What’s the connection between MMA and wrestling?
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.