How Boxing Helps UFC Fighters
5 skills UFC fighters learn from boxing that makes them better fighters
The UFC (ultimate fighting championship) is the world’s leading MMA (mixed martial arts) competition. Millions tune in from around the world to watch the matches. Fighters like Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and Anderson Silva have made their names by fighting for the UFC.
If a fighter wants to be successful in the UFC then they must have mastered multiple fighting disciplines – from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to wrestling.
Since the early days of the UFC, wrestling has dominated the sport. Most champions being trained in traditional wrestling and many being Olympic medalists in the sport. However, boxing is another key skill all UFC fighters could benefit from.
In this article, we are going to show you why boxing is one of the most important skills for any UFC fighter to master.
#5 – The perfect KO jab
A simple KO is one of the ways to win an MMA match. A KO (or knock out) is called when a strike knocks out a player, even if they were just unconscious for a few seconds.
We have seen multiple UFC matches that have lasted for less than 10 seconds thanks to a well placed jab to the face. This technique comes from boxing and can be perfected by practicing the fighting style.
We saw this technique as early as 2006 with Duane Ludwig knocking out Jonathan Goulet in only 6 seconds.
#4 – Improved arm strength
Delivering that killer blow in the right place is only half the battle, you need to have the power behind it to back it up.
Boxing is one of the best ways to improve your arm strength and to build stamina in those muscles.
Arm strength isn’t just useful for striking your opponent. It is also incredibly important when you are grappling with an opponent. Good grappling strength is essential if you are trying to get your opponent to tap out. Victory by submission is also possible in UFC matches.
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#3 – Reading your opponent
The UFC is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical competition. Being able to read your opponent and second guess their next move is an essential part of the sport.
Boxing is a fast sport that doesn’t allow for many second chances if you make a mistake. It is a great training room exercise to hone your people reading skills.
While coaches and players will spend a lot of time analyzing their opponent’s fighting style before the match. None of this research can replace the ability of a fighter to think on their feet while inside the Octagon.
#2 – Fighting through the pain
The UFC is a painful sport but the fighters are tough. I mean, we saw Conor McGregor try to continue fighting after breaking one of his ankles in 2021.
When practicing boxing, you get punched in the face a lot. It’s painful and it’s frustrating. Beginners can be tempted to start swinging wildly when they get angry. Sports like boxing teach you discipline.
They teach you that even if you are getting hurt, even if you are losing, even if you are not the strongest person in the ring – you have to keep fighting through it all.
#1 – Quick feet
The most important skill that we think UFC fighters can learn from boxing is foot work. Boxers have to be light on their feet because it’s a lot easier to win a boxing match if you aren’t getting punched in the face repeatedly.
This evasive footwork can keep you in the match and give you the opportunity to turn the match around.
The foot work translates well into all the different fighting styles UFC incorporates. There is no situation where being light and quick on your feet won’t be beneficial for a fighter.