train you in a variety of positions and situations. Whether you are on your back grappling, trying to wrestle for a dominant position, or a straight-out brawl flying fists and all. 

MMA has become the prime testing ground of martial skill as well as fighting techniques. Many practitioners train in MMA and find that they can use the most effective and practical techniques to win fights during competitions or survive in street fights. 

Many MMA coaches will train you to fight efficiently. This means adopting techniques that are without non-sense and only use techniques that are effective. The different styles that make up MMA have been known to be tested in real life, including fighting in competitions and in the streets. 

However, be aware of some martial art forms out there that will sometimes teach techniques that are not necessarily effective in real-life combat situations. In the modern martial arts community, many argue that traditional martial arts will fall in this category. Examples of such martial arts include:

  • Kung Fu
  • Aikido
  • Tai Chi
  • Other “Internal Energy” Based Martial Arts

Another thing to note, the effectiveness of the martial art might not be because of the martial art form itself. Some issues of effectiveness may link to how ineffective the teachers or trainer is on teaching martial arts. So, conclusion, find a good martial art, as well as a great teacher or trainer.

What is Better for a Street Fight: MMA or Boxing? 

Although both can be efficient in a street fight, MMA is considered to be more effective compared to boxing. As mentioned before, the versatility of MMA helps in several aspects of street fighting, such as knocking a person out with a kick, or wrestle the person down to the ground. Here are a few details of the two.

Boxing is considered one of many martial arts that are effective in street fights. You can imagine going toe-to-toe in a bar fight with Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali. Most likely, they’ll win the fight as boxers focus heavily on quick and efficient punches as well as weaving and moving away from an opponent’s striking attempts.

Boxing is also known to be exceptionally useful in a street fight. Additionally, by training in boxing, you will focus on how to knock your opponent out with a single punch. Although boxing competitions have a point scoring system, the primary purpose is to finish the fight as fast as possible. Hence, boxers would only focus on training several types of punches, such as:

  • Uppercuts
  • Hooks
  • Jabs
  • Cross

However, boxing does have its limitations. For example, if you have someone that is a great wrestler and takes you down to the ground, then there is not much you can do as a boxer. 

Despite its limitation, it is still one of the best fighting styles for self-defense. There are only a few other fighting styles out there that can teach you great footwork, fast and powerful punches, and head movement.

While boxing solely focuses on punches, MMA has more variety and options. MMA is usually made up of several different kinds of disciplines. Therefore, MMA athletes and practitioners would occasionally come from other martial art styles, including:

  • Boxing
  • Kickboxing
  • Muay Thai
  • Wrestling
  • Brazilian Jiujitsu
  • Karate
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Judo

Because of the variety of disciplines, MMA is significantly more versatile than boxing. This is because while MMA athletes have the option to fight their opponents while standing up, they also can take them to the ground.

For a boxer, the best chance to win a fight is by standing up. As mentioned in an example before, if a boxer were to fight against an opponent who was a wrestler, judo practitioner, or knows Brazilian Jiujitsu, then if a boxer gets taken down, most likely the boxer will be at a disadvantage and lose the fight.

Additionally, an MMA fighter can even still have the advantage over a boxer in stand-up situations. All MMA athletes will have to learn either kickboxing, which utilizes the hands, the legs, and even elbows and knees for Muay Thai boxing. 

Now, if a boxer faces an MMA athlete with exceptional kickboxing experience, then all the MMA athlete must do is to utilize kicking techniques against the boxer. That is because the MMA fighter has further reach and, for the most part, is more powerful. Boxers on the other hand would most likely have no clue on how to defend against a kick.

What is the Most Effective Martial Art in a Street Fight?

There are a few martial arts out there that are effective. To pick one would be the wrong answer. Many martial arts try to claim that they are somewhat effective in a street fight. However, not all will fall in this category. Two of the most important factors in what makes a martial art effective in a street fight is:

  • Versatility
  • Reflex Training (Sparring, Situational Drills, BJJ Rolling)

A versatile form of martial art means that it teaches you techniques in situations while standing up and laying on the ground. In comparison, martial arts incorporate reflex and real-life situational training that are more prone to work in realistic situations. Below are a few examples of martial arts that are considered effective due to their versatility and focus on realistic and reflex training:

  • Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ): BJJ is a grappling-based martial art. Since its international debut in the first UFC event held in 1993, it is considered to be one of the most useful martial art forms for street fighting. 

Despite its heavy focus on fighting on the ground, BJJ has a great stand-up fighting technique as it pulls some movements from Judo and Wrestling.  Furthermore, BJJ is one of the very few martial arts that emphasizes fighting against bigger and heavier opponents.

It is considered perfect for street fighting since most people, even sometimes those who have martial arts experience, do not know how to fight on the ground. 

  • Krav Maga: Krav Maga is considered to be the official combat system for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Hence, Krav Maga is designed for street fighting since soldiers need to rely on an effective and efficient combat system while deployed in the war. 

Krav Maga heavily emphasizes real fighting scenarios, sparring, and drills that emulate what could occur in the streets or even war. Hence, many Krav Maga instructors would try to simulate the real-life pressure in street fighting. 

Some skills you will learn from Krav Maga include efficient strikes, fighting against multiple attackers, as well as using and fighting against weapons.

  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): If you take the classic MMA competition rules, MMA can be considered one of the most influential streets fighting styles. MMA is probably considered the most versatile martial arts out there due to the different emphasis and styles to focus on, including stand-up and ground fighting. 

Additionally, many MMA athletes have superb physical fitness as it is part of their regiment. Therefore, MMA would train you a variety of skills that are suitable in most street fighting situations. 

All of the different grappling and striking techniques in MMA have been tested and battle-proven many times in MMA matches as well as street fighting situations.

While the above are examples of martial arts well known for their efficiency, other, more traditional styles focus less on sparring and drills and heavily emphasize practicing a set of movements, which involves various kicks and punches, repetitively.

Conclusion – MMA Works in Street Fights, and a Few Others

MMA is an effective form of martial art when dealing with street fights. However, other forms are effective against street fights as they share the same two core components that MMA has. These are versatility as well as exposure to real-life simulation training. Make sure that you pick the one that fits your preference as well as what you are comfortable with.

Sources:

https://www.kombatgroup.com/best-martial-art-for-self-defense

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