BOXING VS UFC
Combat sports has become one of the most watched sporting disciplines in the world, as boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts are notorious for high calibre knockouts, and show stopping entertainment. Boxing is still the most popular combat sport in America, with Mixed Martial Arts starting to close the gap. Both of these combative forms have a high reputation for quality striking, and a formidable resilience in mental toughness. Pitting these two styles together has been done many times, as quite often high level boxers, and pure Mixed Martial Artists will battle inside of the octagon. MMA fighters have also been known to cross over into boxing, as athletes like Connor McGregor and Anderson Silva have fought against notorious boxers Floyd Mayweather, and Jake Paul.
What this article covers:
- The Origin of The UFC
- The Origin of Boxing
- Boxing in Mixed Martial Arts
- Boxing Training Systems
- Who Would Win Between a Boxer and an Mma Fighter
There are different factors that go into a fight between these two high quality Martial Artists, and depending on the rule sets in the fight, this will determine the outcome of this potential match up. A boxer is purely a striker, as they will use speed, evasive footwork, and rotational movements in their hips to engage their opponents with combat. A Mixed Martial Artist has a completely different mindset, as they will use a more patient approach towards their opponents. MMA athletes utilise a much broader range of technical components like takedown maneuvers, throwing punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, and a highly reputable system of wrestling, and submission ferocity.
THE ORIGIN OF THE UFC
For decades after Bruce Lee starred on the big screens, and the western world was going nuts for Martial Arts, the fight community were heavily disputing which art was the best. Many styles like kick boxing, karate, jiu jitsu, judo, muay thai or boxing, were all in competition to be the number one form of combat. In 1993 these questions would see answers, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship was born with one purpose, to see which Martial Art form would be supreme. The formation of the UFC was inspired by the 'Gracie's in Action' video series, which showcased the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as the Gracie family would challenge various styles of Martial Arts such as karate, kung fu, kick boxing, and vale tudo.
The founders of the UFC, Art Davie, John Milius, and Rorion Gracie, all put together an eight man tournament called 'War of the Worlds' featuring different styles of Martial Arts. This event was a highly unique proposition at the time, and with the very limited rule set, athletes from all disciplines would battle for bragging rights, and for their respective Martial Arts supremacy within the fight community. John Milius was a film director, and a student of Rorion Gracie, as he became the event's creative director. Art Davie constructed a business plan, and gathered twenty eight investors to help fund WOW Promotions, and the initial television franchise.
The inaugural event was held at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado in the United States of America, and with no weight classes, the tournament went off with a bang. Rorion's younger brother Royce Gracie starred in the event and defeated the world champion Savate fighter Gerard Gordeau in the final, to take out the championship. As the event evolved so did the rule sets, as the organisers would work out the little kinks to make the events fairer, and more entertaining. These innovations led to many Martial Artists developing different styles, and integrating them together into one collaborative style. This unearthed a brand new style of Martial Arts, and this hybrid style of combat would be known as Mixed Martial Arts. Nowadays the popularity of modern Mixed Martial Arts has bred a brand new style of competitor that competes in MMA events around the world like the UFC, Bellator MMA, the XFC, and One Championship.
THE ORIGIN OF BOXING
Boxing dates back centuries, as many early recordings have been found in Ancient Egyptian, Indian, Northern Iraqi, and Greek cultures. The act of two men beating each other with their bare hands was a barbaric practise, but was widely considered as a popular sporting event. The Ancient Greeks were so involved with hand to hand combat that they would often fight to the bitter end for pride, and glory in Olympic contests. The evolution of this formidable style of combat sports began to shape into a more organised sport, as the introduction of more rules made boxing less brutal. Even though these contests were still extremely rough, at least the elements of fighting to the death were phased out over generations.
Centuries later, boxing became popularised throughout the United States of America, and Great Britain. However, this sport was still considered brutal, and was outlawed in most parts of these countries. This forced an underground coalition of prize fighting events that were organised by various casino organisations. Fights were often bet on by spectators, making these underground boxing events even more dubious, as racketeering, and fight fixing crept into the sport. From an athletic standpoint, the athletes were only searching for legitimisation, so they could build their reputations as notorised fighters. This was only met with more scrutiny from the government, and the upper class citizens, as the sport threatened to become extinct.
A lot of hard work was done by fight promoters, and athletes within the sport to help legitimise their form of combat. It took several years, but by 1867 a new era of boxing was born, as the Marquess of Queensberry Rules was implemented. This gave the sport some credibility, and legitimacy, as the art now incorporated timed rounds, the wearing of boxing gloves, and a roped ring to contest the bouts. There were still many hurdles that the sport faced, but in 1892 the first ever boxing champion Jim Corbett was crowned, and the sport began to gain significant popularity within the government, and the higher percentage of society. This evolution catapulted boxing into the future, where the sport is now a multi billion dollar commercial enterprise that has raised some of the world's most iconic, and skilful fighters the world has ever seen.
BOXING IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
The UFC has an extensive array of Martial Artists, and all of them with their own specific expertise in certain forms of combat. One of the main styles of combat seen in modern Mixed Martial Arts is boxing, as many athletes will add this formidable striking art to their repertoire. Due to the many faces of MMA, athletes have a necessity to use caution during a fight, and this is because of the takedown, ground and pound, and submission game. This makes combative arts like kick boxing a harder prospect to pull off in an MMA fight. This is why athletes will generally use boxing tactics, because it is one of the easiest forms of combat that an athlete can employ, and adapt to a modern MMA match up.
The modern era of Mixed Martial Arts has seen a multitude of successful boxing inside of the cage, and utilising these tactics has seen many talented fighters take the spotlight. Athletes like Connor McGregor, Junior Dos Santos, Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Holly Holm, Dustin Poirier, TJ Dillashaw, Anderson Silva, and Cody Garbrandt have all become iconic legends inside of the cage. It takes perseverance, and resilience to make boxing work inside of an MMA fight, and mastering this systematic form of striking takes dedication, and consistency. Watching a high calibre knockout inside of the cage is one of the most exciting prospects that an MMA fight has to offer, and athletes that can prevail, especially under the pressure in a fight, are well on their way to becoming a champion in the sport.
THE MODERN DAY MIXED MARTIAL ARTIST
The modern day Mixed Martial Artist has an extremely powerful arsenal of weapons to choose from, and utilising striking, takedowns, positional control, and submissions, can be a lethal combination. Nowadays MMA athletes are extremely well rounded, and even though they may specialise in one specific form of combat, they do work extensively on all aspects of the fight game. There are many forms of combat that are extremely useful to a Mixed Martial Artist, and they need to have at least a good combination of wrestling, boxing and jiu jitsu. They will also need a considerable amount of strength and conditioning, and this is because their opponents are always looking at every possible edge to stay ahead of the game.
In recent years orthodox boxing vs southpaw stances has been a common way that boxers will confuse their opponents during an MMA fight. Boxers have to try anything they can to get ahead of a Mixed Martial Artist, and this is due to the fact that an MMA athlete has a substantial amount of presence inside of the UFC octagon. Even though an MMA athlete does not usually specialise in one specific Martial Art, they do have an exceptional well rounded set of skills that is more beneficial to an MMA fight, then one predominant skill set. A true Mixed Martial Artist will cater for all avenues of the fight game, as they will traditionally have exceptional skills in wrestling takedowns, wrestling control positions, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or sambo submission techniques, and a prominent set of striking skills in boxing, kick boxing, karate, muay thai, or taekwondo.
MMA TRAINING SYSTEMS
Training for a combat sport like Mixed Martial Arts takes an intense amount of energy, and discipline. There are many factors that go into an athlete's training set ups, and any serious cage fighter must develop all aspects of the fight game. The first element is striking, and this means the athlete needs to develop one or more systems of striking. Because MMA involves elbows, knees, and kicks as well as punches, boxing is simply not enough, as an athlete will need to pick up another art form like kick boxing, karate, or muay thai to enable a greater striking ability. Becoming proficient in striking also means they must develop their take down defense, as a fully confident striker will know how to remain on their feet, while they are looking to execute many of their fight ending knocking out blows.
Another aspect of Mixed Martial Arts is wrestling skill, and this is a commonly overlooked one, as many fighters think they only need striking, and submissions to become a well rounded fighter. This couldn't be further from the truth, as any experienced Mixed Martial Artist will use an extensive range of wrestling skills for multiple reasons. The first is to execute a wide variety of takedown maneuvers, and the second is so they can utilise a strong system of positional control. Using wrestling during a Mixed Martial Arts fight will help an athlete neutralise their opponent, in order to land efficient ground and pound striking techniques.
The last element that needs to be practiced is submission skills, and this can be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, Catch Wrestling, or even some forms of Judo. The aspect of being able to submit an opponent inside of the cage is critical in becoming an experienced and well rounded fighter. Not all fights can be won by a knockout, and sometimes using a submission can be the only way to finish off an opponent. Strangling an opponent inside the middle of the cage can also be highly rewarding, and athletes that prevail in this kind of Martial Arts often are able to add in striking elements to help execute a wide variety of submission maneuvers.
BOXING TRAINING SYSTEMS
Training to become a formidable boxer takes a lot of hard work, and dedication to the athletic training systems. Boxers have a few different aspects that they must sharpen up if they are to have a chance against a pure Mixed Martial Artist. Footwork is vital to winning any fight inside of the cage. The one aspect that boxers do excel in, is their ability to trap their opponents in the pocket. This means footwork skills to corner their opponent, and giving them no escape from a boxer's athletic, and powerful punches. Training in footwork skills can be done by shadow boxing, which is a solo drill designed to force an athlete to explore their footwork ability, as they throw punching combinations into the air. There are many other drills like lateral shuffling, forward and backward shuffling, pivoting, level changing, and jumping in diagonally to expose the weak side of their opponent.
Boxers of course will be working extensively on their punching ability, and this has many different elements attached. Punching technique is crucial for being able to throw any form of decent punch in a combat match. Working on speed, and fluency is how an athlete can obtain fast and accurate punches, with good timing, and rhythm. Working on power by hitting the heavy bag, or the focus mitts will help athletes gain an incredible amount of power within their punch. One of the most important aspects for a boxer is to utilise head movement, and this is a great way to throw off the opponent, so they can land more effective punching combinations. Boxers will need to be unpredictable if they are to ascertain any form of ascendancy over a Mixed Martial Artist.
WHO WOULD WIN BETWEEN A BOXER AND AN MMA FIGHTER
Shedding light on the question of boxing vs mma who would win has already been given multiple answers. There have been many fights inside the UFC between boxers, and Mixed Martial Artists, and they are all commonly won with Mixed Martial Arts skills. It is very rare to see a boxer win in MMA with pure boxing skill, as even the most talented boxer will utilise technical components from Mixed Martial Arts. Of course a boxer will always have a chance of winning a fight in the UFC, and this is because striking has become a pivotal part of the combat sport. A boxer will use clinical skills like lateral movements, forward and backward shuffling so they can close the distance, and step in and out of range, as they look to either evade counter strikes, or step in close and execute fight ending punching combinations. What makes a boxer so devastating is their ability to pivot, and rotate their hips, as they can maximise the weight distribution into their punch, and achieve a higher level of power into their opponents.
A Mixed Martial Artist can have the same skills as a boxer, as they will commonly practice boxing skills, but most of them do not have the same ferocity as a professional boxer. This is because a Mixed Martial Artist will break up their training schedule into different components like jiu jitsu, wrestling and boxing, along with other forms of combat. An MMA fighter has the unique ability to take their opponents down to the mat, and use dominating control to neutralise their opponents, as they execute either ground and pound, or submission ferocity. In most cases a Mixed Martial Artist will always achieve the victory against a pure boxer. This is because a boxer that has not adapted to the rigorous variations of MMA will struggle with a Mixed Martial Artist's arsenal of weaponry.
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