why isn t judo used more in mma

Judo is a martial art that originated in Japan and is known for its emphasis on throws and grappling techniques. Despite its effectiveness in self-defense and its inclusion in the Olympic Games, judo is not as widely used in mixed martial arts (MMA) as other disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai. This article aims to explore the reasons behind the limited use of judo in MMA from various perspectives.

Lack of Striking Techniques

One reason why judo is not widely used in MMA is its relative lack of striking techniques. While judo practitioners are proficient in throws and groundwork, they often lack the striking skills necessary to compete effectively in MMA. Fighters who primarily rely on judo may struggle against opponents who have a strong striking background.

Furthermore, the rules of judo discourage striking, as it is primarily a grappling-based martial art. This limitation in training can hinder judo practitioners from developing the striking techniques needed in MMA.

Focus on Sport Rather than Combat

Judo is primarily a sport that emphasizes competition within a controlled environment. The rules and regulations of judo competitions prioritize safety and fair play, which may not directly translate to the unpredictable nature of MMA fights. The focus on winning within the confines of the sport can limit the adaptability of judo techniques in a more chaotic and combative setting like MMA.

In contrast, disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai have a stronger focus on real-world self-defense and combat scenarios, making them more applicable to MMA.

Ground Game vs. Stand-up Fighting

While judo excels in throws and groundwork, it may struggle when it comes to stand-up fighting. In MMA, fighters need to be well-rounded and proficient in both striking and grappling. Judo’s emphasis on throws and groundwork may not adequately prepare practitioners for the stand-up exchanges that are common in MMA bouts.

Additionally, judo’s reliance on gripping the opponent’s uniform (gi) can be a disadvantage in MMA, where opponents often fight without a gi. This difference in gripping strategies can make it challenging for judo practitioners to execute their throws and control their opponents effectively.

Less Emphasis on Submissions

Compared to disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, judo places less emphasis on submissions. While judo practitioners are trained in pins and joint locks, their focus is primarily on scoring points through throws. In MMA, where submissions play a significant role, judo practitioners may find themselves at a disadvantage against opponents with a stronger submission game.

Judo practitioners who wish to compete in MMA would need to supplement their training with additional submission-focused disciplines to be competitive in this aspect.

why isn t judo used more in mma

Weight Classes and Size Disadvantages

MMA has weight classes to ensure fair competition, but the nature of judo may put its practitioners at a size disadvantage. Judo’s emphasis on throws and leverage allows smaller individuals to overcome larger opponents. However, in MMA, size and strength can play a significant role, and judo practitioners may struggle against opponents who have a significant weight advantage.

While there have been successful judo practitioners in MMA, their size disadvantage can make it challenging to consistently perform against larger opponents.

Limited Exposure to MMA Training

Another reason why judo is not more widely used in MMA is the limited exposure judo practitioners have to MMA-specific training. Many judo dojos primarily focus on judo techniques and may not provide sufficient training in other aspects of MMA, such as striking or submission grappling.

Without proper training in all aspects of MMA, judo practitioners may find it challenging to transition their skills effectively to the MMA arena.


While judo is an effective martial art with a rich history, there are several factors that contribute to its limited use in MMA. The lack of striking techniques, focus on sport rather than combat, emphasis on throws and groundwork, less emphasis on submissions, weight class disadvantages, and limited exposure to MMA training all play a role in judo’s limited presence in MMA. However, it is important to note that there have been successful judo practitioners in MMA, and with proper adaptation and training, judo can still be a valuable asset in the world of mixed martial arts.

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