why wrestling important in mma

why wrestling important in mma

Wrestling is an essential component of mixed martial arts (MMA) and plays a crucial role in the success of fighters. In this article, we will explore why wrestling is important in MMA from various perspectives. From takedowns to control on the ground, wrestling skills provide fighters with a strong foundation and a competitive edge in the cage.

1. Takedowns

One of the primary benefits of wrestling in MMA is the ability to execute takedowns. Wrestlers are trained to shoot for takedowns with speed, precision, and power. This skill allows them to take their opponents down to the ground, gaining an advantageous position from which they can control the fight.

Furthermore, wrestlers often have a wide variety of takedowns in their arsenal, including single-leg, double-leg, and high crotch takedowns. This versatility makes them unpredictable and difficult to defend against, giving them an upper hand in the fight.

2. Ground Control

why wrestling important in mma

Once a wrestler successfully takes their opponent down, their expertise in controlling opponents on the ground becomes evident. Wrestlers excel in maintaining top position, utilizing techniques such as the sprawl, crossface, and rides to prevent their opponents from escaping or reversing the position.

Effective ground control not only allows wrestlers to dominate the fight but also sets them up for various submission attempts or ground-and-pound strikes. Their ability to dictate the pace and positioning on the ground can significantly influence the outcome of the match.

3. Defensive Skills

Wrestling also provides valuable defensive skills in MMA. Wrestlers are trained to defend against takedowns, which is crucial when facing opponents with strong striking abilities. By utilizing their wrestling techniques, such as sprawling, sprawling, and whizzering, wrestlers can avoid being taken down and keep the fight standing.

Additionally, wrestlers have excellent hip control, balance, and body awareness, allowing them to avoid being swept or submitted on the ground. These defensive skills enable wrestlers to nullify their opponents’ attacks and maintain a dominant position throughout the fight.

4. Conditioning and Endurance

Wrestling is a physically demanding sport that requires exceptional conditioning and endurance. Wrestlers undergo intense training sessions that improve their cardiovascular fitness, strength, and agility. These attributes are crucial in MMA, where fights can last for multiple rounds and require constant movement and explosiveness.

Wrestlers are accustomed to the grueling nature of their sport, which gives them an advantage in MMA. Their superior conditioning allows them to maintain a high pace throughout the fight, outlasting their opponents and potentially capitalizing on their fatigue.

5. Mental Toughness

Wrestling instills mental toughness in its practitioners. The sport requires discipline, perseverance, and the ability to overcome physical and mental challenges. Wrestlers develop a strong mindset that allows them to push through fatigue, pain, and adversity.

This mental toughness translates well into the MMA arena. Wrestlers are often more resilient, able to endure punishment, and maintain focus during high-pressure situations. Their mental strength gives them an edge in the cage, enabling them to make quick decisions and adapt to changing circumstances.

6. Transitioning between Striking and Grappling

Wrestling seamlessly integrates with other martial arts disciplines in MMA. Wrestlers possess the ability to transition between striking and grappling, making them well-rounded fighters. They can close the distance, initiate clinches, and take the fight to the ground, or disengage and utilize their striking skills when advantageous.

This versatility confuses opponents and allows wrestlers to dictate the range and style of the fight. By effectively blending striking and grappling, wrestlers can exploit their opponents’ weaknesses and capitalize on opportunities.

7. Control of the Fight

Wrestling provides fighters with an excellent foundation for controlling the fight. By utilizing takedowns, ground control, and defensive skills, wrestlers can dictate the pace, positioning, and overall flow of the match. This control allows them to neutralize their opponents’ strengths and implement their own game plan effectively.

Controlling the fight also plays a crucial role in scoring points with the judges. Wrestlers who dominate the position and maintain control throughout the bout often score higher and increase their chances of winning the fight.

8. Utilization of Wrestling Techniques in Submissions

Wrestling techniques can be seamlessly incorporated into submission attempts in MMA. Wrestlers have a solid understanding of body mechanics, leverage, and pressure, which allows them to apply submissions with precision and efficiency.

For example, wrestlers often excel in executing guillotine chokes or front chokes due to their understanding of head control and pressure. They can also use their wrestling skills to secure dominant positions, such as mount or back control, from where they can launch various submission attacks.


Wrestling is undeniably important in MMA. From takedowns to ground control, defensive skills to mental toughness, wrestling provides fighters with a well-rounded skill set that can make a significant difference in the cage. Its influence on various aspects of the sport makes it an essential discipline for any aspiring MMA fighter.

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