Becoming an MMA Fighter: 7 Things No One Talks About
Whether it’s on the street to protect themselves or their loved ones, whether it is a form of training or whether it’s in a cage as an actual profession, people do fight; it’s somehow in our nature. You’ve probably seen a fight or two on TV thinking it takes some talent, skill and strong guts to do this. However, it takes much more to become a professional MMA fighter that opponents fear and respect, and here are a few tips that no one actually tells you.
Knowledge is power
When it comes to fighting in a cage, you have to have knowledge. It’s not just about dodging punches and trying to hit the opponent. You actually need to know several different martial arts in order to succeed – hence the acronym MMA (mixed martial arts). Many professional fighters train every single day (sometimes even several times a day) because they need to learn how to fight and bridge the gap in their knowledge. Plus, that gap needs to be closed really fast, so they basically have to soak up plenty of knowledge ASAP. But, it’s not all about the number of training sessions per day; there is also the quality of those training and how the fighters are going to implement all the techniques and skills they have learned.
Embarrassment is the best motivation
When you’re an MMA fighter preparing for the battle, you might not know exactly who your opponent is going to be. And that is why there is always the fear that someone younger or even less experienced is going to beat you. To you, that might seem embarrassing, and that is what pushes you to train harder and become a better version of yourself. Every fighter has probably been taken down by a younger man or a woman and since they felt ashamed or of less value, they kept on training and fighting to prove themselves that they can do it.
It’s all in your head
Just like with any sport, your success will depend on 90 percent your mental readiness and 10 percent on your physical one. No sport is easy and you have to be 100 percent ready for the match. The same goes for MMA. It’s not an easy sport and you never know the exact condition of your opponent and that’s why you need to keep reminding yourself that you can do it.
Your mindset needs to be right in order to compete and win, and if you are all about physical training, you might not make it. Such experiences are best described in some of the best MMA books from experienced and successful fighters, who will tell you that it’s not easy. Additionally, you need to believe in yourself. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you perform a move or throw a punch, but if your opponent taps out on your choke, for example, that’s great encouragement that will carry you to the end of the fight.
Great strength doesn’t make you a better fighter
Don’t take this the wrong way; you need incredible amounts of strength and preservation, both mental and physical, in order to become a great fighter. However, comparing just the physical looks, gymnasts are more likely to be better fighters than strongman. Yes, back in the day MMA fighters were all huge and muscle-bound, but now that might just slow you down.
You can be strong as a horse, but if your body is flexible and lighter, but still strong and tough, you will do better. It’s mostly about endurance, and with less mass, you get tired less which helps you get through the fighter easier. Not to mention that your movement is not held back by your stiff huge body.
It doesn’t hurt that much
There are dozens of punches and kicks thrown during the fight, but at that moment it doesn’t hurt that much. When fighters are in the ring, they are pumped with adrenaline and they practically don’t feel anything. Adrenaline is probably the most powerful “drug” there is and it keeps you going until it’s time to stop. That is why all the fighters seem all crazy and aggressive during the fight. But it’s after the fight is over when their bodies get sore. However, if there are no major injuries, it all goes away pretty quick. And even the injuries are less common in MMA than in football, for example.
You’re actually an entertainer
Just like any other sport, MMA is a form of entertainment for the viewers. That is why many fighters have their small performances, traditions, and ceremonies while entering the fight. As an MMA fighter, you have to look at yourself as a brand and even as a product. In order to get someone to love you and cheer for you, you have to entertain them in your own unique way.
Even the greatest can lose
You can always be number one and be a great fighter. But if you lose and come back, that speaks even more of your greatness. Take Muhammad Ali for example, he was a world champion, he got beat, but he didn’t give up. Rather, he fought harder and came back as a world champion again, got beat, came back and so on. On the other hand, there are other fighters who were the champions, got beat and simply disappeared. To most, that’s not a true champion. A true champion is someone who is good, but know how to get back on their feet once they have lost the fight.
No one said fighting is easy, especially if that’s your profession. There is a lot of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice put into every training and every fight. Everyone says it’s all about training and great trainers, but there is a lot more than that when you scratch the surface.