Where Champions Train: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Top 10 MMA Gyms

September 11, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Hey there, fight enthusiasts, aspiring warriors, and fans of all things combat sports! Are you on a quest to find the ultimate training ground, where you can channel your inner warrior and unlock your true potential? Or maybe you’re an armchair aficionado, keen on understanding the science and skill that go into every jab, hook, and takedown? If you answered “yes” to either of these, you’re in for a treat today. 

We’re embarking on an exhilarating journey to identify the Top 10 MMA gyms in the United States, a list that will be your go-to guide for quality training and relentless discipline. We’re talking about gyms that offer not just punching bags and mats, but a holistic approach to combat sports.

And hey, don’t fret if a pilgrimage to these martial Meccas is out of reach for you. Spartacus, the cutting-edge Combat Sports Promotion platform, has got your back. This revolutionary app is your gateway to a treasure trove of combat sports entertainment and education, offering live TV, pay-per-view extravaganzas, “kicks” (it’s like TikTok, but tailored for the fight world), as well as up-to-date news, insightful blogs, and invaluable tips. Whether you’re a fan or a fighter, Spartacus has something for everyone.

#10 Sanford MMA, Florida 

Ah, the Sunshine State—where the beaches are hot and the fighters are even hotter. Welcome to Sanford MMA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, an institution that is as remarkable as the talent it produces. Founded in 2017 by combat sports legends Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, this training behemoth was initially dubbed Hard Knocks 365 before rebranding to Sanford MMA following a takeover by healthcare giant Sanford Health.

Don’t let the medical-sounding name fool you; this place is a warrior’s playground. Spanning an awe-inspiring thirty thousand square feet, Sanford MMA is a trifecta of sports excellence. It offers sports performance training through XPE Sports, jaw-dropping combat training that includes kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and even a basketball training ground known as House of Hoops 365. Names like Stefan StruveMichael Johnson, and UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman have all sharpened their skills here. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, Sanford MMA gives you the tools and the mentors to rise to the top. 

#9 Team Alpha Male, California

Heading over to the West Coast, specifically to Sacramento, California, we find a gym that has become a mecca for lower-weight class fighters—Team Alpha Male. Established by MMA icon Urijah Faber, this gym is a hotbed for talent in the smaller weight divisions. Here, size doesn’t matter; it’s all about heart, skill, and an unyielding drive to be the best.

The gym has a knack for discovering and grooming fighters who often go on to dominate the world stage. Ever heard of T.J. DillashawCody Garbrandt, or Joseph Benavidez? How about Chad Mendes? All these top-tier fighters have been moulded here. The focus is laser-sharp: recruit and train fighters in the lower weight classes, turning them into unstoppable forces in the MMA world.

Team Alpha Male’s methodology and training techniques have created an environment where smaller fighters thrive, breaking barriers and expectations. While the gym may focus on lower weight classes, the impact it has on the MMA world is anything but small. 

#8 Black House MMA, California

Hold onto your gloves, folks, as we venture into the heart of Los Angeles, California, to discover the juggernaut that is Black House MMA. Founded in 2006 by the Brazilian powerhouse trio of Carlos “Carlão” BarretoJorge Guimaraes, and Rogerio Camoes, this gym has sister locations in Brazil and has become a monumental centre for martial arts, boxing, and American Wrestling.

Imagine stepping onto a training mat where the emphasis is not just on one form of combat, but an eclectic blend that forges well-rounded fighters. With its roots deep in diverse combat styles, Black House MMA has carved out a reputation for being a melting pot of martial arts wisdom. Whether you’re into grappling or striking, Black House has you covered, making it one of the must-visit MMA gyms in the United States. But if L.A. or Brazil are too far a trek, fret not..

#7 Jackson-Wink MMA, New Mexico

Next, let’s take a trip down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the desert sun meets the blazing passion for combat sports at Jackson-Wink MMA. Led by the indomitable duo of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, this gym has emerged as one of the most successful MMA training centres globally. Jackson’s prowess in MMA coaching combined with Winkeljohn’s striking expertise creates an unmatched training environment.

The roster of fighters produced here is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From Michelle Waterson and Holly Holm to the legendary Jon JonesLando Vannata, and Carlos Condit, Jackson-Wink MMA is like a production line for world champions and rising stars. With a focus on developing young talent from scratch, the gym serves as both a launching pad for newcomers and a refining forge for seasoned fighters.

#6 Longo and Weidman MMA, New York

Let’s jet over to the East Coast to the bustling suburbs of Long Island, New York, where one of the nation’s top MMA gyms—Longo and Weidman MMA—stands as a beacon for aspiring and professional fighters alike. Initially making its mark as Serra Longo, the gym is now owned and operated by two towering figures in the MMA world: Ray Longo and Chris Weidman.

What sets this centre apart? Its dedication to offering world-class instructions for all skill sets. Whether you’re a newbie trying to learn the ropes or an advanced fighter looking to fine-tune your skills, Longo and Weidman MMA has a spot for you. The gym has been a nurturing ground for notable fighters, such as the dynamic Aljamain Sterling, heavy-hitter Gian Villante, and of course, the co-owner himself, Chris Weidman. When you step into this gym, you’re not just training; you’re becoming a part of a legacy.

#5 Kings MMA, California 

Now, let’s surf our way to Huntington Beach, California, where the sun, sea, and a combat sports paradise await. Welcome to Kings MMA, a world-class facility that has become a second home for Brazilian fighters looking to make their mark on the MMA landscape. Under the expert tutelage of head coach Rafael Cordeiro, this gym has attracted a who’s who of legendary athletes.

The list of fighters to have trained at Kings MMA reads like a Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Think Fabricio WerdumLyoto MachidaWanderlei Silva, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua—fighters whose names resonate in the annals of MMA history. The gym’s philosophy is simple but effective: pair extraordinary talent with top-tier coaching, and champions will be born. If you’re looking to train among the best, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better gym than Kings MMA.

#4 Extreme Couture, Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas! But we’re not talking showgirls and slot machines; we’re diving into the world-class MMA training scene at Extreme Couture. Founded and spearheaded by the legendary former UFC Champion Randy Couture, this gym has turned into the premier martial arts training facility in Sin City. Situated in the heart of Las Vegas, the gym offers more than just neon lights; it promises top-tier martial arts services that have drawn a slew of elite fighters.

Names like Gray MaynardVinny Magalhaes, and Forrest Griffin have honed their skills under the gym’s formidable canopy. With a variety of training programs and world-class instructors, Extreme Couture is not just a gym; it’s an institution that crafts champions. Whether you’re a fledgling fighter or a seasoned professional, you can bet on a transformative experience at this Vegas staple.

#3 Alliance MMA, San Diego

Next, we fly south to the sunny shores of San Diego, where Alliance MMA stands as a powerhouse of combat sports training. Led by the distinguished head coach Eric Del Fierro, Alliance is more than just a gym—it’s a top-notch facility that has attracted some of the biggest fight organisations like Invicta FC and Bellator to train their rosters.

What sets Alliance apart? Cutting-edge facilities and top-notch training programs that cater to fighters of all levels. This has made it a breeding ground for some of the most celebrated fighters in the business, including former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cruz DominickAlexander Gustafsson, and Angela Hill.. It’s no surprise then that Alliance MMA has earned its place as one of the top 10 MMA gyms in the United States, fostering both emerging talents and established pros.

#2 American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), California

Let’s start with a gem on the West Coast. Nestled in San Jose, California, the American Kickboxing Academy, or AKA, is a name synonymous with MMA royalty. Founded in the 1980s, this gym has earned its stripes as one of the oldest and most prestigious training centres in the country. Known for its pressure-oriented, wrestling-heavy techniques, AKA has been a crucible for some of the most celebrated fighters in MMA history.

Imagine sharing the mat with the likes of undefeated phenom Khabib Nurmagomedov or light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. It’s not just a place to sweat; it’s a temple where champions are made. Names like Cain Velasquez and Leon Edwards have also graced this iconic institution, showcasing the enduring quality and legacy that AKA brings to the MMA community.

#1 American Top Team (ATT), Florida

Down in the Sunshine State, the American Top Team gym in Raton, Florida, stands as another pinnacle in the world of MMA. Often referred to as a ‘super gym,’ ATT is not just a facility; it’s an experience. Praised for hosting some of the best coaches in the world, it has magnetised champions and aspiring fighters from across the globe to soak in its unparalleled training environment.

When it comes to star-studded lineups, ATT is a heavyweight. Imagine rubbing elbows with Yoel Romero, strategizing with Jorge Masvidal, or catching a glimpse of the “Lioness” Amanda Nunes as she prepares for her next title defence. Here, it’s not just about training; it’s about becoming part of a lineage of champions. Whether you’re an amateur or a world-class athlete, American Top Team offers the platform to elevate your game to the next level.


And there you have it, the cream of the crop, the absolute best MMA gyms the United States has to offer. From state-of-the-art facilities to master trainers who can turn you from a scrappy beginner into a finely-tuned fighting machine, these gyms represent the zenith of what the world of combat sports has to offer. Each gym on our list brings something unique to the table—be it a specialty in a particular martial art, a lineage of champion fighters, or innovative training techniques that are changing the game.

But let’s not forget that in today’s digital age, the world is at your fingertips, and Spartacus ensures you don’t miss out. Whether you’re looking to catch the latest pay-per-view events, keep up with emerging talents through “kicks”, or glean wisdom from the masters via blogs and tips, Spartacus is the all-in-one app that brings the MMA universe to you.

So, whether you’re training for your first fight, looking to go pro, or just a fan eager to soak up all the combat sports action you can get, remember that your choices are not limited. Spartacus and these top-tier gyms offer you various pathways to embrace the indomitable spirit of a true warrior. Now, all that’s left is for you to take that step—step into the gym or step into the digital realm of Spartacus—and let your warrior journey begin!


What makes Sanford MMA in Florida a trifecta of sports excellence?

Sanford MMA, located in the sizzling Sunshine State, is a playground where champions are made. Founded by combat sports legends Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, the gym is a trifecta of sports excellence. First off, they offer sports performance training through XPE Sports. That’s the nitty-gritty of physical fitness and agility covered! Secondly, they provide jaw-dropping combat training that spans kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Finally, they’ve got a basketball training ground known as House of Hoops 365. The gym is like a sports universe unto itself, spanning a whopping thirty thousand square feet.

How does Team Alpha Male in California specialise in training lower-weight class fighters?

Make no mistake; size isn’t everything at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. Founded by MMA icon Urijah Faber, this gym is laser-focused on the smaller weight divisions. They recruit and train fighters in lower weight classes and mould them into indomitable forces in the MMA world. The gym has a knack for discovering and grooming pint-sized powerhouses like T.J. Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt, and Joseph Benavidez, who go on to dominate the world stage.

What diverse combat styles are focused on at Black House MMA in California?

Black House MMA in Los Angeles is a melting pot of martial arts wisdom. Founded by a Brazilian powerhouse trio, the gym incorporates an eclectic blend of martial arts, boxing, and American Wrestling. Whether you’re a striker, a grappler, or an all-around martial artist, Black House is the dojo where you can become a well-rounded fighter.

What is the training philosophy at Jackson-Wink MMA in New Mexico?

Ah, the desert sun in Albuquerque isn’t the only thing blazing—so is the training regimen at Jackson-Wink MMA. Led by MMA savants Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, the gym focuses on developing young talent from scratch. It serves as both a launching pad for newcomers and a refining forge for seasoned warriors, making it one of the most successful MMA training centres globally.

What sets Longo and Weidman MMA in New York apart in terms of world-class instruction?

Longo and Weidman MMA in Long Island isn’t just another gym; it’s a sanctuary for fighters at every skill level. Co-owned by MMA luminaries Ray Longo and Chris Weidman, the gym offers world-class instruction tailored to both beginners and advanced fighters. The place is more than a gym; it’s a legacy in the making.

Who are some of the legendary athletes that have trained at Kings MMA in California?

Step into Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, and you’re stepping into a Hall of Fame. Under head coach Rafael Cordeiro, the gym has been a magnet for MMA legends like Fabricio Werdum, Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva, and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. These are not just fighters; they’re the titans who have shaped MMA history.

What variety of training programs does Extreme Couture in Las Vegas offer?

Viva Las Vegas, but forget the casinos—Extreme Couture is where you want to bet your training time. Founded by MMA legend Randy Couture, the gym offers a variety of training programs helmed by world-class instructors. Whether you’re a novice or a professional, Extreme Couture has a program designed to elevate your fight game.

What makes Alliance MMA in San Diego a breeding ground for celebrated fighters?

Soak up the sun and martial wisdom in San Diego at Alliance MMA. Led by head coach Eric Del Fierro, the gym has cutting-edge facilities and top-notch training programs that cater to fighters of all levels. Talent like former UFC Bantamweight Champion Cruz Dominick and Alexander Gustafsson have honed their skills here, making it a fertile ground for greatness.

How has American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in California earned its reputation as one of the oldest and most prestigious training centres?

AKA in San Jose isn’t just a gym; it’s a temple where champions like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier have been made. Founded in the 1980s, the gym specialises in pressure-oriented, wrestling-heavy techniques. Its longevity and continued success in producing top-tier fighters have made it a storied institution in the MMA world.

What contributes to American Top Team (ATT) in Florida being referred to as a ‘super gym’?

ATT in Florida is more than a gym; it’s an MMA cosmos. Often called a ‘super gym,’ it hosts some of the best coaches globally and attracts international talent. Imagine training alongside fighters like Yoel Romero and Amanda Nunes! It offers an unparalleled training environment, from state-of-the-art facilities to a lineage of champions, making it a top pick for amateurs and pros alike.

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