Sports FAQ
Home / Mixed Martial Arts

Why do you think wrestling is so effective in MMA?

LordZardoz2011-04-15 05:18:24 +0000 #1
Obviously wrestling has proven to be useful. The ability to either put someone on the ground or to avoid being put on the ground has a huge impact on how the fight may turn out.

But why do you think Wrestling has proven to be so dominant as compared to other potential 'bases' for MMA (Judo, Sambo, BJJ, Karate, Boxing, Mui Thai, Kickboxing / K1, Tae Quon Do, etc)?

Do you think it is something fundamental to the techniques involved? Is it just a result of raw quantity of potential wrestlers? Or is this a result of the number opportunities to compete?

My own thinking is that it is mostly because there are a massive number wrestling programs linked to schools in the US combined with the multiple levels of championships (high school, state, and national college level). If we woke up in a bizarro world where all those wrestling programs were say, Judo programs, we would be seeing Judo have that level of dominance in MMA.

So I would say it is mostly due to the number of opportunities to compete. The level and availability of competition available for wrestling is better than what you can find for pretty much anything else.


BulldogWrestler2011-04-15 05:21:17 +0000 #2
All of the other bases require a fight to be in a certain arena (i.e. standing, top ground, bottom ground, etc) in order to be effective. Wrestling can be effective anywhere and mixes well with all of the other aspects of fighting.

For example, a guy with a super solid wrestling base can incorporate kickboxing, traditional american boxing, or whatever into his wrestling fairly easily. BJJ and traditional Japanese jujitsu molds VERY well with wrestling as well. So the transition is easier.

Judo is the exact same way. The problem is that you don't have many high level judokas transitioning into MMA (probably has a lot to do with the trains of thoughts that go along with practicing Judo). We caught a glimpse of what was possible with Karo.

Also, you have to consider that MMA is largely American based - and that there is no shortage of good American wrestlers.
Tallica19812011-04-15 05:28:39 +0000 #3
the obvious reason is being able to decide where the fight takes place.

Other factors you mentioned like the presence in the school system contribute to the nuber of high level wrestlers.

I think some of the more important elements include work ethic, cardio, familiarity with cutting weight, and core streangth.

The other issue that helps is the perception of being on top in a fight. Despite how far the sport has come and how educated people are, there is a notion that if you are on top of someone you ae fighting with, you appear to be winning. Things like time limits allow a wrestler to appear dominant for brief periods of time and win based on the system that is in place for the sport. It also doesn't hurt that a takedown, or a slam resonate so much more than a nice inside hook or a slick submission attempt. They are visually much more noticeable and change the entire plane on which the fight is being contested.
Vanno2011-04-15 05:53:39 +0000 #4
Wrestling itself provides the ability to dictate the terms of a fight, which is a huge advantage. Aside from that, I think a large reason that so many wrestlers are successful is that they are elite athletes. Very few sports have conditioning programs that could be even compared to wrestling. So, wrestling itself is a powerful tool, but it doesn't really account for all the success.
Wahoo082011-04-15 06:42:38 +0000 #5
I agree with all the ideas thrown out. The popularity of wrestling in MMA's largest market (the United States), the high level of competition (which forces a strong work ethic to be successful), the fact that it decides where a fight takes place (meaning you takedown the striker and keep the BJJ guy on his feet), the short rounds (less time to get caught in a submission), and the judging criteria (the amount of emphasis put on the takedown and top control) are all huge factors. The one other thing I would add is that the dress requirements of modern MMA favor the wrestler as well. The lack of a gi makes many of the throws in Judo at the very least, harder to pull off and makes many of the chokes used in both Judo and BJJ irrelevant. A lack of clothing also places more emphasis on the double/single leg takedowns.

Kind of on topic, it's also one of the faults of MMA as a self-defense style- unless you live of the beach, you're missing out on a lot by not learning the various types of chokes and submissions that can be used with your opponent's clothing.
Iron Maiden2011-04-15 05:53:57 +0000 #6
Why is wrestling so effective? Because the rules of the sport cater to it. Take a guy down 10 times, lay on him, do next to nothing, you win.



Other posts in this category