Should You Compete In Mixed Martial Arts If You Only Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

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For most Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners, mixed martial arts is an attractive prospect. While sport BJJ is growing in popularity and even being aired on sites like the UFC’s Fight Pass, mixed martial arts is still more popular and offers more money.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is also a big part of mixed martial arts. Many high-level MMA fighters are also BJJ black belts, and many of the submissions in BJJ are also used in a mixed martial arts match.

But should you go into MMA if you only know BJJ?

No. As MMA fighter and BJJ practitioner Chad “The Beast” Hardy points out in his video, MMA is a totally different sport. If you go into an MMA cage without knowing any stand-up and without being accustomed to people throwing punches at you, you’re going to have a bad time (to quote South Park).

Some might respond, “Well, what about Royce Gracie?”

Royce Gracie not only knew how to strike and was used to dealing with people who struck (old Gracie challenges pit Gracie jiu-jitsu practitioners up against fighters from striking arts) but he was competing in the cage when many fighters didn’t even know about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, never mind know it.

Others may point out a modern example: Demian Maia. Maia is not only 40 years old (well older than most other MMA fighters) but he has fought in title matches in the UFC (MMA’s top promotion) in one of its most stacked divisions (welterweight) with a primarily grappling-based style.

But I would point out that Demian Maia still trains striking. Case in point:

Now, as Chad points out in his video, if you’re up against someone who only has striking experience, you may be able to take that person down and grapple him to a submission.

But that assumes you know takedowns. Considering many Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools start their matches from the knees (what is derisively called “midget wrestling”) many jiu-jitsu practitioners may not even be good enough to grapple in MMA.

If you want to be an MMA fighter, you need to train MMA. That means you need to learn to strike, block a strike, take people down, and learn to counter a takedown. If you either can’t or don’t want to train striking and wrestling, then leave MMA to the people who can.

Check out Chad “The Beast” Hardy’s video below:


  1. Can not believe people still bring up Maia as a pure BJJ guy.
    He spend tons of time in training striking and drilling specific takedown and groundwork tactics to make his BJJ work in MMA.

    Go check BJJ Scout to see how much subtility there is behind his game in MMA and how that is completely different from what he did in BJJ.


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