Mixed Martial Arts Training: The Road to the UFC

Mixed Martial Art Training The Road to the UFC

One combat sport.

A blend of fighting styles.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is, as renowned UFC commentator Joe Rogan calls it: “High level problem solving with dire physical consequences.”  

And he could not be more right.

MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide, and therefore more and more information has come out about the intricacies of MMA training.

Between striking, grappling, defense, movement, strength and conditioning, and other vital components, MMA has become one of the most complex sports and, as a result, one of the most difficult to become proficient in.


Hell no.

But nothing worth doing is.

And I think you know that. Which is why you’ve come here.

You have this deep, sometimes inexplicable calling inside of you to start training in the most fascinating sport on the planet (our bias of course 🙂

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you just want to test yourself and see how far you can go. Maybe you want to find out what you’re truly capable of.

Either way, we want you to know, that’s why we’ve created MMA Training Central.

So that you can have all the resources and knowledge you need to either become a pro MMA fighter, or just one tough motherf****er.


Cool. Let’s get started.

Everyone knows that becoming an MMA fighter doesn’t happen by only practicing two weeks before a fight. There is more to training than just blind practice and leaving it to chance.

MMA training must be laser-focused and completely sport-specific.

Everything you do in your MMA training must be done with the purpose of moving closer to your goal.

In addition, there is a certain psychological aspect to being a mixed martial arts fighter that is unknown to many (we will go more in-depth on this in another article coming soon).

This article will provide you with some beginner tips and workouts to get your MMA training started.

MMA Training Tip #1: Plan Properly

No doubt, consistency is a key attribute, but you need to instill that approach early on in your training.

Skip out on distractions from your primary goal – which is to become the best fighter you can possibly be.

Train every time you have the chance. Every successful MMA fighter can attest to the fact that his or her success wasn’t about luck.

You don’t get lucky in the cage; no one does.

MMA Training Tip #2: Stick to What Works

MMA fighting requires far more than just kicking, punching or a simple heavy bag workout. No doubt, those things are important, but being a professional MMA fighter demands more intense, MMA-specific workout routines, which can be found in a program we personally recommend called MMA QuickStart.

If you’d like to learn more about MMA QuickStart and the pros and cons of the program, check out our in-depth review of the program here.

Having an expert to guide you on the basics of MMA fighting would be a good start, but having a coach remembered for his glory days as an MMA fighter would be a great start.

MMA Training Tip #3: Include Resistance Training

Resistance training is a vital component of your overall MMA training.

Every form of physical exercise can be quite challenging to carry out for long periods, and MMA is no exception.

In a fight, you want your first punch to be just as powerful as your last.

This isn’t a rule of thumb where you need to weigh your punches and kicks, NO! Rather, it is essential in coming out victorious from that cage.

That is one of the many reasons why the MMA QuickStart program is so effective.

The program ensures your training routine is laid-out accordingly, ensuring you become proficient at the exercises and techniques that matter the most, which, in the long run, improves your ability to endure; an important attribute of every distinguished MMA fighter.

Warm Up

Before you can improve your resilience, you need to warm up your body by running or jumping rope. Running/jumping rope before an exercise warms up the muscles, which will in turn make for a more complete and efficient training session.

Try restricting your warm-ups to a short distance. However, you will need to repeat the warm-up phase several times.

For a full MMA warmup routine, check out our guide here.

Station Training

The station workout consists of a variety of exercises aimed at enhancing your endurance in the cage. There are about five different stations with the first being training your upper body muscles through the simple, yet effective exercise known as push-ups.

The great thing about push-ups is that there are so many variations that you can integrate into your workout.

Have a look at these examples:

The next upper body exercise will help build strength in the tricep muscles.

Have a look at the popular exercise known as dips:

The second station workout will increase your lung capacity, which ensures you don’t get tired after several minutes in the cage. 

One particularly effective station workout, similar to circuit training, helps you build physical strength, explosiveness and simultaneously enhance your endurance.

Your heart rate and breathing will become faster while the ability of your body to break down lactose – a byproduct of muscle activity in the absence of oxygen – is enhanced.

Here is a sample circuit you can perform to get started:

Perform the following exercises one after the other, with no rest in between exercises to complete 1 circuit.

Rest 60 seconds between circuits.

Complete 3-5 total circuits.

1. Goblet Squats – 12-15 reps

2. Dumbbell Triceps Press – 10-12 reps

3. Plyo Push-Ups – To Failure (as many reps as you can with proper form)


MMA Training Tip #4: Strengthen Your Trunk Muscles

Neglecting the trunk muscles is a common occurrence among many MMA fighters.

The strength and efficiency of your attacks will be significantly improved by the development of your trunk muscles.

Muscular development, in general, requires consistent training, and the trunk muscles are no exception. You can enhance the development process by performing different ab/core exercises. The following are some of the best core exercises for MMA training:

  1. Planks (normal and side planks)
  2. Leg lifts
  3. Hanging leg raises
  4. Russian Twists
  5. Ab wheel rollouts
  6. Landmine Twists

Our #1 recommended training program by Jeff Joslin explains core training in far greater detail. Also, the program provides follow-along videos so you can watch, learn and practice.

MMA Training Tip #5: Prioritize Plyometrics Exercises

Training to become an MMA fighter requires a certain level of power and explosiveness, especially in your kicks and punches, which can knockout out your opponent when properly executed.

Plyometrics are the absolute best exercises to develop that necessary power for MMA.

Ideally, plyometrics exercises should be done on a weekly basis. This allows your body enough time to recover properly.

Interval sprints, plyometrics push-ups, lateral high hops, skipping rope and box jumps are some of the most effective plyometrics exercises, which will certainly help you progress in your MMA training.

For the best plyometrics routines for MMA, check out our guide here.

MMA Training Tip #6: Focus on What You Need

The appearance of your muscles shouldn’t be of any concern to you.

You’re not training for a body building contest. You’re training to fight!

It adds no benefit to your MMA training and skill development. Skip exercises that only make your muscles look good, otherwise know as “all-show, and no go” exercises.

Channel your time to exercises like presses of the close-grip variety renowned for enhancing how strong your punches are.

Our Top Pick For MMA Training

mma training

The Complete MMA QuickStart Package!

Learn More

MMA Training Tip #7: Nutrition

Aside from training, a lack of adequate nutrition could be absolutely detrimental to your MMA skill-set and overall health.

Make sure you’re eating food with sufficient protein. It helps in building muscle tissues while also repairing muscle tissue that has been broken down through exercise.

You should also drink a lot of water. Water not only hydrates you – which ensure you recover faster – but it also elevates the potency of your attack and enhances your fighting and training in general.

Enjoy the wholesomeness of fruits and vegetables. The health benefits are innumerable.

Avoid eating excess food without ensuring the calories are adequately burnt down by training.

The accumulation of the end products of every food you eat could leave you becoming overweight, and you certainly don’t want that.

We’ve already written a couple of killer guides on this topic.

Check out our guide to the best protein for fighters here.

And for our #1 recommendation for protein powder, check this out.

MMA Training Tip #8: Psychological Development

The physical aspect is very important to MMA fighting, but that’s not all. You will need to become mentally tough, no, rock solid, which will allow to deal with any adversity that comes your way throughout your MMA journey.

A lot of trainers think all you are to know is the physical aspect, but we sincerely disagree. Rather, the mental side of training is also immensely important. Consistently fighting in the cage takes more than guts, you need to have that belief to continue on.

Endurance alone won’t do it. Concentrating on the task at hand, which is knocking your opponent off his feet is important, and this is just an instance of where physical abilities are found wanting.

Developing your mental approach to fighting including your thoughts is essential to your persistence in the cage. When you have a winning mentality, you will do all it takes to avoid going down.

Every form of training will seem like an enjoyable activity. Anyone with a winning attitude always comes out on top, and the cage is no different.

MMA Training Tip #9: Draw Inspiration From Within

The tortuous road to becoming an MMA fighter requires a lot of dedication, diligence and a lot of enthusiasm. You need to see the MMA fighting as more than just a chore. Enjoy it, the pain included.

Have a reason for fighting, and then from that reason comes your inspiration. Having a drive for success makes people successful, and MMA champions can attest to that.

A typical instance is let’s say you visited MMA Quick Start and liked the program. You then move on to pay for it. That alone is a reason for success.

You wouldn’t want your money put to waste. So you train hard while fighting harder. Nothing beats motivation. You just need to have a reason. To some, the fear of losing is a good enough reason.

Also, while reason is important, objectives, goals, targets, aims and purpose are all important. They could all be the same thing, and they could vary slightly but the fact remain to have something inspire you isn’t enough. There has to be an outcome from motivation.

MMA Training Tip #10: Attain a Phenomenal Level of Flexibility

Arguably one of the most overlooked aspect of MMA training is flexibility and mobility training.

You can’t become an MMA fighter if you can’t move with precision and efficiency. Your ability to do this depends on how flexible and mobile you are.

Strength sometimes alone simply will not cut it. MMA fighting requires every fighter’s mobility in every directional plane available.

There are many mixed martial arts stretching routines, which will assist you in becoming exceptionally flexible. Some of these exercises include the scorpion stretch, Chinese splits, hamstring stretch and the quad stretch.

If you’re looking to drastically improve your hip flexibility, check out our guide here.

MMA Training Tip #11: Stay Organized

Every famous MMA fighter you might have come across all had a routine. They were organized. You don’t become an MMA fighter by negligence or irregular training habits.

You need to stick to the schedule. Get down to work and mean business. Take it serious. The cliché “you snooze you lose” is applicable here.

MMA Training Tip #12: Stick To Simple Training Techniques

Keep your routine training simple; sophisticated training methods, especially when you’re just starting out, could hamper your development.

A simple workout scheme puts you at ease and gets you consistent results. If it looks simple, chances are you would enjoy the workout as well.

Some of these exercises include:

Squat Thrusts:

This exercise enhances the potency of your attack. The band of muscles affected positively by squat thrust is the quadriceps; a group of four muscles located in the anterior compartment of the thigh.

Bear Crawl:

A rather hard workout. It increases general body strength including that of the trunk muscles. Also, your aerobic abilities are elevated.


An exceptionally potent workout. Sprawl is highly recommended if you are looking to improve your strength and endurance.


One of the vintage workout exercises which aren’t so popular now. Pull-ups increase the muscle density of the upper limbs.

The back muscles are also affected positively by this workout activity. It also improves grip, which is essential in MMA fighting particularly as it helps you get your opponent to submit in the cage.

Hanging Leg Raise:

Do you know that your trunk muscle can provide you with some explosive strength when you need it? This workout exercise improves the power behind your punch, kicks and general attack. The quadriceps group of muscles again benefits from this exercise.

Crab Walk:

Might look odd for a workout routine, but this exercise can be your winning move. MMA fighting is one combat sport where taking your opponent by surprise can make you victorious.

This workout gets you mentally alert to your environment and every opportunity you might not have observed previously. It is also good for your general well-being since it improves heart rate and develops the muscles of your trunk, and limbs.

The Stability Ball with a One-Arm Dumbbell:

Sometimes being at a disadvantage can be a turning point. This concept brought about the ‘stability ball’, which isn’t stable.

The ball provides a measure of discomfort while with one arm you workout using a Dumbbell. This workout gives you an edge, psychologically and physically as well as if you’re faced with the same scenario in the cage.

The exercise enhances your balance as well as your cognitive skills, which are treasured assets in the ring.

Your upper limbs, trunk, pectorals and back muscles are all affected positively by this workout.

Interval Sprints:

The interval sprints is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise, so your heart rate and circulation will both improve significantly. Your endurance will also be greatly increased by this workout.

These are just a few of the many functional exercises necessary to begin your MMA training.

If you’re looking for a program one that will take these individual exercises, and many more, and blend them together into one, cohesive program to get you started, then head over and read our in-depth review of the MMA QuickStart program.

Our Top Pick For MMA Training

mma training

The Complete MMA QuickStart Package!

Learn More


© MMA Training Central, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to MMA Training Central and mmatrainingcentral.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Back to Top