BJJ is better than Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo for MMA

Since the beginning of the UFC, though not necessarily MMA, BJJ has proven itself as an effective grappling style within Mixed Martial Arts.   This is not to say that styles such as Sambo, Judo, and Wrestling have not been proven effective as grappling styles in MMA. 

Sambo, Judo and Wrestling all engage opponents with a different mindset and strategy.  Sambo is a very effective mix of Judo (as its founder was a student of Jigoro Kano) and Wrestling.  The explosive movements allow Sambo to be useful in a combat setting.   Sambo though has the severe limitation of not allowing chokes within their competitive setting.  Judo utilizes explosive level changes, throws, slams, chokes, submissions, sweeps, pins, and groundwork.  Judo (the parent style of BJJ) was previously quite effective; but the time limitations on the ground (often no more than 30 seconds)  as well as the newer 2011 rule set (IJF competition, not Traditional Kodokan Judo or Freestyle Judo)  of not allowing hand-leg takedowns, and not allowing leg locks has limited it for use within MMA.  Wrestling has an effective explosive stand up, ground, pressure grappling,  allows for throws from a ground position, no GI and pins.  Wrestling though suffers from a number of limitations including the lack of submissions (Roman-Greco), chokes, and the lack of effective techniques fighting from the back.

BJJ is not without its limitations such as not being as effective with throws when compared to Judo, Sambo, and Wrestling. BJJ rule set of making slams illegal and from a pin are a benefit and a detriment.  It keeps fighters around longer, but makes them particularly ineffective going against superior throwing grapplers (which might injure them from these throws).   Often through the throws and takedowns done by BJJ fighters will beat many other fighters.   Within BJJ fighting from the back is typically what puts it on the forefront of grappling within MMA.  It is here, where BJJ succeeds far beyond that of other grappling styles and makes it a consistent leader within MMA.    BJJ consistently teaches its practitioners how to effectively fight from typically poor positions (side control, north south and the mount).  The use of the various guard techniques makes BJJ effective going against a stronger opponent. The consistently use and focus of some fighters to utilize technique over strength (which is great if a fighter is tired).   The utilization of inductive rather than deductive teaching methods (which leads to rapid development) is an advantage over other grappling arts. 

The last reason is training and availability.  Judo is a popular martial art would wide, but the throws and takedowns sadly take many fighters out of the martial art (the wear and tear on the body can be traumatic).  Competitions are available but the amount of competitors is not as big locally and regionally.    Sambo also suffers from the lack of available schools   and competitions outside of the Russia and satellite nations.   Wrestling is also popular worldwide but suffers from a severe limitation of training centers and schools outside of a scholastic setting (once you graduate from school where can you compete or train recreationally).  An additional problem is the lack of competitions outside of a scholastic setting.     BJJ also has a distinct advantage of having more available schools and competitions than all the other styles listed.  BJJ is growing exponentially, many grapplers cross train into BJJ including high level wrestlers, and Judoka (Travis Stevens, Garry St. Leger, etc.).  Some competitions even allow fighters to fight professionally (for money) and make a living from their training.

All of these reasons make BJJ, the best base martial art for Mixed Martial Arts.  This does not mean that you shouldn’t cross train in other grappling arts.  In fact, you should utilize BJJ with another grappling art. So if MMA is your goal, find a school an effective school that will maximize your potential.   


  1. What honestly should be done, is adoption (and alteration) of the ‘Submission Grappling’ rules and getting rid of Judo and Wrestling as Olympic sports. No disrespect to them, but the world has moved on, and generally the interest is low in both of these sports. Keep the arts alive, but Submission Grappling is the future of the sport.

    As a guy who has only competitively placed first in the gi, and at best comes in 2nd in no-gi, I can clearly see the appeal of no-gi, it’s more open to all the grips are fewer, and restrictions less. Personally, I’d love if both categories of “submission grappling” were included, but if only the no-gi would be fine.

    The main point is, grappling is growing, and that is good. If the Olympics or any promotions would promote it, could end up doing what the UFC initially did and match style vs style, especially with sub-sets of styles.

    I think it’s only a matter of time.

  2. A few issues with this article:
    1. SPORT SAMBO does not allow strangles and chokes in competition were as COMBAT SAMBO does, they are less sophisticated than many of BJJS strangles etc but you will still see a triangle, a bow and arrow a rear naked etc.
    2. Sambo is not simply a mix of wrestling and Judo, nor is Sambo just leg locks please research further, there are many elements to Sambo that just are over looked here, the submission game, a systematic approach to leg locks.
    3. BJJ had a good marketing system thats the main crunch this allowed (as the article says) BJJ to grow quicker and further personaly I dont see this as an advantage inherent in the system itsself.
    4. Many “BJJ TECHNIQUES!” are things copied directly from other systems that are then claimed to be bjj at worst and at best credit is not given.
    More people practice BJJ because of the marketing etc that was done, had Sambo or Judo done this first you may see a different article here, but ultimitely it comes down to how you train each of those, many more Judo sytle and Sambo style techniques are being seen now in MMA and frankly they are usually used by BJJ people that cross train, so if those techniques and strategies are not good for MMA why would they use them …

  3. you got it all wrong if you put someone high-level wrestler or judo or sambo like dc or Sakurba henry cejudo or phil davis matt Hughes or Fedor khabib i know there og s at mma but a bjj guy almost never beat them n the prime


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