Do You Want To Learn The Best MMA Styles?

When looking into just what is mixed martial arts, you have to look at the many styles people utilize. While people can work with many styles, most contenders place a strong emphasis on one particular style and use that as the main one for competition. Let’s look at a few of the best MMA styles people use and how these are organized based on different strategies or types of actions.

The Three Main Categories

Before looking at the individual styles, you should know that they are divided up into three separate categories. Each has its own standards in terms of how combat is to be organized:

  1. Standup

The standup style is a basic hand-to-hand format. It entails two people in a standing position. Contenders will strike at each other and often block attacks. This is a format where knockouts often occur at although this can also lead to ground combat.

  1. Clinch

A clinch style is a grappling format. Two people are standing but are grabbing onto one another. Competitors often clinch at one another to keep opponents from punching or kicking. This is often a point where the fighters move from a standup style to a ground combat style. The goal is to tackle one person to the floor and limit that person’s mobility in the process.

  1. Ground

Ground fighting takes place on the floor. Two contenders are on the ground grappling at one another with the intention of limiting one’s mobility. This is a method of combat where submissions are more likely to take place at. It entails people aiming to keep control of each other with the general goal being to have as much of an advantage over the other fighter as possible.

Note: There is also a 4th category in martial arts for weaponry but that is beyond the purpose of our discussion so it was not included. 

Individual Styles

best mma styles in action

Now that we understand the basic style categories, we can take a look into some of the best MMA styles used and how they fit in with these areas.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu JItsu is a prominent method of ground combat. It focuses on grappling at the start with an emphasis on throws. It then moves towards joint locks, chokes and other ground combat moves.

BJJ does not entail striking. It focuses on controlling an opponent and then applying a joint lock or other submission hold.

Outfits are typically reinforced as a means of handling the physical efforts involved in BJJ. Also, while people can go from one color to the next in terms of their certification belts, it can take years to go from one level to another. This is why stripes are added onto belts to show one’s progress when training.

Muay Thai/Kickboxing

Muay Thai, or kickboxing, is a part of MMA that combines the standup and clinching layouts. This competition style originates out of Thailand and focuses on the hands, elbows, knees and shins to strike opponents. It is a full-body approach to combat.

Strong kicks and strikes are utilized with the legs. Punching and elbowing are utilized by the arms. The whole body is utilized but the contender does have the ability to block or avoid attacks.

In terms of clinching, a person’s arm or leg has to be grabbed in the middle of an attack. This is to stop the contender and to potentially move into ground combat. The general goal is to keep a contender from being able to pull off certain attacks.


Wrestling is a mix of clinch and ground combat that entails two people grabbing onto one another. The two contenders compete for better grounding and control over one another’s body. Throws and takedowns are common features in wrestling as they focus on a contender being pushed to the bottom of the ground without any control.

Pins and holds are important to see. Joint locks are also utilized in the clinching competition to keep a contender from moving. The general goal is to stop a person from being mobile. This aspect of MMA has existed for several millennia and is one of the most iconic sports in the world.


Boxing is a standup combat style that focuses on two people using their fists to punch one another. It is a basic form of competition that entails two contenders using carefully timed movements to strike each other. Part of boxing entails avoiding punches or knowing how to block or counter them.

Boxing is used in MMA as a means of wearing out a contender with the intention of knocking that person down or with getting a person’s defenses to weaken. This is a style of competition where knockouts are more likely to take place in. Sometimes boxing can be combined with Muay Thai to entail an all-around approach to the competition.


A clinching style of MMA, Judo is a Japanese form of combat that entails the goal of completing a throw or a takedown of an opponent. A contender would have to immobilize one’s opponent and then pin that person to the ground. A choke or joint lock may also be utilized. This is another form of martial arts that takes years for a person to master.


Karate is another standup form of combat that focuses on kicking, elbow, and knee attacks to immobilize an opponent. It also entails defensive moves like blocking and countering. The general goal is to weaken an opponent and then force that person into a throw or takedown. This moves into the ground stage if handled properly.

Karate especially focuses on agility. This includes knowing how to pull off attacks from many positions. While it works best in a standing position, it could also be utilized when on the ground. This takes an extensive amount of training to pull off though as a karate practitioner must be fully aware of one’s surroundings and able to predict what a contender will do next.


All of these are some of the best MMA styles and show just how diverse and unique this sport is. Think about the particular aspect of MMA that you are interested in the most when finding the right basic MMA equipment to get you started. Look at your general abilities and what you feel is appropriate for you to get into based on your general fighting style of choice.