The world of MMA is growing rapidly courtesy of greater visibility and some fighters with substantial profiles behind them. 

The trouble is, unlike many sports, MMA doesn’t provide an obvious route to the professional levels – until now. 

Here we have a quick look at how to get into MMA in a few steps.

Grasp the different ways of fighting 

Forget how obvious this statement sounds. It is imperative that you have an understanding of what type of fighting is used in MMA before taking your first steps towards it. This covers two forms. Firstly, there is the ‘where’. By this we mean how you’ll be fighting – standing up, in a grapple (or clinch) and, finally, on the ground.

All of these are areas where a fight can be won and lost with several fighting styles used in each. Take your standing position; this is akin to going toe-to-toe with your opponent – think boxing or karate. The clinch style is where you’re still upright but in close to your opponent. 

A suitable style for this sort of situation is something like wrestling or judo whilst the groundwork is exactly what it sounds like. It’s how you can win – or avoid defeat – on the floor. The best style for this is jiu-jitsu. Of course, just because judo is good in a clinch and jiu-jitsu is a strong floor style it doesn’t mean you’re limited to using them there.

If you’re serious about getting into MMA at a half decent level then a basic understanding of each method is useful with jiu-jitsu arguably the technique you should spend most time on.

Join a gym – but be smart

If you’ve conducted your research on the above and still have the thirst for a fight then your next step is to join a gym offering lessons/sessions in Mixed Martial Arts. Depending on where you’re based, it’s feasible you’ll have several options of where to go. Your choice is important.

As mentioned, to be taken seriously as a fighter you need to be competent in more than one art form so make sure your gym offers decent classes in – as a bare minimum – of three or four of the core fighting techniques, for example, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and jiu-jitsu. 

It is possible to sign up to places that offer just one training service e.g. a boxing specialist but the chances are walking this route will cost you a lot more money.

Finally, when you train, don’t go charging in like you’re a UFC Champion entering a title showdown. Why? Well, for starters, nobody in the gym will like you and, more importantly, regardless of your current level you’re supposed to be mastering your skill. It’s not the time to push the limits and get injured.

Take some amateur fights

If your goal is to make it to the elite then at some point you will have to take some amateur fights. That’s not something to rush into though; we would always suggest you seek the advice of the coaches you work with. 

Your gym will likely be able to set you up with some bouts in and around the local area. The next important thing is not to get big headed when – or should that be if – you win a few fights.

Too many people have one or two local lads (or lasses) on their back and try to turn pro. It’s a big step up and, unlike most sports, there isn’t much room for a learning curve. Nor are you allowed to drop back to amateur level after having a professional fight so it really is slow and steady that wins the race.

There you have it, your guide to getting into MMA. If you are more interesting in watching than practising and maybe placing some bets, click here to see a quick guide on how to bet on MMA: