How To Be a Smart MMA Fighter – Outsmart your Opponents


When you talk about smart MMA fighters, a couple of names comes in mind. Names such as Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, and Georges st Pierre. These are some names, right? And you probably wonder how to be a smart MMA fighter like these guys, so keep reading.

If you watch Jon Jones fight you will rarely see him do anything in vain. He will almost always preserve his energy and attack his opponents where he can make the most damage with the least effort. And he never creates patterns, which in turn makes it impossible for his opponents to try to read his next move. These are some really important attributes in your quest to become a smarter fighter.

How to Become a Smart MMA Fighter

Don’t get into a dirty boxing brawl

This is very important to build high fighting IQ. When your opponent wants to throw down and just throw haymakers you should use that to your advantage instead. Make sure to back off and create distance and then throw a calculated punch or punch combination.

Because when your opponent starts throwing wild he/she will expose his chin and the rest of the body making it perfect for you to use your feet and head movement to create angles and attack. You could also take your opponent down if he/she starts to throw wild.

Expand your arsenal

How to be a smart MMA fighter: Take time to learn new and different techniques. Almost every Martial art has something that could be effective in a fight.

By practicing new stuff you will always have something new that your opponent hasn’t seen before. It will make the opposition confused and unable to defend.

Don’t create patterns

How to be a smart MMA fighter: When I say don’t create patterns I mainly mean in the striking exchanges. Don’t let your opponent catch up on what you’re doing, you should always be a step ahead of him/her. When training the same combinations over and over again it can get pretty easy to get stuck in a pattern.

Therefore you should keep this in mind during sparring sessions and make sure to keep switching your striking up. Do those weird spinning and jumping stuff even if it looks silly. Because after a while you will catch up on it and you will have taken your striking to the next level.

Preserve your energy

How to be a smart fighter: Don’t move more than necessary. And by that, I don’t mean that you should stand still but rather know when to move and when not to. Unnecessary movements cost much more energy than it looks like. The same goes for attacks that don’t do enough damage. You should only attack when you see an opening or when you figured out how to get an opening. Therefore you should use a lot of feints to get a reaction from your opponent before attacking. Example: feint across then go for a body hook.

Read your opponent and adapt

Often fighters tend to make patterns as previously described. Try to read those patterns in your opponent and adapt accordingly. Let’s say for example that your opponent first goes jab/cross/jab then he goes hook/low-kick and he repeats that pattern over and over. Then you should be able to know before he delivers the hook so you can duck under, create an angle and hit him with the cross.

The smarter the fighter is the harder to read but humans almost always create some kind of pattern so be 1 step ahead. The same goes for fighters who continuously go for takedowns. If you learn to time them you can hit them with a nasty knee to the face.

Don’t lose your temper

You have probably heard before that it’s a bad idea to get angry when fighting. Well, it couldn’t be more true. When you lose your temper you will also lose the ability to make rational decisions and that will most likely get you knocked out.

A fighter who can stay calm and collected in any situation will almost always win against a fighter who is acting out on emotion. Therefore it’s a good idea to practice meditation and mindfulness.

I believe you learn ways to become a smart fighter by practicing and never stop learning. It will take years and years of experience but the main thing is to never stop learning. Don’t get caught up in the same patterns over and over. Switch up your training and try new things as often as you can. And above all don’t forget to train your mind because that’s essentially where it all is. At least 90 percent of it I believe is in the mind.

Get inside your opponents head

This one is a really good tool to make your opponent become nervous. You have probably seen some fighter go berzerk during the face-offs in an attempt to scare their opposition. And you have probably also seen fighters be totally cool like it’s just another day in the office. Both of these reactions are some form of psychological warfare, and personally I think a fighter with no emotion is much scarier than the one going crazy. So, therefore, I think one good tactic is to just be totally neutral but look your opponent deep in the eyes all the time and never flinch a bit.

An example of this is Fedor Emelianenko who never shows any emotion but in the cage, he just goes absolutely crazy. The psychology behind this is that you have to keep guessing, you don’t know his true intention because he will never show you. And that is what makes people doubt themselves before the fight has even begun.

I hope you’ve become smarter when in your fighting after reading this, now take a moment and learn some of the best self-defense moves to learn.

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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