Where Champions Train and Dreams Take Flight in Dublin’s MMA Scene

October 6, 2023
From: Spartacus
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Dublin, renowned for its literary legends, historic landmarks, and the undulating cadence of Irish melodies, has added yet another feather to its cap – becoming a beacon for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Europe.

Beneath the shadow of its iconic Spire, and amidst the bustling lanes echoing with tales of yore, a new narrative is being penned—one of discipline, resilience, and combat prowess. As the global MMA scene burgeons, Dublin, with its unique blend of traditional fighting spirit and contemporary training methodologies, has emerged not just as a participant but as a formidable contender. 

This article aims to shine a spotlight on Dublin’s burgeoning MMA scene. By weaving through the city’s premier MMA training facilities, we aim to provide a detailed account of their philosophies, training methodologies, and significant contributions to the world of combat sports.

Through this exploration, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of how Dublin, a city steeped in history and culture, has emerged as a formidable hub for MMA in Europe. Whether one is a budding fighter seeking the right training ground, an MMA aficionado curious about the sport’s evolution in Dublin, or simply a reader intrigued by the confluence of traditional Irish spirit and modern combat disciplines.

SBG Ireland (Straight Blast Gym)

Situated in the vibrant heart of Dublin, SBG Ireland represents a confluence of tradition and modernity. Led by John Kavanagh, a master tactician and visionary in his own right, the gym has transformed from a local training facility to a global MMA powerhouse. Its foundational philosophy hinges on the application of functional techniques.

Rather than just training fighters in rote movements, SBG delves deep into the rationale behind each move, ensuring fighters understand the why, not just the how. This emphasis on understanding and practical application is encapsulated in their ethos of “One Tribe, One Vibe.” Every member, be they a novice or a seasoned professional, is made to feel part of a close-knit community, bound together by mutual respect and shared aspirations.

In the realms of coaching, SBG Ireland stands apart. Kavanagh and his team ensure a multifaceted approach to training, combining the intricacies of traditional martial arts with the dynamic techniques of contemporary MMA. While rooted in age-old practices, there’s a constant endeavor to innovate, to integrate new methods and strategies reflective of the evolving MMA landscape.

The facility itself is a testament to this commitment to excellence. Sprawling mat areas beckon grapplers, while the latest striking equipment awaits those keen to hone their stand-up skills. Cages for sparring provide an authentic environment, closely simulating the adrenaline of an actual fight night. But perhaps the most glowing testament to SBG’s prowess is its alumni. Conor McGregor, with his meteoric rise in the world of MMA, is often the first name that comes to mind. However, delve a bit deeper, and you find a plethora of talent like Gunnar NelsonMakwan Amirkhani, and Artem Lobov, all sculpted and refined under the SBG banner.

Team Ryano MMA

Emerging from Dublin’s combat sports tapestry is Team Ryano MMA, an institution that has become synonymous with martial excellence. Founded by the astute Andy Ryan, a veteran with decades of combat sports experience, Team Ryano epitomizes a balance between reverence for martial arts traditions and a keen understanding of the demands of modern MMA. Respect, discipline, and a quest for knowledge form the pillars of its foundational philosophy. Every training session is a journey, a step closer to mastery, and an opportunity for self-discovery.

Ryan and his team of coaches have crafted a curriculum that is as expansive as it is intensive. Drawing from Ryan’s deep roots in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the gym offers rigorous grappling training. However, this focus on BJJ doesn’t come at the expense of other disciplines. Striking, wrestling, and cage work are all integral components of the training regimen, ensuring fighters emerge as versatile, well-rounded athletes. The facility mirrors this commitment.

With vast grappling spaces, top-tier striking tools, and cages that provide a real-world fight feel, Team Ryano offers an environment that’s both challenging and nurturing. And while it might not have the global celebrity status associated with gyms like SBG, its impact on the Irish MMA scene is indomitable. Fighters like Paul Redmond and Neil Seery, both of whom have left an indelible mark on the sport, are shining examples of Team Ryano’s dedication to nurturing top-tier talent.

Fight Academy Ireland (FAI)

In Belfast’s heart, Fight Academy Ireland stands tall, not just as a beacon for the city’s MMA enthusiasts but also as a symbol of Ireland’s broader commitment to the combat sports realm. FAI is rooted in the belief that the essence of martial arts is a balance of mind, body, and spirit. This harmony is essential, not just for professional bouts but also for personal growth, resilience, and mental fortitude.

The coaching methodology at FAI is a fusion of tradition and innovation. Recognizing that the world of MMA is ever-evolving, the trainers ensure that the foundational techniques are solidly grounded, even as they integrate newer tactics and strategies from the global MMA scene. Such a progressive approach to training is made possible by the academy’s elite cadre of instructors, each with a rich history in various martial art disciplines and real-world combat scenarios.

Facilities at Fight Academy Ireland are a testament to its dedication to the sport. The expansive training areas, equipped with the latest gear, facilitate both group sessions and focused one-on-one training modules. Specialized equipment for striking, grappling, and strength conditioning ensures that fighters have all the tools they need to prepare for any challenge. Over the years, FAI has also been the nurturing ground for many professional fighters, cementing its status as one of the premier MMA training centers in the region.

Malahide Martial Arts

Situated in the picturesque seaside town of Malahide, this gym emerges as a significant epicenter for martial arts training. Malahide Martial Arts is more than a mere training establishment; it encapsulates the spirit of martial disciplines in every facet of its being. The foundational philosophy of the gym reverberates the idea that martial arts are not solely about combat but encompass broader life lessons on discipline, perseverance, and respect.

At Malahide Martial Arts, training is an amalgamation of time-tested traditional techniques combined with contemporary combat tactics, reflecting the multifaceted nature of modern MMA. With an array of disciplines on offer, including the fast-paced world of MMA, the coaching strategy is tailored to the individual needs of each student. This personalized approach ensures that every practitioner, from novices to seasoned fighters, is equipped with skills that align with their goals and aspirations.

The facilities at Malahide are top-notch, designed to cater to the diverse disciplines it offers. From expansive grappling mats to state-of-the-art striking equipment, the gym provides a conducive environment for honing skills and pushing one’s limits. Over the years, many fighters have called Malahide Martial Arts their training home, each absorbing the wealth of knowledge and expertise the gym has to offer.

Rush Martial Arts

Rush Martial Arts, established in the heart of Rush, carries with it the legacy of its founder, the esteemed former UFC fighter, Paul Redmond. His experiences and insights from the world of professional fighting imbue the academy with a distinctive ethos and training methodology.

The philosophy at Rush Martial Arts is rooted in the belief that martial arts offer an avenue for holistic development. While combat skills are at the forefront, the emphasis is equally on mental fortitude, strategic thinking, and resilience. Paul Redmond’s experiences in the high-pressure world of UFC fights have greatly influenced the gym’s coaching methodologies. Each training regimen, while grounded in foundational martial techniques, is interspersed with real-world combat scenarios, preparing fighters for the unpredictabilities of actual bouts.

When it comes to equipment and facilities, Rush Martial Arts leaves no stone unturned. The gym boasts an array of state-of-the-art training gear tailored for various disciplines, from MMA to Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The environment is electric, with every training session pulsating with intensity, mirroring the passion and dedication of its founder.

Paul Redmond’s reputation in the MMA world has naturally attracted many aspiring fighters to Rush Martial Arts. The gym has been instrumental in shaping numerous fighters, offering them the tools, techniques, and mindset required to excel in the demanding world of MMA.

Kyuzo Gym

Located in the bustling city of Dublin, Kyuzo Gym stands as a citadel of martial arts mastery. With its deep-rooted commitment to fostering excellence, Kyuzo has rapidly ascended the ranks to become a sought-after destination for martial arts enthusiasts, particularly those drawn to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. At its core, Kyuzo’s philosophy underscores the profound respect for the traditions of martial arts while constantly evolving to embrace modern techniques and training methods.

The training landscape at Kyuzo is vast and varied, yet every session is united by a singular objective: achieving mastery through consistent effort and unwavering discipline. With a specialized focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, practitioners are guided through the intricate webs of grappling, control, and submissions, making it a haven for ground combat aficionados. Simultaneously, the MMA training modules ensure a comprehensive understanding of the sport, balancing striking, ground game, and strategic combat.

The Kyuzo facility emanates an aura of purpose and dedication. Outfitted with premium quality mats, cages for MMA training, and specialized equipment for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it provides an optimal environment for both novices and seasoned fighters to refine their skills. Kyuzo Gym, with its impeccable training standards and a reputation for producing adept fighters, continues to make significant contributions to Dublin’s MMA and BJJ landscapes.

Fantom Gym

Nestled in the heart of Dublin, Fantom Gym emerges as a sanctuary for those passionate about combat sports. This establishment, while exuding a contemporary vibe, remains deeply connected to the age-old traditions and values of martial arts. Fantom’s foundational philosophy centers around holistic growth. The belief is that martial arts, be it MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or Muay Thai, are not just physical disciplines but pathways to personal growth, mindfulness, and discipline.

What sets Fantom Gym apart is its eclectic mix of offerings. Whether it’s the rhythmic dance of Muay Thai, the strategic grappling of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or the dynamic world of MMA, the training at Fantom is comprehensive, ensuring that practitioners are well-rounded and versatile. The coaching staff, a blend of seasoned veterans and dynamic young instructors, brings a fresh, innovative approach, ensuring each student receives tailored guidance, irrespective of their proficiency level.

The infrastructure at Fantom Gym mirrors its commitment to excellence. From sprawling mat areas tailor-made for BJJ to striking zones equipped with the latest Muay Thai pads and bags, every corner of the gym is optimized for intensive training. Additionally, the MMA cages and dedicated sparring areas provide an authentic combat experience, prepping fighters for real-world scenarios.

As Fantom Gym continues to grow and evolve, its impact on Dublin’s martial arts scene remains undeniable. With its diverse training modules and a steadfast commitment to excellence, Fantom stands as a testament to the city’s ever-growing passion for combat sports.

Primal MMA

Primal MMA, situated amidst Dublin’s vibrant athletic landscape, has swiftly carved out a niche for itself, emerging as a beacon for MMA devotees. The gym exudes a palpable sense of purpose and dedication, which can be attributed to its ethos: a relentless pursuit of martial excellence combined with the holistic development of its members.

At the heart of Primal MMA’s soaring reputation lies its impeccable coaching staff. Comprising seasoned fighters, veteran trainers, and specialists across various disciplines, the team brings together a wealth of knowledge, insights, and experiences. Their training methodology seamlessly melds foundational martial techniques with advanced combat strategies, ensuring that every session is both rigorous and enlightening.

The infrastructure at Primal MMA is a testament to its commitment to providing a world-class training environment. Spacious grappling areas, cutting-edge striking equipment, and specialized zones for MMA drills ensure that practitioners have all the tools they need to hone their craft. Given its comprehensive MMA programs, every member, be it a novice or a professional, finds a trajectory tailored to their aspirations and skill level.

As Primal MMA continues its journey, it solidifies its position as one of Dublin’s premier MMA training destinations, setting benchmarks in coaching quality and comprehensive training.


Traversing through Dublin’s MMA sphere offers a poignant revelation: The city’s combat sports scene is as rich and layered as its history. Each training facility, each corner of a gym, resonates with stories of determination, of dreams sculpted through sweat and perseverance. From gyms that have birthed world champions to those forging a new path with innovative techniques, Dublin stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of fighters and the passion of those who train them. 

But the world of MMA extends beyond the training mats and the echoing thuds of punches and kicks. For those who wish to delve deeper into this realm, Spartacus serves as a beacon. As an avant-garde in combat sports, Spartacus provides a holistic view of the combat world through its app. Laden with content that ranges from live TV broadcasts, exclusive PPVs, to an expansive reservoir of news, insights, and expert analyses, it ensures that enthusiasts remain at the forefront of all things MMA. 

As we conclude this exploration of Dublin’s fighting essence, let’s remember that the story of MMA is ongoing, ever-evolving. And with platforms like Spartacus, we are all part of this narrative, witnessing and partaking in a sport that continually redefines the boundaries of human spirit and skill. In the ever-challenging arena of combat, the journey is as significant as the destination. So, let’s lace up, step onto the mat, and embrace the fight.


Why is Dublin emerging as a hub for MMA in Europe?

Dublin, the vibrant heart of Ireland, is steadily making its mark as a focal point for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Europe. The city’s rise can be attributed to a confluence of factors: its deep-rooted fighting spirit, a surge of top-tier training facilities, and the emergence of world-renowned fighters. Furthermore, as the MMA community grows, Dublin has been successful in blending its rich traditions with cutting-edge training methodologies, giving it a unique edge in the European MMA landscape.

How does the historical and cultural fabric of Dublin influence its MMA scene?

Dublin’s historical and cultural tapestry, embroidered with tales of resilience, passion, and a fierce fighting spirit, has seamlessly intertwined with its modern MMA narrative. The city, renowned for its literary prowess and musical heritage, channels the same intensity and fervor into the sport, creating an atmosphere where the age-old Irish spirit meets the dynamic world of combat sports.

How has John Kavanagh’s leadership transformed SBG Ireland into a global MMA powerhouse?

John Kavanagh’s visionary leadership has been instrumental in elevating SBG Ireland from a local establishment to a global MMA icon. Under his guidance, the gym has not only produced top-tier fighters but has also introduced innovative training methods. Kavanagh’s unique blend of traditional martial values and modern combat techniques has positioned SBG Ireland at the forefront of MMA training worldwide.

What is the importance of understanding the “why” behind each move in MMA, as emphasized by SBG Ireland?

At SBG Ireland, the emphasis is not merely on executing moves but understanding their underlying rationale. This holistic approach ensures that fighters are not just mechanically skilled but are also tactical thinkers. By grasping the “why” behind each move, they can adapt and improvise during combat, giving them a distinct advantage in the cage.

How does Team Ryano MMA balance traditional martial arts with the demands of modern MMA?

Team Ryano MMA strikes a harmonious balance between honoring martial arts traditions and adapting to the evolving demands of modern MMA. Founded by Andy Ryan, the gym integrates the discipline and respect inherent in traditional martial arts with the dynamic techniques and strategies of contemporary combat sports. This equilibrium ensures that fighters are well-rounded, rooted in martial values, and equipped for modern challenges.

What sets Fight Academy Ireland’s coaching methodology apart from other MMA gyms?

Fight Academy Ireland (FAI) stands out for its holistic approach to martial arts training. Rooted in the belief that martial arts is as much about mental fortitude and personal growth as it is about physical prowess, FAI offers training that nurtures both the body and the spirit. Their methodology seamlessly merges foundational techniques with advanced combat strategies, reflecting the evolving nature of MMA.

How does Malahide Martial Arts blend time-tested techniques with modern combat tactics?

Malahide Martial Arts thrives on blending traditional martial techniques with contemporary combat tactics. Recognizing the value in time-tested methods, the gym also acknowledges the necessity of innovation to stay relevant in the fast-paced world of MMA. This dual focus ensures that practitioners are grounded in martial values while being equipped with cutting-edge combat skills.

How has Paul Redmond’s experience in UFC influenced the training methodologies at Rush Martial Arts?

Paul Redmond’s storied UFC journey deeply influences the ethos and training methodologies at Rush Martial Arts. Drawing from his experiences in high-pressure fights, the training at Rush emphasizes real-world combat scenarios, strategic thinking, and adaptability. Redmond’s insights ensure that fighters are prepared for the unpredictabilities of actual bouts.

What makes Kyuzo Gym a sought-after destination for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts in Dublin?

Kyuzo Gym, with its unwavering commitment to excellence in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), has become a magnet for enthusiasts in Dublin. Beyond its state-of-the-art facilities, Kyuzo’s reputation rests on its elite cadre of instructors, comprehensive training modules, and a culture that fosters both skill acquisition and personal growth.

How does Primal MMA ensure comprehensive training for both novices and professionals?

Primal MMA distinguishes itself by ensuring a rounded training experience for all its members. Recognizing that every individual has unique needs and aspirations, Primal MMA crafts tailored training trajectories, ensuring that both novices and seasoned fighters receive optimal guidance. By blending foundational techniques with advanced combat strategies, the gym ensures comprehensive training for every member.

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