Where Dedicated Wrestlers Become Champions

MMA AND WRESTLING

What’s the connection between MMA and wrestling?

MMA and Wrestling

Jerry Jones Kneebar

With the explosion of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), MMA and wrestling are on everyone’s tongues. Wrestlers are dominating the MMA world. On Sherdog’s Top 10 Pound for Pound Fighters, five have a wrestling background. That is not including #1 Georges St. Pierre who could wrestle for the Canadian national team if he wanted to. This begs the question: Why are wrestlers so dominate in MMA?

The short answer is control.

If you have been a wrestler your takedowns are exceptional against the competition you will likely face in MMA. In MMA and wrestling if you can take your opponent down, you control the contest.  Another way to put it, the better wrestler in a fight, dictates where the fight will take place. If you think your standup game is better than your opponent’s, you keep the fight on your feet. If your ground game is better, (which is more often the case with wrestlers in MMA and grappling) you take your opponent down and fight from there.

Grappling is the key link to MMA and Wrestling

Wrestlers pick up grappling/Jiu Jitsu very quickly. I personally can speak to this as I have been practicing Freestyle Jiu Jitsu for over a year now. Grappling like MMA and wrestling is all about your position. Wrestlers’ greatest asset is their positioning. If you have incredible positioning in grappling, MMA and wrestling you are hard to beat even if you offer little else as my WRESTLING STANCE post explained.

Your instincts in grappling are more often right than wrong from all of the years of wrestling. You have conditioned your body to do what is correct without even thinking about it. I do moves all the time that my Freestyle Jiu Jitsu instructor asks where I learned that or if I can show him again. Wrestling just works for Jiu Jitsu and it is the connection between MMA and wrestling.

The million dollar question:

Is the link between MMA and wrestling a good thing?

Again the short answer is yes. The reasoning behind my belief is simple. We all know from life experiences that money is king. MMA and particularly the UFC, bring in gobs of money. They have a vested interest in protecting wrestling programs throughout the country. If their best competitors are wrestlers they cannot let wrestling fall into obscurity. Eventually they will have to invest their money into non-profits like Saving Wrestling to literally save the sport from Title 9. That is another post for another day altogether.

For now know this; wrestlers will continue to dominate the MMA world. And if you want to be the best in both MMA and wrestling, improve your TAKEDOWNS.

10 Comments

  1. August 10, 2011    

    You hit the nail on the head.. control. With wrestling you can control your opponent and wear them out. Compared to striking, which can be very effective with the right person, your whole body is grinding someone out as opposed to the chances of 1/16th of your body actually connecting. I think of MMA as a numbers game. That philosophy helps me when I am on the mat. I just started wrestling/grappling a couple years ago btw.

    • August 11, 2011    

      Good points. Thank you.

    • October 27, 2016    

      Whoa, whoa, get out the way with that good inomtoarifn.

    • November 14, 2016    

      Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of putting it!

    • November 15, 2016    

      « toute les richesses ne sont pas forcément des espèces sonnantes et trébuchantes »Ã§a me rassure parce que je suis en train de vous faire livrer 500kgs de cacao en fèves (y’a que ça ici). C’est ma contribution. Si vous n’arrivez pas à le vendre je vous envoie la doc pour faire son chocolat soi-même.

  2. Lou N. Lou N.
    December 14, 2011    

    Hi Mike,
    I have a 15 yr old nephew who is heavy into NAGA competition and training.He performs very well. I have suggested that he get into HS wrestling as he is good athlete and may be eligilble for a college scholarship someday. He responds that wrestling will teach bad habits. What is your take on this?
    thanks,
    LN

    • Craig Hannigan Craig Hannigan
      December 14, 2011    

      Hey Lou,
      I am a black belt instructor under Jerry Jones and I instruct in Bloomfield NJ. I 100% agree with you that wrestling would be great for him and complement his grappling/jiu jitsu skills. Skills that he will acquire include but are not limited to: Great take downs and take down defense, mental toughness, body control and the ability to control an opponent, matt experience, endurance, stamina, and strength.

      I have seen high level wrestlers learn a couple submissions and submission defenses and walk on at a tournament and win at an expert level.

      If you watch UFC the days of a pull guard black belt are over. It is all about taking someone down and staying on top. If you have a good wrestling base you can go to a NAGA tournament and if you take someone down and put them into side control you are going to start every match up 4-0.

      In addition to the improvements it will make to his Martial Arts background it also will give him a sport that could result in a scholarship which currently MMA/Grappling/Jiu Jitsu can’t do.

      To address the bad habits he is worried about, the benefit/cost ratio is well in his favor and him already understanding the sport of Jiu Jitsu will prevent that from happening to him.

      I hope this helps.

      PS When I won my first NAGA expert level belt it was mainly due to a double leg take down that I did in the beginning of the match. The person that I beat was not as good as a wrestler as me but he was a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu and in the martial arts hall of fame.

      Sincerely
      Craig Hannigan

      • May 13, 2016    

        I can’t believe you’re not playing with me–ahtt was so helpful.

  3. Craig Hannigan Craig Hannigan
    December 14, 2011    

    Hey Lou,
    I am a black belt instructor under Jerry Jones and I instruct in Bloomfield NJ. I 100% agree with you that wrestling would be great for him and complement his grappling/jiu jitsu skills. Skills that he will acquire include but are not limited to: Great take downs and take down defense, mental toughness, body control and the ability to control an opponent, matt experience, endurance, stamina, and strength.

    I have seen high level wrestlers learn a couple submissions and submission defenses and walk on at a tournament and win at an expert level.

    If you watch UFC the days of a pull guard black belt are over. It is all about taking someone down and staying on top. If you have a good wrestling base you can go to a NAGA tournament and if you take someone down and put them into side control you are going to start every match up 4-0.

    In addition to the improvements it will make to his Martial Arts background it also will give him a sport that could result in a scholarship which currently MMA/Grappling/Jiu Jitsu can’t do.

    To address the bad habits he is worried about, the benefit/cost ratio is well in his favor and him already understanding the sport of Jiu Jitsu will prevent that from happening to him.

    I hope this helps.

    PS When I won my first NAGA expert level belt it was mainly due to a double leg take down that I did in the beginning of the match. The person that I beat was not as good as a wrestler as me but he was a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu and in the martial arts hall of fame.

    Sincerely
    Craig Hannigan

    • Lou N. Lou N.
      December 14, 2011    

      Hi Craig ,
      This is great information coming from an expert source. You obviously have the background to support this. I will forward this to my nephew.
      Many Thanks,
      LN

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