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So you want to be a UFC fighter? Have you thought this through? In this article, we will investigate how to become an MMA fighter.
The first and most important thing is to find a decent MMA gym. Keep it local, or you will be tempted to skip sessions. Be sure to check out reviews of MMA gyms online. Ensure you read reviews and research precisely “WHO” will oversee your training and who works in the team. When you find the right gym, it’s time to kick off your MMA adventure!
The importance of a good coach cannot be underestimated. Not only will his colleagues be teaching you an array of MMA skills, but he will also be your access to the MMA industry. Any established coach will have connections in the MMA world, and these connections will mean more fights. More fights are what you will need to become a successful fighting athlete. This will help you to get noticed by the UFC and other smaller organizations.
If you don’t consider yourself the “brave type,” cage-fighting might not be for you! Remember the famous quote: “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is action despite fear.” If you can’t understand that quote, mixed martial arts is probably not for you!
Even famous fighters sometimes admit you must be mad to enter the octagon. However, if you have a “cool head” and you can stay composed while having your head kicked and your face elbowed, then MMA success could be waiting for you.
MMA is a very skill-intensive sport. Modern mixed martial arts involve various disciplines involving ground and stand-up combat. MMA comprises striking and grappling techniques that have been taken from all martial arts, including Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and wrestling.
Make no mistake; learning the skills needed for a successful MMA career should not be underestimated. We’re talking six or seven days a week of training, diets, weight cuts (before fights), and a heap of time and energy. But with the ultimate goal of standing in the center of Madison Square Garden with a UFC Championship belt over your head in front of thousands of screaming fans, it does sound pretty appealing.
Mixed martial arts are not learned overnight but over many years of intensive and diligent practice. And don’t expect to be partying with your buddies during those years, either! Instead, you will get lots of sleep, eat the right foods, stay off the booze, and stay ready for your daily gym sessions.
While the diet of MMA fighters isn’t as restrictive as professional bodybuilders, there still isn’t much room for alcohol, junk food, or tobacco.
It’s going to happen. Injuries are commonplace in MMA training (especially in competition). After receiving injuries, there can be months waiting for the damage to heal; in some cases, rehab may be necessary.
If you’re not prepared to sit on the sidelines for months while injuries heal, some fighters train/fight through their injuries. Many do not possess This level of toughness, and it is mainly reserved for those warriors among us.
The most common injuries in MMA are broken bones, hand injuries (such as torn ligaments), knee injuries (such as tearing of the ACL), and concussions. Pro MMA is incredibly demanding on the body and can also be extremely harmful. But this could be a great outlet if you have “Spartan blood” running through your veins!
Even though you’re on your own when you enter The Octagon, MMA is a team sport. Getting anywhere in MMA is tough without a great team behind you. Find the right gym with the right atmosphere and experienced, patient coaches.
Look for gyms with a healthy and competitive environment and avoid those that attract monsters that insist on training and sparing at full throttle. Good coaches/gyms will care for your well-being and never push you into competing until you are ready.
It is always incredible to hear how today’s famous UFC stars started. From very humble beginnings, it is heart-warming to listen to the real-life “Rocky” stories from such MMA stars as Matt “The Immortal” Brown.
Here is his interview with the excellent Joe Rogan on his highly recommended podcast.
Injuries, weight cuts, getting up early, no beer, etc., require much willpower. Mental toughness (while god-given in some cases) can be cultivated with practice. You can learn more about developing a fighting mindset on the British Psychological Society website.
Mostly, the days of dumb “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” are over. Modern-day MMA has become a hugely technical combat sport and requires mastery of many moves and skills.
Nowadays, the brain is as essential as the brawn (and maybe even more so). There is plenty of strategy and game-planning in the fight game today. Moreover, MMA fighters are athletes; comprehensive diet and body mechanics knowledge is also vital.
And don’t neglect your activities outside of the fighting arena, either! How you conduct yourself outside the ring is vital in today’s media-saturated sports industry. Having a good character and planning your career carefully are also significant factors in becoming a successful cage fighter.
Becoming a UFC fighter is extremely difficult these days. It takes a lot of sacrifice and many years of total dedication.
You will need to train hard almost every day, and you will need to have many professional fights on your record before being approached by the UFC.
It is necessary to stay fit and healthy. One serious injury can mean the end of your career, as can suspensions for performance-enhancing substances.
Just remember that anything is possible and can be achieved with total commitment and a bit of luck.
We hope our article has given you some ideas and actionable tips on how to become a UFC fighter.
Thanks to Andrius Petrucenia on Flickr for his great UFC image (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons and Andrius Petrucenia for his UFC Belt image [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.