Ethnic dominance in MMA – Superior genetics and training

As of the last couple of years, we have seen more and more fighters from certain areas of the globe, come into the MMA-scene and swipe the floor with their opposition. Why is that? is there a specific reason some countries and ethnicities seem to have a higher number of high-level fighters than others? Do they possess superior genes? Do they train harder? Or what’s the reason for their success? Today I will take you through some factors I believe can have something to do with it. And is Ethnic dominance in MMA real?


So what are genes really? Genes are the blueprint for human evolution. Based on where we live and how we live. The genes will over time adapt to our lifestyle, This is nothing that happens in a lifetime but over multiple lifetimes over thousands and thousands of years. Every human has a set of roughly 22 000 genes of which work together to create “YOU”.

Is it possible that certain areas of the globe are so harsh to live in that the genes of the people who live there have adapted to the environment and therefore become physically superior in certain areas compared to the general population? I truly believe so.


Let’s take the Dagestani people for example. They come from a lineage of warriors. They grow up in the mountains with harsh terrain and higher altitude. I believe this is a contributing factor in the way they fight inside the MMA cage.

Khabib is a Dagestani fighter who looks pretty much invincible inside the cage. It literally looks like he weighs 40 pounds more than his opponent when he wrestles with them. I believe this is mainly because of the grueling training he’s been doing since a little boy and the fact that he lives high up in the mountains. This increases the number of red blood cells that in turn gives him a physical advantage when competing at sea-level.

And as his people have been living up in the mountains for centuries, I believe it’s fully possible that their way of living has changed their genes over time. Which essentially makes the Dagestani people a bit in-human. This may be the perfect example of ethnic dominance in MMA.

I also believe there is some scientific evidence behind this theory. As Khabib and most of the Dagestani fighters belong to a group of people called the Avar. There are reports of the Avar people as far back as the 5th century. And they have always lived high up in the mountains, often over 2000m above sea-level.

And as evolution is known to make changes in the DNA in just a couple of thousand years to adapt to different environments. I believe this is what has happened on some level to the Avar people. That their ability to produce red blood cells is somewhat superior to other races. Which in turn does that they can feed their muscle with more oxygen and thereby perform stronger and longer than usual.

Dagestani fighter Zabit Magomedsharipov


West-Africa is another part of the globe that has come up with a lot of high-level fighters lately. And to some degree, I believe this is also due to genetic factors. As in most West-African countries the people had to hunt for their food and fight for survival up until very recently. And some tribes still do.

If you ask me that is a reason that West-Africans has some kind of a physical advantage. Their genes have adapted to a harsh environment, Boiling hot weather and the constant hunt for food and water.

West-African fighter Francis Ngannou


As I usually say. Superior training makes superior results. Because all the genetic advantage and talent in the world means nothing without proper training.

Let’s take Kamaru Usman for an instance. He is the UFC welterweight champion and also a West-African. But without the hard wrestling training he’s endured since being a little kid he would never be where he is today. The American way of training wrestling is, in my opinion, a superior way of training, as you learn to get a high work ethic and cut weight, etc since childhood.

I also believe wrestling is a good way to fight with his physique. As West-African are generally very strong and muscular. So with his wrestling training, he has learned how to take the opponent down and keep them there, which in turn will tire them out.

Kamaru Usman

Dagestani training

The Dagestanis are also known for their training. Often starting when they’re very small it’s not uncommon for them to train at least 2-3 times a day. Their style of preference is often a mix between Russian sambo and wrestling.

With this style of training, they focus a lot on the basics of MMA. A lot of work against the cage, head and wrist control and chain wrestling takedowns are just some of it. But for the reason that they drill these somewhat easy techniques since childhood, they will most of the time use them much better than their opponent.

They understand that they don’t need a lot of fancy techniques and the biggest arsenal to succeed. Instead, they have made it simple to mainly focus on the fundamentals. And it really shows when they step in the cage how technically superior they are.

Dagestani fighter Islam Makhachev


I absolutely believe that ethnic dominance is a real thing in MMA . However, it doesn’t just apply to Dagestanis and the West-Africans. The difference with them is that they have just learned what they’re body type is naturally good at, and adapted their training accordingly.

I genuinely believe that most people on the planet possess some sort of attribute for succeeding in MMA. You just need to find it. Maybe you are not naturally a good wrestler, but your kicks might be lethal. Then focus a lot of work on your kicks and make them work in MMA.

That’s also what’s so cool about MMA, that the journey never ends. You will constantly find things that you’re better at than the others, likewise, you will constantly find things you’re worse at. And the key to success will always be to never stop learning, be humble and always keep on fighting.

Picture of me in motion

If you found this article about ethnic dominance in MMA interesting and you wanna learn further of what MMA training consists of. You might wanna take a look at an article a wrote a while back.

Eric Wennergren

My name is Eric and i'm 25 years old. Country of residence: Sweden. I'm very interested in different forms of Martial Arts, mainly MMA. And i Also compete myself in different Combat sports. Mainly I'm om a mission to educate people about Combat sports.

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