Does Boxing Work For MMA?
Today we’re going to go over the most important beginner boxing tips for you to implement in your MMA training.
Agility, speed, power and cardio is what you need to keep the crowd on their feet cheering as you give your opponent a tough challenge of pacing you down in the ring.
Boxing is one of the oldest fighting styles, and it is a vital part of striking for MMA.
Unfortunately, nothing comes easily; you need to train and train harder. Boxing requires a tangible combination of mental toughens and physical agility.
Before we get into the beginner boxing tips we have in store for you today, let’s start with a little introduction.
Since the evolution of mixed martial arts, many have begun writing off boxing as an outdated fighting style that can’t work in MMA.
For the most part, these people are flat-out wrong.
There are several fighters that have fought, and some who are currently fighting, in mixed martial arts that have excellent boxing skills, and some even use boxing as their base fighting style.
Let’s briefly look at a couple of MMA fighters who use boxing very well:
- Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor is a very controversial and highly criticized fighter.
However, what a lot of people don’t know is that he actually started out as an amateur boxer, and then transitioned into MMA.
Here’s are some in-depth looks at some of the boxing techniques McGregor uses against his opponents:
We want you guys to pay particular attention to those last 2 breakdowns.
They really portray McGregor’s superb timing and counterpunching.
Onto the next fighter.
2. Jorge Masvidal
Jorge Masvidal is a very exciting fighter, and has been on a consistent rise through the ranks of the UFC since he first entered the promotion.
Like McGregor, Masvidal use varied boxing techniques (most of which we will be going over in just a minute).
Let’s have a look:
As you can see, Masvidal’s boxing is no joke, and he uses it against his opponents fantastically.
Now that we’ve seen that boxing can certainly be effective in MMA, let’s go over the most important beginner boxing tips so that you can start adding more tools to your MMA training arsenal!
Beginner Boxing Tip #1: Footwork
If you want to become proficient in the basics of boxing, you’ve got to begin by understanding footwork.
Although at times it can be overlooked, having superior footwork is often times what separates a good boxer from a great boxer.
Footwork is not simply running around the ring, with the aim of avoiding punches from your opponent.
It’s all about being in the right stance, position and so to set your proper punches up.
First, let’s look at some basic footwork moves for boxing.
By the way, shoutout to expertboxing.com, they’ve got some awesome training information and guides specifically for boxing.
Moving on, let’s take better look at a couple of specific footwork moves you can begin working on today.
It’s obvious that every boxer will at some point move forwards and backward; this will happen several times throughout a fight.
However, you also want to understand how to move side to side, or laterally.
For example, you can practice moving laterally both on the punching bag and on the pads.
Do this continuously in training, and, once you’re comfortable, you can take it a step further, and start introducing it to your sparring.
Have a look:
Now on to angles. If you want to take your boxing to a new level, you have to start incorporating angles in your training.
Moving forward and back is great, but there will be many times when you need to cut angles on your opponent to get inside and land your strikes.
This kind of movement is also used a lot of times in Karate and Muay Thai. For example, let’s say you’re fighting a boxer who comes forward and loves a single-dimensional movement style.
They will try and put you in a position where all you can do is to back-off in a straight line, which is exactly where they want you.
This is when you use your angles to move, this way, you won’t be an easy target to get hit.
Angles can also be used in your own attacks as well, not just for your defense.
Let’s look at some of the most-used angles in boxing:
Now, some of these techniques are definitely a little advanced, but with time and proper training, you can certainly start developing these skills and adding them into your own style.
You can pivot clockwise or counter-clockwise, but you need to learn how to do both. For clockwise, use your front foot just like a pivot, and then push around using your back foot at 90 degrees in that same stance position.
To pivot counter-clockwise, your weight should be transferred momentarily to the front foot. Do this with a slight bent on your front knee, then ensure your back leg is spanned in a counter-clockwise direction in that stance position.
Beginner Boxing Tip #2: Slips
Moving forward, now we will cover one of the most important defensive movements in boxing: the slip.
Slips help you move out of your opponent’s way, instead of simply his or her punches. It’s a defensive tactic, which makes your opponent either tired from punching the air or can also send him out of balance (or both sometimes)
For beginners, you can train yourself using a pendulum. However, as you advance, you need to learn that there are two types; the inside and outside slips.
Push from your back foot, which perfectly drives your hips, therefore rotating them as you rotate, ensure that the leg is slightly bent; this is what helps the rotation of the hips.
This rotation in most cases takes place at the central axis, and after you rotate, the body returns to the previous position. Practice this over and over, so that you improve your balance when slipping punches.
For outside, just from the boxing stance, you need to push your front foot, which will also rotate your upper body in a clockwise direction. This rotation will move your head to the right, in turn making your head dodge any oncoming punch. Due to the boxing stance, the body will then snap back to its original position.
Beginner Boxing Tip #3: Parrying
The word parry actually means to attack or ward off, and so it is used in boxing as a defensive move which clearly uses your opponent’s momentum against him.
It’s a rather simple technique. Here are a few parrying styles you need to consider.
Beginner Boxing Tip #4: The Basic Guard
Another beginner boxing tip is the basic guard. Ensure as you train, your fists are close to your face. They will help you effectively block the oncoming straights or jabs.
Also, uppercuts which are directed to chin will be cut using the fists. You need to be keen since this leaves your diaphragm and the sides very vulnerable to strikes.
Here are a few basic boxing guards:
Beginner Boxing Tip #5: Punch Catching
Yes, you can catch a punch; very experienced boxers also use this technique. It resembles catching a baseball, but with a glove.
You should avoid stretching your hand to catch a punch, wait until it comes to you.
However, this technique is suitable for jabs only, not power straights or hooks. Practice constantly because this one is a little tricky.
Beginner Boxing #6: Defend The Body
Defending the body is one of the most important beginner boxing tips; it involves both body and head movement.
You should practice by leaning from side to another, considering that the arms will be busy either throwing or defending the head. Therefore ensure during practice, your body can move as fast as possible, and in various positions.
Beginner Boxing Tip #7: Clinching
There is the art of clinching too. This will help you if by chance you get extremely tired during a fight.
Just as the name goes, you can clinch on your opponent. It’s an option that works if a you’re taking too much of a beating from your opponent, and therefore you can rest for some seconds before he comes back.
You can train train how to clinch by doing it regularly while practicing, so that you won’t get hit while trying to clinch in the ring. The only secret here is to be quick with this decision.
Well, that wraps up our guide for beginner boxing tips. As you can see, boxing is a highly complex fighting style, and it requires time, effort, and most importantly attention to detail.
Now, obviously we’re training for MMA, but, as I said earlier, boxing is a very good base to have for your striking.
From there, you can branch out to Muay Thai, Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, etc.
But boxing is great to have as a fall-back if things don’t go your way in a fight.
Take another look at McGregor and Masvidal’s boxing, just to remind you that boxing can and should be incorporated into your MMA training.
Until next time,
The MMA Coach.
P.S. – Stay tuned, because we’ve got a TON more content coming your way soon, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for even more exclusive tips and guides to take your MMA training to the next level!