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Differences between MMA and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)

The fighting sports of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) almost complement one another. While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a way of life, MMA is usually considered as a sport. BJJ is a disciplined way of channeling your opponent’s might instead of exerting your own, it needs quick thinking. There are a lot less restrictions in MMA, making it somewhat akin to a street fight. That explains why intense MMA matches are more bloody than equally intense BJJ matches.

The level of violence in the battles, the technique employed, the mental toughness required, the regulations governing striking and kicking, and the ultimate result are where these two sports diverge most.

When describing the differences between these two martial arts, we ought to be careful since both MMA and BJJ heavily influence one another and therefore comparing them can be quite challenging. We’re going to have a look at differences in-depth between MMA and BJJ in this post.

What is Mixed Martial Arts?

Pankration, an ancient Greek sport that was included in the Olympics in 648 B.C., is where MMA got its start. It permits the use of a wide range of fighting methods and combat skills from a variety of other combat sports in competition.

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a fusion of many martial arts. The striking techniques used in MMA may include Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, or even Karate.

Three general strategies are used by two competitors in MMA to try to dominate the other: Control, Finishing Grips, and Striking. It is usually fought inside a cage, which is a fighting area enclosed by metal fencing.

Many MMA practitioners are trained experts in various martial arts, such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo. Wrestling is another common addition, and it’s a great ability to acquire for ground control and takedowns.

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

The birthplace of BJJ is Japan. It then relocated to South America. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, commonly abbreviated as BJJ, is a martial art that emphasizes grappling and is practiced on the ground.

The technique that renders the opponent helpless is the foundation of BJJ. It teaches how to defeat an opponent by employing leverage and proper technique, focused physical strength, and applying chokeholds and joint locks.

It is a common belief that if you are physically small but are an expert in BJJ, you can compete against opponents twice your size. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu art form is supported by four main foundations: Self-Defense, MMA Version, No-Gi Version, and Classic BJJ

What are the main differences between MMA and BJJ?

The differences between MMA and BJJ are discussed in more detail below.

Types of MMA Fighting Styles

  • Muay Thai: It influenced elbow, knee, and kick strikes used in mixed martial arts. Due to the significant usage of the shins, knees, elbows, and hands in muay thai, it is also popularly known as “The Art of Eight Limbs.”
  • Boxing: Boxing is the most popular MMA sport. High-speed punches that are directed at particular parts of their opponent’s body are used by skilled boxers to battle. The real secrets of boxing are reflex, speed, perfect technique, aggression, and discipline.
  • Wrestling: Techniques used in wrestling often involve throwing and holding the opponent on the ground while holding them in advantageous positions. Wrestlers are renowned for being explosive and aggressive, and having powerful bodies.
  • Karate: With a variety of striking techniques like elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks, and punches, Karate is one of the most energizing mixed martial arts practiced today.

Types of BJJ Fighting Styles

  • Pressure Passing Style: To wear down your opponent, you need to continually bear down on them. Passing in this manner reduces the likelihood that the adversary will keep their guard up.
  • Open Guard Style: Any position in BJJ when your feet are not locked around your opponent’s waist is known as an “open guard.” You are in the driver’s seat and a sweep of your opponent is very likely if you have four points of contact with either your opponent’s ankle, foot, legs, hips, arms, and sleeves.
  • Loose Passing Style: The loose passing technique emphasizes anticipating and timing the next move of your opponent. Loose passes are usually made while standing up and start far away.
  • The Half Guard Style: The easiest way to describe a half guard is as a guard that allows control of one of your opponent’s legs utilizing both of your legs while they are halfway past your guard.

Gi Chokes

Some of the most popular chokes in BJJ, such as the bow and loop choke, are ineffective in MMA. Gi chokes may be applied from practically any angle, but they are most effective when you have taken your opponent’s back or are facing them directly.


Striking is utilized in MMA grappling. In MMA, you can strike your opponent while they are on the ground. On the other hand, BJJ strictly prohibits striking. Fists, kicks, elbows, and knees can all be used as strikes to create the possibility of a grappling match or harm your opponent.

Striking describes adversaries engaging in hand-to-hand combat while standing. While striking can be a part of a fighter’s ground strategy in MMA, grappling arts generally govern how to fight on the ground.

Catch Wrestling

Catch wrestling is a common technique used by MMA fighters when tussling on the ground. Conversely, catch wrestling techniques are not permitted by BJJ practitioners.

Catch wrestling is a violent and rough kind of grappling that does not award positional points and focuses entirely on controlling the opponent. Catch wrestling places a lot of emphasis on the ideas of dominance and suffering.

Training Clothes

MMA: The primary training attires required for MMA training are:

BJJ: You can wear shorts and a t-shirt preferably without pockets to your BJJ training. People may sometimes put on a GI kimono. However, you have to put on spats, jiu-jitsu shorts, and a rash guard when competing in No-Gi.

Guidelines for Kicks and Strikes

  • MMA: In MMA matches, competitors are allowed to use elbow-and-hand attacks, leg kicks, and knee strikes.
  • BJJ: BJJ was created as a platform for self defense to control an assailant without blows. In BJJ, strikes and kicks are not permitted. However, throws, grappling, and locks can be used to subdue opponents. Little strikes are permitted in specific situations.

Physical and Mental conditions

  • MMA: To win, you need to learn a variety of craft inventive methods and martial arts techniques combinations. It calls for a lot of physical and mental fortitude.
  • BJJ: Compared to MMA, it demands less physical strength. When you are on the ground, though, you need to use all of your mental energy to concentrate on how to subdue your opponent through a chokehold or joint lock.

MMA or BJJ: Which Is Better For Self Defense?

Which Martial Art Is Better? This is a common dilemma arising amongst youths. Since both approaches are successful in their own ways, this problem is difficult to resolve with a straightforward solution.

BJJ is the way to go if you want to acquire some excellent self-defense methods because it will help you out in that area. But if you want to profit from many more other disciplines as well and master various grappling and striking methods, MMA is for you.

Many MMA competitors specialize in a particular Martial Art, but in order to be a well-rounded fighter, they should also be familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Due to their lethal striking, MMA fighters have the power to stop a battle right away. If the fight does end up on the ground, BJJ will allow you to dominate a larger opponent.

Self-defense is among the main motivations for beginning martial arts. Which of these skills is truly ideal for your self defense will depend on the circumstances around a particular scenario.

Pros and Cons of MMA and BJJ

MMAConsists of several martial arts and strikingLonger time to gain belts with a greater danger of head injuries
Enhances overall health and cardiovascular fitnessPossibility for brain damage following repeated head trauma
Can gain more strengthMMA might encourage violence
You’ll develop into a skilled fighterThe aggressive nature of MMA can severely influence adolescents
BJJIs great for learning Gi and reduces danger of head injuriesNo striking and little emphasis on other martial arts
Ensure your ability to better protect yourself one on oneA person who is placed in one of the various holds that are taught in BJJ will experience great discomfort
Traditional ideals and philosophiesNot appropriate for many opponents
Wonderful for all agesMay not be ideal for self-defense, especially in a one against many situation

Is BJJ harder than MMA?

The wide variety of styles in MMA make it challenging, whereas the taxing grapples and ground-based nature of BJJ make it more complex. Even for physically fit individuals, learning BJJ discipline won’t be simple.

As a result, many people are drawn to MMA because of how challenging BJJ is to learn. MMA fighters aren’t taught how to defend against submissions, therefore, they would simply be taken down by BJJ practitioners and submitted while on their backs.

Which is more popular: MMA or BJJ?

MMA: Behind soccer and basketball, MMA is the third most popular sport worldwide. A lot of theorists predict that by the end of the decade, MMA may rank among the top sports worldwide. UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), a company with over 900,000 average viewers per event, is MMA’s top event organizer.

BJJ: Although BJJ is not widely practiced, it has a sizable following in competitions, gyms, and camps. Even if the BJJ discipline is well-liked, the UFC receives far more media attention.

Should You Train For MMA or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Mixed Martial Arts

MMA might be your cup of tea if you like the idea of boxing and grappling combined. The level of intensity is very high during MMA training as punching, wrestling, and kicking are all used. MMA can therefore be compared to a super workout.

These days, finding an MMA training center is rather simple. Even UFC-branded fitness centers exist where you can go to learn. You’ll be teached several ways on how to submit, wrestle, and strike.

Learning self defense techniques through MMA by hurting yourself may not always be the greatest idea for everyone as MMA is a very intense sport.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

If you enjoy engaging in physical contact with other people, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be an excellent fit for you. BJI is a powerful martial art because you will employ the strategies when you are up against an opponent.

Although BJJ training can be physically taxing, it is not always the most intensive of martial arts. After a practice, you will most likely have broken a good sweat as you become physically exhausted.

Since you can hone your skills in actual combat circumstances, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be very helpful in self-defense scenarios. BJJ is also safer because there are no head hits, but if you do not like the notion of getting hurt by other people, this might not be for you.

Here are a few more suggestions to make the aforementioned points easier:

Select MMA:

  • If you are a mature fighter and equipped to withstand attacks
  • If self-defense is your primary criteria
  • To learn how to hit, punch, or strike
  • If you enjoy aggressive fighting styles

Select BJJ:

  • If you are looking to break into fighting sports
  • If you prefer a relatively safe sport without risk of impact injuries
  • If you wish to improve your balance and coordination
  • If you do not want your face to get hit


When attempting to select a winner amongst these two martial art techniques, there are numerous aspects to take into account.

Consider the following: How good are you at sports? Do you have enough time to pick up a lot of new skills? Want to learn how to strike or stay away from it? Do you want to be laser-focused or versatile? You’ll have a fair idea of what to choose based on the responses to these queries.

While an MMA athlete typically has a broad background in most martial arts, a BJJ practitioner specializes in submission ferocity. With MMA practitioners having the option to use strikes, both of these forms offer excellent takedown offense and defense.

There will always be a brief period where MMA’s striking art has the upper hand over BJJ’s grappling technique, but that period usually passes pretty fast.

You will see the following similarities for each discipline:

  • Developing respect for your adversary and other individuals as a whole
  • Finding a group of people who share your views
  • Gaining greater equilibrium (emotionally and physically)
  • Increasing strength

The most important point to remember is to begin your training and give the art in which you are interested an honest effort.

MMA is a better alternative for street combat since it uses two-handed attacks from a standing position, whereas BJJ mostly uses ground moves and grappling.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a self-defense technique, yet traditionally there was no striking involved. Opponents were defeated and fights were won via grappling and submissions. As the art has developed, it is not surprising to sometimes find punches and kicks among the strikes taught in some self-defense courses.

MMA and UFC are not interchangeable terms. Mixed Martial Arts is a type of exercise. The organization known as Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, advertises MMA fights. Comparing the MMA and UFC to one another is akin to comparing the NBA to basketball.

People love MMA because they see it as a never-ending learning experience. Even after years of training, you cannot become an expert in every facet of MMA, thus there is always something useful to learn in this discipline.

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