MMA 101: A Beginner’s Guide to the Ultimate Combat Sport

December 27, 2022
From: Spartacus
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MMA has taken the world by storm, captivating millions of fans with its heart-pumping, bone-crunching action. But let’s face it, if you’re new to MMA, it can be a bit overwhelming. With its various striking and grappling techniques, it can be hard to know where to start. Fear not, my friend! This article is your ultimate guide to MMA 101, providing you with all the basics you need to know to dive into the exciting world of MMA. Whether you’re just curious about the sport or you’re itching to get in the ring, this guide will give you the perfect starting point to unleash your inner fighter.

What Is MMA?

Get ready to rumble with mixed martial arts (MMA), the ultimate combination of different martial art styles into one comprehensive combat sport. It all started with a bang when fighters from different martial arts styles could compete with each other and finally answer the age-old question, “which martial art is the best?” But as it turns out, each martial art has its pros and cons, and it’s more about how skilled the fighter is at their particular style than the specific style they train in.

The early days of MMA were ruled by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters like Royce Gracie, who took down their opponents and submitted them. But back then, there weren’t many rules, and almost anything was allowed. Fast forward to today, and MMA has become a global sport with unified rules that have paved the way for mainstream acceptance.

As the sport grew, so did the combat style, with trainers realizing the efficiency of teaching different aspects of fighting under one roof. Nowadays, MMA gyms are as popular as any other martial art, and for good reason. MMA is the ideal martial art for self-defense as it allows you to punch, kick, elbow, knee, slam, clinch, grapple, and submit opponents.

The average MMA fighter understands the fundamentals of BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling, and boxing, making it a comprehensive and effective martial art for any fighter. So if you’re ready to take your fighting skills to the next level, get ready to rumble with MMA!

History of MMA

It all started back in the day when fighters from different martial arts styles would argue over which one was the best. Was it karate? Was it wrestling? Was it judo? Well, there was only one way to find out: by pitting these fighters against each other in the ring and letting them duke it out.

The early days of MMA were no-holds-barred, and anything was fair game. Fighters would punch, kick, grapple, choke, and slam each other into submission. And let me tell you, it was intense.

But as the sport grew in popularity, so did the need for rules. The unified MMA rules were eventually developed, making MMA a more legitimate sport in the eyes of the public.

Nowadays, MMA is a comprehensive martial art that combines striking, grappling, wrestling, and more into one badass fighting style. It’s the ultimate test of skill, endurance, and heart.

From the dominance of Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in the early days to the rise of strikers like Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell, the history of MMA is filled with legendary fighters who have pushed the sport to new heights.

And as the sport continues to evolve, so do the fighters. MMA gyms are now as popular as any other martial art, with people from all walks of life looking to learn the skills needed to compete in the octagon or defend themselves in real-life situations.

So if you’re looking for a martial art that combines the best of all worlds, look no further than MMA. 

Why Should You Learn MMA?

Are you ready to take your self-defense skills to the next level? Sure, every martial art has its own approach to self-defense, but why limit yourself to just one style? With MMA, you can learn a blend of striking, grappling, and submission techniques that will give you a well-rounded set of tools to protect yourself in any situation. And the benefits don’t stop there! Here are a few more reasons why MMA is the ultimate martial art for those who want to improve their physical and mental health.

Unleash Your Inner Warrior

MMA is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. By learning the art of mixed martial arts, you’ll tap into your inner warrior and discover a whole new level of self-confidence and empowerment. You’ll walk with a swagger, knowing that you can handle yourself in any situation that comes your way. Who needs a cape when you’ve got MMA skills?

Total Body Transformation

Forget about boring workouts that make you want to hit the snooze button. MMA is the ultimate full-body workout that will leave you feeling like a superhero. With each punch, kick, takedown, and submission, you’ll be burning calories, building muscle, and sculpting a physique that would make Bruce Lee proud. Say goodbye to the treadmill monotony and hello to an exhilarating and dynamic training regimen.

Master of Agility and Coordination

Want to move like a ninja? MMA will take your agility and coordination to the next level. With its blend of striking and grappling techniques, you’ll develop lightning-fast reflexes, swift footwork, and precise hand-eye coordination. You’ll be dodging punches, executing takedowns, and pulling off incredible submissions with the finesse of a graceful dancer. Who needs a dance floor when you’ve got the MMA mat?

Unleash the Stress-Buster

Life can be a rollercoaster ride, but MMA is your ultimate stress-buster. Imagine stepping onto the mat and releasing all your pent-up frustrations through powerful strikes and controlled grappling. It’s like therapy, but with gloves and a mouthguard. The endorphin rush and sense of accomplishment after a hard training session will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world.

The Ultimate Mental Game

MMA is not just about physical strength; it’s a mental game as well. Training in MMA teaches you discipline, focus, and resilience. You’ll learn to push through challenges, face your fears, and never back down. It’s like a mental boot camp that hones your mind, sharpens your instincts, and gives you the mental fortitude to tackle any obstacle that comes your way.

Lifelong Camaraderie

When you step into the world of MMA, you’re not just joining a gym, you’re joining a family. The camaraderie and bond you form with your training partners and coaches are priceless. Together, you’ll sweat, bleed, and triumph, forging friendships that will last a lifetime. From celebrating victories to pushing each other to be the best, you’ll have a support system like no other.

Elements of MMA

MMA is like a thrilling recipe that combines the perfect blend of ingredients to create the ultimate combat sport. Let’s break down the elements that make MMA the spicy dish that it is:


Imagine a fiery dance of punches, kicks, elbows, and knees, where fighters unleash their striking skills like fiery bolts of lightning. It’s like a symphony of powerful strikes that can make your head spin (literally!).


Now, let’s add a sprinkle of ground game. Picture fighters getting down and dirty, grappling like wild beasts, using techniques from wrestling, judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s like a strategic chess match on the mat, where fighters twist, turn, and lock their opponents into submission.


Ah, the secret sauce of MMA! Here’s where the magic happens. With submissions like chokes and joint locks, fighters have the power to make their opponents tap out or take a little nap. It’s like a game of human twister, where flexibility and technique reign supreme.


To handle this explosive mix, fighters need to be as fit as a cheetah chasing its prey. Stamina, strength, and agility are the name of the game. They train like relentless machines, pushing their bodies to the limits, so they can go the distance and come out victorious.

Mental Toughness

MMA is not just about physical prowess; it’s about having the heart of a lion. It takes mental toughness to step into that cage, to face your fears, and to never back down. It’s like a battle of wills, where fighters overcome adversity and show their true warrior spirit.

What Sports Are In MMA?

In the world of MMA, fighters don’t play by one set of rules. They’re like a mixed bag of tricks, blending various sports and martial arts to create their own killer fighting style. Want to know what makes MMA fighters so fierce? Check out some of the key sports and martial arts that contribute to this wild and wacky world of combat:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

This ground-based martial art focuses on submissions and grappling techniques, allowing fighters to control and submit opponents on the ground.


The sweet science of boxing teaches fighters how to effectively strike with their fists, employing techniques such as jabs, hooks, uppercuts, and footwork.

Muay Thai

Hailing from Thailand, Muay Thai is known as the “art of eight limbs” because it utilizes punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. It emphasizes powerful strikes and clinching techniques.


Wrestling techniques, whether it’s freestyle, Greco-Roman, or folkstyle, play a crucial role in MMA. Wrestlers excel at takedowns, control on the ground, and utilizing their strength to overpower opponents.


This Japanese martial art focuses on throws and grappling techniques. Judokas use leverage and timing to off-balance opponents and gain advantageous positions.


Kickboxing combines elements of boxing with kicking techniques. It incorporates punches, kicks, knees, and sometimes elbows, creating a dynamic striking style.


Karate emphasizes powerful strikes, quick movements, and precise technique. Fighters with a karate background often utilize their kicks and punches with speed and precision.


This Korean martial art focuses on high, fast kicks and jumping and spinning kicks. Taekwondo fighters employ impressive kicking techniques in their arsenal.

These are just a few of the many sports and martial arts that contribute to the diverse and captivating world of MMA. It’s the blend of these various disciplines that makes MMA such an exhilarating and unpredictable sport. Fighters combine their skills and adapt their techniques to create their own unique style, resulting in breathtaking displays of athleticism and strategy inside the cage.

MMA Equipment: What Do You Need?

Let’s break down the essential pieces of equipment and we also have some great recommendations for equipment from our very own Spartacus MMA Fighters, that you’ll need to get started and have some fun!

First up, hand wraps! Think of them as the superhero cape for your hands and wrists. They’ll give you the support you need while protecting you from any harm. Spartacus MMA recommends the Venum Boxing Hand wrap.

Next, we have mouthguards. You definitely don’t want to lose your pearly whites, do you? Get a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaw while you spar or compete. The Opro Power-Fit Mouthguard is a favourite among Spartacus MMA’s fighters. 

Now, let’s talk about MMA gloves. These gloves are designed specifically for MMA training and competition, and they’ll keep your hands and wrists safe while also keeping your opponent protected. We recommend the Venum MMA gloves.

Don’t forget about hand pads. They’re perfect for practising striking techniques and keeping your hands and wrists safe from any unwanted injuries. An excellent option for MMA hand pads is the Fairtex Contoured Boxing MMA Muay Thai Training Hand Pads and recommended by Spartacus MMA fighters. 

Looking to work on your cardio? Get yourself a jump rope! It’s an easy and effective way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and footwork. The Crossrope Get Lean Set is a premium jump rope set that comes with two interchangeable ropes, one for speed and one for power. The ropes are made of durable materials and can be easily adjusted to suit your height. The set also comes with a free app that provides workout plans and tutorials.

Resistance bands are another versatile piece of equipment that can be used for strength and conditioning exercises. And you know what’s great? You can take them anywhere! WODFitters Resistance Bands are made of high-quality natural latex rubber and come in a variety of resistance levels. They are durable, easy to use, and suitable for a wide range of exercises, from pull-ups to squats.

Feeling a bit stressed? Why not try yoga? Get yourself a yoga mat and start practising your downward dog to relieve some tension.

Shin guards are an essential piece of equipment for protecting your shins during sparring or competition. Don’t let a shin injury bring you down! The Hayabusa T3 Kanpeki Shin Guards are made from premium full-grain leather and feature a triple-layer foam padding system for maximum protection and shock absorption. They also have a secure closure system and adjustable straps for a customised fit and are a favourite among Spartacus MMA’s fighters. 

Lastly, head gear is used to protect your head and face during sparring. You definitely don’t want a black eye or a swollen nose, do you? We recommend the Hayabusa T3 Kanpeki Headgear which is made with full-grain leather, this headgear is designed to offer maximum protection and comfort with multi-layer foam padding and a secure closure system.

Remember, you don’t need to buy all this equipment at once. Start with the basics and add more as you progress. And always check with your gym or instructor before purchasing any equipment to ensure that it meets their standards and is appropriate for their training program. Now, let’s gear up and have some fun!

How to Get Started in MMA?

It’s time to unleash your inner warrior and learn the ropes of this exciting sport! Here’s a quick guide on how to get started:

Find a gym

The first step is to find an MMA gym in your area. Look for a gym that offers classes in various disciplines such as BJJ, Muay Thai, wrestling, and boxing. This will help you develop a well-rounded skill set.

Get the right gear

To get started, you’ll need some basic gear, such as MMA gloves, hand wraps, shin guards, and a mouthguard. Don’t forget to wear comfortable workout clothes that allow you to move freely.

Attend classes

Once you’ve found a gym and have your gear, it’s time to attend classes. Start with the basics and gradually work your way up to more advanced classes. Listen to your coaches and take the time to perfect your technique.

Train consistently

Consistency is key in MMA. Make sure to attend classes regularly and put in the time and effort to improve your skills. You’ll see progress in no time!

Spar with teammates

Sparring is an essential part of MMA training. It allows you to test your skills and put your techniques into practice. Don’t be afraid to spar with your teammates – they’re there to help you improve.

Have fun

Last but not least, remember to have fun! MMA is an exciting and challenging sport, but it should also be enjoyable. Embrace the process, challenge yourself, and have a blast while doing it!

What are MMA Promotions?

Let’s talk about MMA promotions. Think of MMA promotions like a big, juicy hamburger with all the toppings you love. It’s the tasty event that brings together the best fighters from all around the world, seasoned with the excitement and energy of the crowd. These promotions are like the bun that holds everything together and provides the perfect platform for fighters to show off their skills.

Just like burgers come in all shapes and sizes, MMA promotions also come in various types. Some are big and flashy, like a gourmet burger with all the fixings. These promotions attract the top fighters in the world and are typically held in large arenas with thousands of screaming fans. They often have elaborate stage setups, pyrotechnics, and top-notch commentators to keep the crowd engaged and excited.

Other promotions are more like a classic cheeseburger – simple, yet satisfying. These events are usually held in smaller venues, but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the big promotions, but they offer a more intimate experience where you can get up close and personal with the fighters.

No matter what type of burger or promotion you prefer, they all have one thing in common: they bring people together. MMA promotions provide a platform for fighters to showcase their talents, but they also bring fans from all walks of life together to cheer on their favorite fighters. It’s a community where everyone is welcome, and everyone can share in the excitement of the sport.

Let’s take a look at some of the top promotions in the MMA world!

  • First up, we have the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the biggest and most well-known MMA promotion in the world. Founded in 1993, the UFC has brought us some of the greatest fights in MMA history and is home to some of the sport’s most popular fighters.
  • Next on our list is Bellator MMA, which was founded in 2008 and has quickly become one of the biggest competitors to the UFC. Bellator has a stacked roster of talented fighters and is known for its exciting matchups and production value.
  • One of the newer promotions on the scene is ONE Championship, which was founded in 2011 and has become the largest MMA promotion in Asia. ONE Championship features some of the top fighters from across the continent and has a reputation for putting on incredible events with top-notch production.
  • Spartacus MMA is a mixed martial arts organization and is one of the most respected MMA promotions. Spartacus MMA Fight Events feature some of the best fighters from across the world and around the world, competing in various weight classes and showcasing their skills in the octagon. The organization is known for its high-quality production, exciting matchups, and commitment to promoting the sport of MMA. Spartacus MMA is definitely a promotion to watch for MMA fans who want to see top-notch fights and up-and-coming talent.

So, the next time you’re craving a burger, think of it as a metaphor for MMA promotions. Just like a delicious burger, MMA promotions are a satisfying and exciting way to bring people together for a good time.


Whether you’re a curious spectator or someone looking to step into the world of MMA, you now have a solid foundation to start your journey. Remember, MMA is not just about physical prowess but also about mental strength, discipline, and continuous learning.

As you dive deeper into the world of MMA, be open to exploring different martial arts, honing your skills, and pushing your limits. Embrace the challenges, the victories, and the setbacks along the way, for it is through these experiences that true growth and transformation happen.

Whether you’re a fan cheering on your favorite fighters or a future MMA superstar in the making, always approach the sport with respect, sportsmanship, and a passion for the craft. MMA is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life that teaches us perseverance, courage, and the pursuit of excellence.

So, gear up, train hard, and unleash your inner warrior. The world of MMA awaits you with open arms. Now go out there and make your mark in the ultimate combat sport!


What is MMA and how did it evolve?

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, a combat sport that combines various martial arts disciplines into one. Initially, it was a contest between fighters of different styles to prove which martial art was superior. Now, it’s a comprehensive art form with unified rules where fighters blend techniques from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, and wrestling.

Why should someone learn MMA?

Learning MMA is like hitting the gym and a philosophy class at the same time. It’s not just about fighting; it’s a holistic approach to self-defence, physical fitness, and mental well-being. The sport improves agility, coordination, and mental focus. Plus, there’s a strong sense of camaraderie among practitioners.

What are the key disciplines involved in MMA?

Think of MMA as a delicious mixed martial arts salad. The key ingredients are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for ground combat, Boxing for fist striking, Muay Thai for all-around striking including elbows and knees, and Wrestling for takedowns and ground control. Other arts like Judo, Kickboxing, and Karate can also be thrown into the mix.

What essential equipment do I need to start MMA training?

To get in the game, you’ll need hand wraps, mouthguards, MMA gloves, and shin guards as your starter pack. As you progress, add items like hand pads, headgear, and resistance bands to your arsenal.

How can I get started in MMA?

Step one: Find a reputable MMA gym. Step two: Grab the basic gear. Step three: Start attending classes, focusing on the basics first. Step four: Train consistently. Step five: Begin sparring with teammates. Don’t forget to have fun along the way!

How do I choose the perfect MMA gym for my training?

Location and reviews are a good starting point. Check Google Maps and read reviews. Also, ask your MMA-savvy friends for recommendations and consider the gym’s culture by browsing their social media. Make sure the gym offers classes in various disciplines to help you become a well-rounded fighter.

What are MMA promotions and how do they vary?

MMA promotions are the events where fighters showcase their skills. Some promotions are like a gourmet dinner – flashy with top fighters and huge arenas, like the UFC. Others are like a home-cooked meal, smaller but intimate, focusing on local talent.

What should I focus on as I progress in my MMA journey?

Consistency is key. Work on mastering different disciplines, listen to your coaches, and spar regularly to apply your skills. Always be open to learning and perfecting your techniques.

Is MMA just about physical strength or does it also require mental discipline?

MMA is a full-body workout for your brain and biceps alike. Physical prowess gets you in the ring, but mental strength, discipline, and focus keep you there. The sport teaches perseverance, courage, and the pursuit of excellence.

What is the role of nutrition and recovery in MMA training?

Don’t underestimate the power of the plate and the pillow. Nutrition fuels your workouts and aids in recovery, so a balanced diet rich in protein, carbs, and healthy fats is crucial. Hydration is equally vital. As for recovery, it’s more than just rest days. Think stretching, foam rolling, and perhaps even some yoga to keep your body in top condition. After all, your body is your ultimate weapon in MMA, so take good care of it.

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