101 Guide To Become UFC Fighter

101 Guide To Become UFC Fighter

Fighters struggle their whole lives to reach a platform where they are famous as well as respected. They get into martial arts to make their lives out of it. They are not into martial arts just for fun instead they do it as a profession. All fighters need a place where they can thrive as a fighter and earn. One of those platforms is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has become the face of MMA. It is the dream of every martial artist to reach the UFC. Mainly because of the fame and benefits that UFC provides to its fighters. But getting into UFC is not an easy task. It takes decades to become eligible for UFC.

You must win some championships so that professionals can notice you and help you in reaching your goal.

Table of content
1. What is MMA? 2. What is UFC? 2.1. What is a UFC Fight? 3. Are MMA and UFC the Same? 4. What is the Road to UFC? 4.1. Road to UFC Season 1 4.2. Road to UFC Season 2 5. How Does UFC Pick Fighters? 6. Other Disciplines Necessary For Becoming a UFC Fighter 6.1. Boxing 6.2. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 6.3. Wrestling 6.4. Taekwondo 6.5. Judo 6.6. Sambo 7. How to Become A UFC Fighter? 7.1. Become a Fearless Fighter 7.2. Stay Focused 7.3. Work on Your Boxing 7.4. Learn Kickboxing For Striking 7.5. Learn Grappling Techniques 7.6. Drilling and Sparring 7.7. Find an MMA Gym Near You 7.8. Develop a Distinctive Fighting Style 7.9. Must Know about Age Requirements of the UFC 7.10. Know About UFC’s Weight Classes 7.11. UFC Judging Criteria 7.12. UFC Rules 7.13. Mental Game is as Important as Physical Game 7.14. Compete in Amateur Fights 7.15. Train With Professional Fighters 7.16. Find a High-Profile Gym 7.17. A Continuous Streak of Wins 7.18. ONE FC Fighters 7.19. Diet Consciousness 7.20. Avoid Injuries 7.21. Create Contacts 7.22. An Active Social Media Presence 7.23. Attend UFC Fights 7.24. Look For a Sponsorship 7.25. Be Patient Because It’ll Take Time 7.26. Banned Moves In UFC 7.27. Apply Directly to the UFC 8. UFC Training 8.1. Strength Training 8.2. Conditioning 8.3. Cardio For UFC 8.4. Broad Jumps 8.5. Weighted Box Jumps 8.6. Trap Bar Deadlift Jumps 8.7. Med Ball Side Toss 8.8. Fight-Specific Med Ball Throw 8.9. Constant Training 9. Explosiveness For UFC 9.1. Kettlebell Workout 9.2. Deceleration Drills 9.3. Reactive Plyometrics 9.4. Band Jumps 9.5. Paired Exercises 10. UFC’s Code of Conduct 11. Elite UFC Fighters 11.1. UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey 11.2. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra 11.3. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes 11.4. Randy Couture 12. How Much Do UFC Fighters Earn? 13. The Top 15 MMA Fight Organizations (MMA Promotions) to Follow 13.1. Ultimate Fighting Championship 13.2. ONE Championship 13.3. Invicta Fighting Championship 13.4. Bellator MMA 13.5. Absolute Championship Akhmat 13.6. Pancrase MMA Championship 13.7. M-1 Global Fighting Championship 13.8. Rizin Fighting Federation 13.9. AMC Fight Nights (Fight Nights Global) 13.10. Caged Steel 13.11. TKO Major League MMA 13.12. ROAD Fighting Championship 13.13. 10th Legion Championship Fighting 13.14. World Series of Fighting (Aggression Fighting Championship) 13.15. Deep MMA Championship 14. How to Find MMA Tournaments to Compete in 14.1. Tapology MMA Tournament Calendar 14.2. UMMAF MMA Tournaments 14.3. Join Online MMA Clubs 14.4. Check with Local MMA Gyms 14.5. Unaffiliated MMA Fighting 15. FAQs 15.1. Why Explosiveness is Important For UFC Fighters? 15.2. What is the Importance of Amateur Fights? 15.3. Can Men Fight in the UFC’s Strawweight Weight Class? 15.4. What is UFC Sports? 15.5. What Happens if You Lose Your UFC Debut? 15.6. Who is Raulian Paiva in UFC? 15.7. UFC Signs 17 Year Old - Which MMA Fighter Was Signed? 15.8. How Hard is It to Become a UFC Fighter? 15.9. What Are the Best UFC Submissions in 2023? 15.10. Which Martial Arts Background is Best for UFC? 15.11. What is the API in UFC? 15.12. Are All UFC Fighters Mixed Martial Artists? 15.13.  How to Watch and Live Stream Dana White's Contender Series? 15.14. What is MMA Fighting? 16. Conclusion

1. What is MMA?

Mixed martial arts is a hybrid martial arts discipline incorporating fighting techniques from  various combat sports, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, karate, boxing, judo, and wrestling. Initially, mixed martial arts (MMA) was publicly denounced by sports critics due to the brutal nature of this sport and bloodshed involved. MMA, being inspired by wrestling, in the beginning had a no-holds-barred policy. However, with growing resistance and criticism, the MMA circuit eventually dropped its no limits and restrictions policy, effectively curbing the levels of hostility inside the fighting cage. Though still vicious, MMA is no longer as dangerous as it used to be back in the day. This change in policy helped MMA emerge as the world’s most popular and most-watched combat sport with fastest-growing viewership ever.

2. What is UFC?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is an American Mixed Martial Arts promotion company that is responsible for conducting MMA fights. It is the largest MMA organization that allows national, international, and top-notch fighters to earn their name in MMA. Its headquarters is in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. It was founded in 1993 by businessman Art Davies and BJJ pioneer Rorion Gracie. Now, Dana White is the person behind the whole organization.

2.1. What is a UFC Fight?

In a UFC Fight or a UFC event, fighters from different martial arts backgrounds indulge in a full-contact bout, showcasing a wide variety of fighting styles, techniques, and martial arts disciplines. In one UFC fight, the best international mixed martial artists are pitted against each other who compete for the Fight of the Night award or a UFC weight title. Each UFC fight consists of five rounds. However, the fight may conclude earlier if the player submits due to a powerful technical knockout finish or a lethal submission finish. For example, in UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Conor McGregor in round four via submission finish.

3. Are MMA and UFC the Same?

No. MMA and UFC are interrelated but not the same. Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport while Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a promotion that organizes MMA events worldwide. UFC has played a vital role in increasing the popularity of MMA.

In North America, MMA first gained recognition after Royce Gracie participated in a 1993 fighting tournament held in a caged ring at McNichols Arena, Denver, Colorado. Royce Gracie was keen to display his exceptional grappling skills and also wanted to introduce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. This historic event in which Royce Gracie emerged as champion was called UFC 1. This was the first UFC pay-per-view television show that attracted about 86,000 spectators. The number of views grew exponentially by the third UFC event.

After the success of this event, UFC became the most prominent MMA promotional event. Initially, UFC was only focused on pitting fighters who practiced different martial arts against each other, such as wrestler against a judoka, jiu-jitsu grappler against a kickboxer, and Muay Thai practitioner against wrestler, etc. At this time, fighters could use all fighting techniques except for eye gouging and biting. Fights concluded when one of the fighters tapped out or submitted. Since UFC fights at that time were mostly no-holds-barred bouts, anything could happen to the fighters. Due to the ruthlessness and savagery involved, many politicians demanded the sport be banned. U.S. Senator John McCain was one of the politicians who voiced his concerns about the brutality that happened in UFC fighting in the name of combat sport.

To avoid ban, UFC created rules in 2001, and added weight classes, no of rounds, time limits, and fouls. The new UFC demanded martial artists, wrestlers, and kickboxers to train extensively and perform well. In the United States, MMA was regulated by Nevada State Athletic Commision and New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. By 2007, MMA had made significant progress and McCain also dropped his demand to ban the sport.

4. What is the Road to UFC?

Road to UFC is an MMA events series that provides a platform to Asian mixed martial artists to compete their way to a UFC contract. The Road to UFC is structured in seasons, featuring a large number of episodes. Fighters compete in various weight classes and advance to UFC via a win and advance format. Each episode in the Road to UFC season includes one fight for each weight class and one non-tournament match for pure entertainment.

The quarterfinal round includes four events and usually lasts for two-days, featuring two episodes or events each day. The semifinal round takes place a few months later, allowing the fighters to train and showcase their best performances. The season finale takes place during the preliminary card of the UFC Fight Night event and the winner of each weight division gets a UFC contract.

The Road to UFC brand name was initially introduced for Japan in 2015. The Road to UFC: Japan was a similar event that provided MMA prospects from Japan a chance to win the UFC contract. However, the Road to UFC: Japan had a reality show format and was promoted as an Asian-centric equivalent of U.S based UFC. Even though an old brand name is used for Asian MMA tournaments, UFC has launched this event as a separate entity with no correlation with the 2015 Road to UFC: Japan. The new tournament launched in 2022 was considered “inaugural” and the tournament was called Season 1. 

4.1. Road to UFC Season 1

Road to the UFC Season 1 General Information
Road to UFC
Kallang, Singapore
June 09, 2022
Singapore Indoor Stadium

The Road to UFC Season 1 is the first chapter/cycle of an Asian-centric MMA tournament in which top Asian MMA fighters participate to win a UFC contract. The Road to UFC Season 1 featured the following weight divisions:

  • Flyweight
  • Bantamweight
  • Featherweight
  • Lightweight

In each weight class, about eight MMA fighters compete in a “win-an-advance” tournament layout. Each event in the series involves five bouts and one non-tournament fight. The winner of each weight class is awarded a UFC contract after the conclusion of the final bout at the UFC Fight Night event.

The quarter final event of the Road to UFC Season 1 tournament lasted for two days, June 9-10, 2022. The event was held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and involved two five-fight events. Therefore, each event day featured 10 MMA fights before the UFC 275 pay-per-view event, which was held on June 11, 2022. The participants for the quarterfinal came from various countries, including China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Philippines.

After the successful conclusion of quarterfinals, the semifinal round of the tournament was held approximately three months later on October 23, 2022. This event happened one day after UFC 281. The final round of Road to UFC Season 1 was expected to take place on February 04, 2023, in Seoul, South Korea; however, the event venue was changed to Las Vegas, Nevada on the same date for undisclosed reasons.

Road to UFC Season 1 Results
Episode 1
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Yi Zha defeated Keisuke Sasu via rear naked choke submission.
Lightweight Ki Won Bin defeated Jinnosuke Kashimura via TKO (elbows).
Bantamweight Toshiomi Kazama defeated Maimaitituoheti Keremuaili via unanimous decision.
Flyweight Choi Seung Guk defeated Rama Supandhi via unanimous decision.
Light Heavyweight Zhang Mingyang defeated George Tokkos via KO (punches)
Episode 2
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Koyomi Matsushima defeated Jun Young Hong via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27).
Flyweight Qiu Lun defeated Wallen Del Rosario via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Lightweight Jeka Saragih defeated Pawan Maan Singh via KO (spinning back fist).
Flyweight Takeru Uchida defeated Shaun Etchell via submission rear naked choke.
Episode 3
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Lee Jeong-yeong defeated Xie Bin via submission armbar.
Flyweight Topnoi Kiwram defeated Yuma Horiuchi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27).
Bantamweight Rinya NAkamura defeated Gugun Gusman via submission keylock.
Women’s Strawweight Josefine Lindgren Knutsson defeated Seo Ye Dam via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Episode 4
Weight Classes Results
Bantamweight Shohei Nose defeated Wuliji Buren via TKO (knee injury).
Lightweight Kim Kyung Pyo defeated Asikeerbai Jinensibieke via KO (punches).
Featherweight Lu Kai defeated Angga Hans via TKO (punches).
Flyweight Park Hyun Sung defeated Jeremia Siregar via TKO (punches).
Welterweight Han Seul Kim defeated John Adajar via submission triangle armbar.
Episode 5
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Yi Zha defeated Koyomi Matsushima via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28).
Flyweight Choi Seung Guk defeated Qiu Lun via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Lightweight Jeka Sarragih defeated Ki Won Bin via KO (punch)
Featherweight Keisuke Sasu defeated Balajin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Episode 6
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Lee Jeong-yeoung defeated Lu Kai via KO (punches)
Bantamweight Rinya Nakamura defeated Shohei Nose via KO (punches).
Flyweight Park Hyun Sung defeated Topnoi Kiwram via submission rear naked choke.
Lightweight Anshul Jubli defeated Kim Kyung Pyo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Catchweight Samandar Murodov defeated Gian Siqueira via submission rear naked choke.

4.2. Road to UFC Season 2

Road to the UFC Season 2 General Information
Promotion  Road to UFC
City  Shanghai, China
Date  May 27, 2023
Venue  UFC Performance Institute Shanghai

Road to UFC Season 2 is the second chapter and 2023 cycle of the Road to UFC series, an Asian-focused mixed martial arts event in which the best grapplers, wrestlers, boxers, judokas, and mixed martial artists compete to “win-and-advance” to UFC contracts. The 2023 Road to UFC Season 2 featured four distinct weight classes:

  • Flyweight
  • Bantamweight
  • Featherweight
  • Lightweight

In each weight division, eight fighters competed and the tournament winners from each weight class were awarded UFC contracts. Each event/episode of Season 2 featured five fights and one non-tournament fight. The quarterfinal round of the event was held at the UFC Performance Institute Shanghai and spanned over two days, May 27-28, 2023.

Road to UFC Season 2 Results
Episode 1
Date May 27, 2023
Venue UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
City Shanghai, China
Stage Quarterfinals
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Kim Sang Won defeated Keisuke Sasu via KO (punches).
Flyweight Mark Climaco defeated Lee Jung-hyun via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Featherweight Yi Zha defeated Wuziazibieke Jiahefu via submission technique, armbar.
Flyweight Rei Tsuruya defeated Ronal Saihaan via submission technique, scarf hold armlock.
Flyweight Nyamjargal Tumendemberel defeated Topnoi Kiwram via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Episode 2
Date May 27, 2023
Venue UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
City Shanghai, China
Stage Quarterfinals
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Li Kaiwen defeated Lu Kai via KO (punches).
Flyweight Choi Seung Guk defeated Sumit Kumar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Featherweight Kouya Kanda defeated Yibugele via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Flyweight Ji Niushiyue defeated Billy Pasulatan via TKO (punches).
Welterweight Taiyilake Nueraji defeated Kim Han Seul via KO (elbows).
Episode 3
Date May 28, 2023
Venue UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
City Shanghai, China
Stage Quarterfinals
Weight Classes Results
Lightweight Rong Zhu defeated Hong Seong Chan via TKO (punches).
Bantamweight Shuya Kamikubo defeated Jielisi Baergeng via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Lightweight Kim Sang Wook defeated Kazuma Maruyama via submission technique, brabo choke.
Bantamweight Xiao Long defeated Shohei Nose via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Welterweight Yoo Sang Hoon defeated Chris Hofmann via TKO punches and knees.
Episode 4
Date May 28, 2023
Venue UFC Performance Institute Shanghai
City Shanghai, China
Stage Quarterfinals
Weight Classes Results
Lightweight Batebolati Bahatebole defeated Ki Won Bin via Disqualification (punches to back of head).
Bantamweight Lee Chang Ho defeated Rana Rudra Pratap Singh via TKO (punches and elbows).
Lightweight Shin Haraguchi defeated Wendris Patilima via TKO (punches).
Bantamweight Daermisi Zhawupasi defeated Eperaim Ginting via submission technique, rear naked choke.
Flyweight Peter Danasoe defeated Sim Kai Xiong via KO (flying knee).
Episode 5
Date August 27, 2023
Venue Singapore Indoor Stadium
City Kallang, Singapore
Stage Semifinals
Weight Classes Results
Featherweight Li Kai Wen defeated Koya Kanda via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Flyweight Ji Niushiyue defeated Choi Seung Guk via unanimous decision (30-27, 20-27, 20-27).
Featherweight Yo Zha defeated Kim Sang Won via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Flyweight Rei Tsuruya defeated Mark Climaco via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-27).
Flyweight Nyamjargal Tumendemberel defeated Peter Danasoe via technical submission, rear naked choke.
Episode 6
Date August 27, 2023
Venue Singapore Indoor Stadium
City Kallang, Singapore
Stage Semifinals
Weight Classes Results
Lightweight Shin Haraguchi defeated Park Jae Hyun via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Bantamweight Lee Chang ho defeated Daermisi Zhawupasi via TKO (punches)
Featherweight Rong Zhu defeated Kim Sang-wook via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
Bantamweight Xiao Long defeated Shuya Kamikubo via majority decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-28)
Episode 7
Date February 04, 2024
Venue UFC Apex
City Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Stage Finals
Results Awaited
Weight Classes Participants
Featherweight Yi Zha vs. Li Kai Wen
Flyweight Ji Niu Shiyue vs. Rei Tsuruya
Lightweight Rrong Zhu vs. Shin Haraguchi
Bantamweight Xiao Long vs. Lee Chang-h

If you are an Asian mixed martial arts enthusiast who wants to win a UFC contract, then the Road to UFC is an ideal platform for you to participate in. After the conclusion of Road to UFC Season 2, UFC will invite applications from Asian fighters. If you are interested in grabbing a UFC contract, then make sure you follow the series and keep an out for the announcement of Road to UFC Season 3. When the applications are invited, you can apply by sending your profile and fight video to

Before the announcement of the next season, make sure you join a reputable MMA gym and train extensively to make it to the promotional MMA event.

5. How Does UFC Pick Fighters?

It is not easy to become a UFC fighter. It takes exceptional fighting skills to get into the UFC. It will take at least 5-6 years to get into UFC if you are already into any combat sport. But if you are a beginner, you have to learn, train, compete and master at least one martial art to become eligible for UFC.

Ultimate Fighting Championship is not child’s play at all. Fighters sweat and blood for years to get a chance in the UFC. Having a successive win streak and an exceptional fighting style can get the attention of UFC officials and usually result in the vertical flight of the enthusiast’s career.

6. Other Disciplines Necessary For Becoming a UFC Fighter

It is nearly impossible for a beginner to become a UFC Champion. Having prior experience in martial arts is the fundamental expectation of a UFC Champion.

6.1. Boxing

Boxing is a combat sport that involves punches and takedowns to defeat your opponent. Boxers use hooks and leg attacks to disbalance the opponent's position and hence gain victory. Physical strength matters a lot in boxing. To become a UFC fighter, you must know how to apply punches. And boxing is the best combat sport for learning those punches.

Kenneth Wayne Shamrock

Kenneth Wayne Shamrock, aka Ken Shamrock, is an American bare-knuckle boxing champion who is famous for being the toughest fighter in UFC. He is not only a boxer but also a former wrestler, MMA fighter, and kickboxer. That is why he had such a tremendous UFC record. He has a 28-17-2 UFC record.

Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is known as the strongest MMA fighter of all time. He was undefeated in 16 UFC Fights. He is currently a BJJ Fighter and a Boxer.

6.2. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a submission grappling combat sport. It involves joint locks, submissions, and takedowns that are useful to defeat an opponent even greater in size and strength. BJJ is all about strength. It does not focus on the weight or physical bulkiness of the fighter, rather it is more concerned about the BJJ techniques, flexibility, and mobility of the fighter.

Athletes have to learn BJJ submission techniques so that they can submit their opponents via chokes. Body locks such as RNC, arm and leg Triangles, etc are applied to gain victory over your opponent. BJJ is the best martial art to learn submission techniques and choke holds techniques and minimum strength.

Even if you are not a stout grappler, only knowing techniques and their execution methods can pave your way to the UFC arena. but to transform into a great fighter, other forms of martial arts must be mastered.

Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira who is a BJJ Black Belt under Jorge Patino, is currently a UFC fighter. Before UFC, he was a rising BJJ grappler who had shown tremendous performance in the colored belt level. In 2007, Charles started his career in MMA. He was so inspired by the Mixed Martial Arts that his inspiration led him to become UFC’s Lightweight Champion in 2021.

6.3. Wrestling

Wrestlers are the most dominant athletes in the UFC. Wrestling is considered an all-rounder sport. It is the best sport for a fighter who wants to compete in the UFC. In the start, BJJ was called the base sport for becoming a UFC fighter because of its submission techniques. It happened when the legendary Royce Gracie who was a BJJ practitioner, competed in UFC and eventually became the UFC Hall of Famer.

Nowadays Wrestling is seen as a base combat sport for entering the UFC.

UFC Hall of Famer Kazushi Sakuraba

Kazushi Sakuraba is a Japanese Wrestler who is currently UFC’s latest tournament champion. He is called the “Gracie Hunter” because he defeated 4 famous Gracies, Renzo Gracie, Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, and Ryan Gracie, in the UFC. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2017.

Dan Severn

Daniel DeWayne Severn is an American wrestler who competes in the UFC. He is the only UFC Triple Crown Champion. His UFC record is 101-19-1. He is also a UFC Hall of Famer.

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is an American mixed martial artist. He was the UFC 10 and UFC 11 Tournament Champion. Primarily, he is a wrestler who competes in UFC and is among the deadliest UFC fighters.

6.4. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean form of martial arts that involves punching and kicking. Head kicks are the most applied techniques in taekwondo. It helps the practitioner to learn punches as well as kicks that will help them to get into the UFC.

Bas Rutten

Rutten not only competed in Taekwondo but also in Wrestling and Kickboxing. He is the first mixed martial artist who is called an all-rounder as he is exceptionally aware of different martial arts.

6.5. Judo

To become a UFC fighter you must know a variety of martial arts, and Judo is one of them. Judo is an excellent combat sport to learn and improve throws, takedowns, and submissions.

Karo Parisyan

Karo Parisyan, a Black Belt in Judo is the former UFC Welterweight Contender. He had a 9-4 UFC record where he defeated big names in the sport such as Matt Sera, Nick Diaz, and many more.

Georges St-Pierre

St-Pierre is also one of the all-rounded UFC fighters. He is the former UFC Champion with a 13-fights win streak.

6.6. Sambo

Sambo is a martial art that indulges in punches and strikes. It contains many techniques that are considered all-rounded for UFC fighters.

UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmegomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov is a UFC Hall of Famer and holds the prestigious record of the longest lightweight UFC Champion. He retained the title from April 2018 till March 2021. He is a Sambist and is creating history in the UFC.

Future Star: Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev is a former Sambist. He is currently competing in the lightweight division in the UFC and is also the UFC’s Lightweight Champion.

7. How to Become A UFC Fighter?

It takes a lot of courage and effort to become a UFC fighter. Other than courage and effort, the most important thing a fighter needs is determination. Without determination, it is impossible to become a UFC fighter. UFC is a challenging and tough championship.

7.1. Become a Fearless Fighter

Becoming a fearless fighter is the most vital step. If you get afraid easily because of violent fights, UFC is not for you. There are many fighters who try to join the UFC because of the hype. These are the ones who get injured the most as they do not count the drawbacks.

It is the most common saying that if you want to achieve something you must have the guts. But to become a UFC fighter you need just more than guts. You need to step out of your comfort zone and see what’s ahead of you.

7.2. Stay Focused

Outline your goals and then go for them, start taking baby steps. If you want to become a UFC fighter just for the fame, you will definitely not last a single fight. Stay focused on your training regime and do not get afraid when you see other fighters being brutally defeated in the UFC.

7.3. Work on Your Boxing

UFC is an institute that conducts MMA matches. So it involves other martial artists such as wrestlers, boxers, or BJJ fighters. If you were previously a BJJ fighter, now you need to work on your boxing. As there is no Gi involved in UFC, BJJ Gi fighters have to learn grips other than Gi grips. Practitioners must learn how to throw punches and definitely how to defend themselves. Add mat wrestling to your training routine.

You must know basic striking moves such as:

  • Distance Management
  • Footwork
  • Head Movement
  • Basic Self Defense

You can also incorporate other martial arts techniques in your boxing such as kicks from Taekwondo or leg movements from Karate. The only purpose of adding other techniques to your training regime is to transform you into an all-rounder fighter.

7.4. Learn Kickboxing For Striking

If you think that learning other martial arts will only make your fighting style a haphazard one, drop it. Learn only the most effective ones such as boxing and kickboxing. These sports will teach you to develop a strong striking game. You will earn punches and kicks.

At one point, you will need to learn other martial arts too. You can learn the important techniques from different forms of martial arts so that you have an all-rounded game.

7.5. Learn Grappling Techniques

In MMA fights, the referee does not stop the fight unless any fighter does anything illegal or forbidden during the fight. So even if you are pinned to the ground and can not move, the fight will not stop. You have to come up with a technique better than your opponent’s to gain the dominant position.

When you are close enough to your opponent, you must go for submissions. The best way to learn submissions is through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It will provide you with leverage against a bigger opponent. For learning grappling techniques, BJJ must be your number one option.

Learning submissions will help you to defeat your opponents via blood chokes. You can pin your opponent to the ground and later on apply submissions.

7.6. Drilling and Sparring

Your training regime in order to become a UFC fighter must not be too hard as it can lead you toward injuries. You must develop a smarter way to train rather than just going hard. Of course, hard training is important but to a certain level. Drilling and light sparring are the most useful ways to train for a beginner as you can learn more without going too hard on yourself.

Drilling is more beneficial because it not only makes you an expert fighter but also enhances your muscle memory. During drilling, you throw a technique at your partner and he defends himself and then throws a technique at you. You learn how to attack as well as how to defend.

Sparring means that you apply a technique that you know of and are skilled and confident enough to apply. It looks like an actual fight. Light sparring means that the sparring session is not too hard as you apply techniques while keeping them light.

“I believe the best way to improve is when training is playful - you can not improve when trying to win every sparring round - treat your career as a marathon, not a sprint.”

(Former UFC Champion Georges St-Pierre)

7.7. Find an MMA Gym Near You

Once you feel that you have learned some basic MMA skills, go to an MMA gym. MMA gyms can be costly so in the start, you can go for a local gym. It will teach you basic skills and you will also get exposed to the MMA circuit.

7.8. Develop a Distinctive Fighting Style

Your Fighting style must be different enough to get recognition. It can be your own way for the execution of MMA techniques that make you a distinctive fighter. Being an average fighter won't take you to UFC. You must have something different in you that can get the eye of UFC officials.

7.9. Must Know about Age Requirements of the UFC

The minimum age for becoming a UFC fighter is 18. There are many examples of martial artists that are now constructing their name in UFC because of their prior experience in MMA. MMA fighters between the ages of 21 and 34 are even accommodated and allowed to live in the United States so that they can compete in the UFC.

The UFC's age restriction is approximately 50. A fighter can not fight in UFC tournaments if he is older than 50. You can surely learn MMA but there would be no professional career.

7.10. Know About UFC’s Weight Classes

You must know about UFC’s weight classes in order to fully comprehend UFC’s rules and regulations.

Men’s UFC Weight Classes

UFC Weight Class Minimum Weight Maximum Weight
Heavyweight 93 Kg/205 lb 120 Kg/265 lb
Light Heavyweight 83.9 Kg/185 lb 93 Kg/205 lb
Middleweight 77.1 Kg/170 lb 83.9 Kg/185 lb
Welterweight 70.3 Kg/155 lb 77.1 Kg/170 lb
Lightweight 65.8 Kg/145 lb 70.3 Kg/155 lb
Featherweight 61.2 Kg/135 lb 65.8 Kg/145 lb
Bantamweight 56.7 Kg/125 lb 61.2 Kg/135 lb
Flyweight 52.2 Kg/115 lb 56.7 Kg/125 lb

Women’s UFC Weight Classes

UFC Weight Class Minimum Weight Maximum Weight
Featherweight 61.2 Kg/135 lb 65.8 Kg/145 lb
Bantamweight 56.7 Kg/125 lb 61.2 Kg/135 lb
Flyweight 52.2 Kg/115 lb 56.7 Kg/125 lb
Strawweight No Requirement 52.2 Kg/115 lb

7.11. UFC Judging Criteria

There are 3 judges present outside the ring/octagon who are responsible for the results of the fight. 10 points are to be earned per round in order to win the round from your opponent. Judges are keen observers of the fight. Depending upon where the fight took place, they award points. For example, if fighters spent most of the time on the ground, the grappling technique is considered more and if the fight was in the standing position, striking and kicking techniques are focused.

7.12. UFC Rules

  • Each fighting round consists of a 10-must-point system.
  • Judges are responsible for the decision of a fight. It can consist of a unanimous, majority, or split decision including draws and no contest depending on the number of judges agreeing/disagreeing.
  • Scores are granted upon the effectiveness of their striking and grappling techniques.
  • Butting the fighter’s head or eye gouging is considered a foul.
  • Fish hooking and hair pulling are also considered foul.
  • Fouls are only accessed by referees.
  • There are 3 rounds in the UFC and the duration of each round is 5 minutes.

7.13. Mental Game is as Important as Physical Game

You can go to the gym and train with professional fighters to develop a strong physical game. You must trust yourself to the point that even if you lose during any amateur fight, you won’t get disheartened.

A mental game means that you know what technique to use to dominate your opponent’s technique. It also means that you have made yourself mentally strong to a point that even if you lose, you will take it as a challenge. Before winning a physical fight, you must win mentally.

7.14. Compete in Amateur Fights

When you have developed a strong and distinctive fighting style, go for the amateur fights. Competing in the local MMA circuit results in exposure. Fighters get to see you and most likely potential UFC fighters can be fascinated by you and it will surely result in your increased chances of signing up for the UFC.

It also provides you with experience. If you are new to MMA, you must definitely compete. Despite training for a long period, there are many things a fighter can learn only when he is competing. Local league fights are the best source for getting experience and exposure.

Many UFC fighters attend these local fights so that they can find young talent. So it might be your chance. Even if you don’t get signed up for any league, you still have got exposure.

7.15. Train With Professional Fighters

If you get a chance to train with professional UFC fighters, do not miss that chance. UFC fighters will teach techniques and ways of fighting that you might not have developed all those years of training.

Training with UFC fighters gives you an insight into their training and dietary supplements.

7.16. Find a High-Profile Gym

Once you have competed in amateur fights and you are aware of MMA fights, you must leave the local gym and go for a reputable gym. There you will find professional and experienced coaches who will train you specifically for UFC. These are the coaches who have already prepared many UFC fighters. Their training will revolutionize your whole training regime.

7.17. A Continuous Streak of Wins

As mentioned earlier, to become a UFC fighter you need to develop extraordinary fighting skills. Along with skills, you have to win a couple of national and international championships. They will result in making you known to decision-making officials.

There are already a number of fighters who are trying to get into the UFC. If you have a continuous streak of wins along with your name, UFC officials are more likely to contact you as it is also good for their reputation. Your determination and efforts will definitely pay off if you continue to strive at your true potential.

Every fighter develops his/her own fighting style when they are in the MMA career for a long time. This unique fighting style results in an exceptional fighting game that opens the door to success for you.

But that does not mean that if you do not win too often, you are never going to reach UFC. Nothing happens overnight, you need time and a lot of effort for UFC and that’s for sure.

7.18. ONE FC Fighters

Before going to compete in UFC, you must try for the ONE FC Championship. Though there is a hell of a difference between the two championships, still there are many things that are similar between them. For example, the weight division “strawweight” is a women’s weight division in the UFC but in ONE Championship, men compete in it.

The rules for ONE Championship are the same as Kickboxing and Muay Thai but UFC has its own set of rules. Despite the differences, a fighter learns a lot from these bigger championships. Getting into ONE FC is also tough but if you are invited by ONE before UFC do not miss the opportunity. It will make you ready for your goal which is becoming a UFC fighter.

7.19. Diet Consciousness

Along with training, diet is also crucial for your strength. You must focus on carb-heavy food. They will provide you with bouts of energy for a longer period. MMA training is intensive training. It often drains fighters’ energy and makes them vulnerable to certain injuries or diseases.

7.20. Avoid Injuries

If you want an exceptional UFC fighter, you must stay fit and far away from injuries. UFC is often misunderstood as a brutal and violent championship. It is because it consists of strikes and punches. Punches and strikes increase the chance of injuries. UFC fights are also called blood fights because fighters do bleed during fights.

That is why it is called dangerous. If you can protect yourself from deadly head punches, UFC is the best platform for you.

7.21. Create Contacts

Enrolling in a reputable MMA gym will result in upscaling of your skills. Once you have developed a distinctive fighting style, you must look for the people who can help you to get into UFC. Probably, your fighting technique must be noticed by any fighter and you can reach UFC.

It is still important to know the right people who can pave the way for you. You must start networking as soon as you have won amateur fights. Or you can get a skillful manager who knows how to bring you to the mainstream.

7.22. An Active Social Media Presence

An active social media presence is necessary so that martial arts enthusiasts as well as other fighters can see your progress. It will boost your confidence. It will bring you in front of potential management that will lead you to compete in the UFC.

7.23. Attend UFC Fights

No matter how much you learn or train to become a UFC fighter, you will still lack some things that you can only learn through professional experience. It can develop by training with UFC fighters but still, that is not enough. You must have to attend UFC fights and see for yourself how UFC fighters develop a distinguished fighting style that makes them one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time.

Being outside the octagon you will see how fighters bear the pressure of a strong opponent and also how they gain victory over their opponent. It is an authentic experience that a fighter must have to know what he is signing for.

7.24. Look For a Sponsorship

From training for UFC to entering a UFC tournament, a practitioner requires a significant amount of money. Training at a local MMA gym might not be too costly for the practitioner but when you switch to a reputable gym, your money package must be huge. Training under a professional UFC coach can be a toll on your money expenditure if you don’t have enough money.

For that purpose, you must look for sponsorship. Sponsors can find you if you have an exceptional fighting game and also because of your successive win streak. If sponsors don't reach you, you must look out for sponsorship.

By exemplifying what benefits you seek from the sponsorship as well as the benefits you'll receive, you can become eligible for the sponsorship. This sponsorship will cover your expenses such as your gym and entrance fee and also for your gear. When you don't have to worry about money, you will perform better and achieve your goal.

7.25. Be Patient Because It’ll Take Time

All this time when you are practicing and training to become a UFC fighter, you have to be patient. Becoming a UFC fighter is not a one-day effort. It takes years for a practitioner to become a UFC fighter. Before becoming eligible for UFC, you have to excel in the martial art of your liking. It will lay the base for your UFC training.

After struggling for years, fighters get a chance to fight in UFC tournaments. So do not lose hope and keep on excelling in your fighting techniques.

7.26. Banned Moves In UFC

Though there are many moves that are legal in UFC tournaments whereas banned in other martial arts. There are some moves that are banned in the UFC. A fighter preparing for UFC must be aware of them. Some of them are:

  • Pile Driving
  • Headbutts
  • Soccer Kicks
  • Biting
  • Hair Pulling
  • Fish Hooking

7.27. Apply Directly to the UFC

When you feel that you are completely ready for the UFC, you can directly apply to the UFC Portal. You must go for the people who can help you to reach UFC, but talking directly to UFC is also a good option. You can create a profile and add all your professional achievements to it. In this way, you can easily fight in tournaments such as “Looking For A Fight”, “The Ultimate Fighter” or “Contender Series”.

8. UFC Training

Training for UFC is a hard one. You have to perform high-intensity workouts that will increase your strength as well as your cardio. In the long run, it will help you not to get tired while fighting.

8.1. Strength Training

The most important thing that a fighter needs for his/her UFC training is strength training. A strong fighter can execute as well as escape techniques and moves. For strength training, you can go for either MMA or BJJ intensive workout.

8.2. Conditioning

Aerobic conditioning is the most efficient way to develop conditioning for the UFC. More oxygen reaches your muscles and immense power is built in them. You can perform conditioning workouts, especially for UFC. It includes clean pulls, dumbbell bench press, medicine ball throw, and many more. A fighter needs to have a workout that not only increases strength in the body but also induces flexibility in him. This flexibility will later help you protect yourself from injuries.

8.3. Cardio For UFC

Cardio exercises are important for increasing the heart rate of the practitioner and maintaining it for a long period. It is a part of aerobic exercise as oxygen reaches your muscles and increases your muscle mass. Drilling and light sparring is only beneficial when it's the start of your training. You need to have a hard training regime if your goal is UFC.

This workout consists of hard training which involves different exercises that are performed at a faster pace and with heavy weights. It consists of 5 rounds.

Round 1 (Warm-up Round)

Jump Rope Rest
3 minutes 90 seconds

Round 2 (Shadow-Boxing for 4 minutes)

Shadow-Boxing for 2 minutes

Bodyweight, push-ups and planks for other 2 minutes

Shadow-Boxing Bodyweight Squat Push-up Plank
2 minutes 20 reps 20 reps 20 reps

Round 3 (5 minutes)

Jabs Crosses Jabs & Crosses Jabs, Crosses & Hooks
50 50 50 25

Round 4 (5 minutes)

Alternating Knee Strikes Alternating Kicks Jabs & Kicks Crosses & KIcks
60 seconds 60 seconds 50 50

Round 5 (5 minutes)

Forward Rolls Backward Rolls Sit-ups Ground & Pound Push-ups
10 10 100 1 minute 15

8.4. Broad Jumps

Broad jumps are a part of plyometric exercises. They are performed to enhance your speed and force which will eventually help you in building muscle strength. It increases the explosive power of the practitioner. It is a simple exercise that has long-lasting benefits.

The UFC is all about explosiveness. So in order to become an explosive fighter, you need to develop an explosive fighting style. Broad jumps provide you with that explosiveness.

To perform broad jumps:

  • You need to stand straight with your hands pointing towards the roof.
  • Bring your hands down and exert pressure on your feet.
  • Thrust your hands back and then jump.
  • Mark the point where you are standing as A and the other point where you landed after the jump as B.
  • Measure the distance of the jump. This distance will keep on increasing once you have practiced broad jumps for a long period of time.

8.5. Weighted Box Jumps

Weighted box jumps are plyometric movements that make you react on impulse. Dumbbell box jumps are specifically the type of weighted box jump. A practitioner holds weight in his hands and goes for the box jump. It not only increases the muscle strength of the practitioner but also allows him to move faster.

It increases the leg power and athleticism of the practitioner.

To perform weighted box jumps, you can use dumbbells as weight.

  • Hold dumbbells in your hands and stand in front of a box step or a raised platform.
  • Your feet must be hip-distance apart.
  • Jump on the box step and bend your knees.
  • Add this exercise to your workout to transform into a UFC fighter.

8.6. Trap Bar Deadlift Jumps

Trap bar deadlift jumps are a part of a speed-strength exercise that are responsible for accelerating the practitioner’s force through which his speed and power of attacking his opponent increases. You must start slow as it is good for your tendons.

To perform trap bar deadlift jumps:

  • You need to have a trap bar deadlift for easy jumps. If you do not have that, you can go for a barbell deadlift.
  • Grab the handles of the trap bar and lift them by jumping so that it activates the muscle fibers.
  • When you jump with weight, your knees are the areas where a little force is applied.
  • The upper body torso experiences a great amount of force and eventually it becomes easy for a fighter to escape submissions.

8.7. Med Ball Side Toss

It increases the rotational power of the practitioner. So you can easily escape takedowns as your body becomes flexible. Mobility in the shoulders and hips also enhances to a greater level.

To perform med ball side toss:

  • Grab a med ball and start at one side of your hip.
  • Your other leg must be rotated in the direction of the ball.
  • Rotate the med ball to the other side while your opposite leg to the side where the med ball is.
  • Toss the ball on the wall and then rotate the ball and your legs to the other side.
  • Repeat the process on the other side too.
  • It will make your flexors strong as well as your hip mobility.

8.8. Fight-Specific Med Ball Throw

This is the more appropriate way to prepare yourself for the UFC. You stand in front of a wall as if you are in a fight. It provides you with a more realistic scenario. This is a ballistic exercise because you apply a great amount of force on the ball.

To perform fight-specific med ball throw:

  • Stand in front of the wall and hold a med ball in your hands.
  • The med ball should be at your chin level.
  • Move forward as if you are attacking the opponent and throw the ball with your one hand on the wall utilizing all the force in your body.
  • Repeat the process with your other hand.
  • Your obliques and glutes are the areas that apply the most force in order to throw the ball.

8.9. Constant Training

If you want to develop an outstanding game, you must have a hard training schedule. Only and only constant training will unleash your true abilities as a fighter. UFC is not for an average fighter. You have to show yourself that you are able to carry the weight of pressure as well as the fame that UFC showers you with.

Constant training means that the duration of the workouts increases as your strength increases.

9. Explosiveness For UFC

1 or 2 minutes seems like a little time and one can not accomplish much in it. But FYI, this is the time taken by most UFC fighters to claim the championship. Explosiveness in UFC accounts for the overworking and overpowering of the fighter. You need to have something in you that is beyond reach for other fighters. Having explosive power allows you to knock your opponent down by causing an imbalance in his/her stance.

9.1. Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebell workout is the prime source of strength and conditioning for MMA fighters. These are high-intensity workouts specially designed for athletes who want to increase their stamina and cardio to turn on their beast modes for their fights. In only 20 minutes, you can burn up to 400 calories. The more intense the kettlebell workout is, the greater the burning of calories along with the building of immense power and strength in the fighter.

There are many kettlebell workouts to increase not only your strength and power but also flexibility. Along with flexibility, you can also improve your body posture which mostly becomes a bad one from years of being in a combat sport. Hunched back is the most obvious problem that practitioners face. Kettlebell workouts not only solve back problems but also makes the fighter immune to injuries which are a huge part of UFC.

Following kettlebell workouts can be performed by practitioners who aim for the UFC.

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Kettlebell Sit-ups
  • Kettlebell Bent Over
  • Turkish Get-up

9.2. Deceleration Drills

The main benefit that athletes gain from deceleration drills is the lesser risk of injuries. It teaches your body how to control pressure and function in that environment. For example, submissions have an adverse effect on fighters. They are most likely to tap out without knowing how to get out of it. Deceleration drills instruct you how to decelerate the force without impacting the tissues around the joints.

To perform deceleration drills:

  • Stand on a raised surface or a box step.
  • Step down from the box step, standing on your both feet, and hold the position for 3 seconds.
  • It allows your body to embrace the sudden jump.
  • Now again stand on a box step but now jump down and stand on your one foot only.
  • It allows you to balance your body on the sudden impact.
  • You can also jump high and then land on both feet or one foot.

9.3. Reactive Plyometrics

Plyometrics are essential for enhancing elasticity and flexibility in the body. If you want to become a UFC fighter, you must take your endurance to an insane level. The reps are less in reactive plyometrics as your body takes time to decipher the sudden impact.

To perform plyometrics that can be reactive for your body:

  • Place 3 or 4 box steps in front of you with a distance between each of them.
  • Stand in front of one box step and jump over it.
  • Embrace the change in your position and keep on jumping to the last box step.
  • When you reach the last box step, jump and perform 1 squat after you land from the jump.

9.4. Band Jumps

Band jumps enhance flexibility and elasticity in your body. It also allows you to go for submissions and takedowns more easily.

To perform band jumps:

  • Take 2 resistance bands and tie them to a heavily weighted dumbbell.
  • Take the tied resistance bands over your shoulder and stand straight.
  • Now jump and take your hands to the top position while the band stretches as you jump.
  • Take a heavily weighted dumbbell so that it stays on the ground as you jump.
  • You can use the crossover set-up with the bands by encircling them over your feet.
  • Jump as you jumped when the bands were tied to a dumbbell.
  • You can also aim for long jumps with the same crossover set-up.

9.5. Paired Exercises

Paired exercise means that you can pair 2 exercises in your workout routine to gain more benefits. For example, if exercise A works on your upper body and exercise B world on your lower body, then combining the 2 exercises will result in a whole-body workout. It provides you with more advantages plus your stamina also enhances to a greater degree.

You can perform compound exercises such as squats and pull-ups at the start of your UFC training and then go for hamstring curls or tricep extensions. Exercises are paired so that you gain more energy and power by performing two exercises at the same time.

Or you can also go for deadlifts and pull-ups. The deadlift will provide you with a sudden pull that will engage your upper shoulder and lighten up your fatigued and retracted scapula. Scapula can be retracted when you perform way too many exercises without the proper rest time or during fights such as submissions and takedowns.

10. UFC’s Code of Conduct

UFC has now renewed its code of conduct policy after the misconduct displayed and faced by the UFC fighters inside and outside the octagon.

UFC’s Code of Conduct
The fighters shall conduct themselves in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency, social convention, and morals.
Disrespect must not be tolerated and any fighter being disrespectful can be disqualified from the fight at any time.
Derogatory or offensive conduct, including without limitation insulting language, symbols, or actions about a person’s ethnic background.
Inappropriate physical, verbal or online behavior will not be tolerated.
Any conduct or activity that undermines or puts risk to the organization or any UFC event must be stopped.

11. Elite UFC Fighters

11.1. UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is a wrestler, judoka and MMA fighter. She currently competes in WWE. Before that, she was a UFC fighter. She is a UFC Hall of Famer. She was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2018 in the modern wing. She has a 12-2-0 UFC record. She is called the “Undisputed Queen of Armbar”. When it comes to UFC’s best armbar there is only one name, Ronda Rousey.

11.2. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra

Matt Serra is an MMA fighter who competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has an 11-7-0 UFC record. He was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2018. He fights in the welterweight division and won The Ultimate Fighter 4 Welterweight Tournament.

11.3. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes

Matt Hughes is not only a former MMA fighter but also a wrestler. He is a 2-time UFC Welterweight Champion. He was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in May 2010. He has won 9 championships in his UFC career.

11.4. Randy Couture

Randy Couture is not only an American actor and an MMA fighter and Greco-Roman wrestler. He is the oldest UFC fighter on Earth. He has won 8 UFC championships. He was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in June 2006. He has a 19-11-0 UFC fight record.

12. How Much Do UFC Fighters Earn?

UFC fighters make a lot of money. UFC is today the most profitable and highly paying platform for MMA fighters. All practitioners aim to become UFC fighters because of the benefits they receive from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Pays for fighting UFC tournaments range from $10,000 to $3,000,000. And there are also bonuses for Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night.

For the contract fighters, there are 3 tiers.

Lowest Tier $10,000 to $30,000 per fight
Middle Tier $80,000 to $250,000 per fight
Highest Tier $500,000 to $3,000,000 per fight

Also from sponsorships, fighters do earn a lot.

Fighters with 1 to 3 fights $4000 per fight
Fighters with 4 to 5 fights $4500 per fight
Fighters with 6 to 10 fights $6000 per fight
Fighters with 11 to 15 fights $11,000 per fight
Fighters with 16 to 20 fights $16,000 per fight
Fighters with 21 or more fights $21,000 per fight
Fighters Competing for the UFC title $32,000 for the particular fight
Fighters who are Champions $42,000 per fight

13. The Top 15 MMA Fight Organizations (MMA Promotions) to Follow

With the ever-increasing popularity of MMA fights, the number of MMA organizations or MMA promotions is also increasing worldwide. Initially, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was the only MMA promotion worldwide, which was based in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, over the years, various MMA organizations have emerged as leading MMA fighting platforms.

Whether you are an MMA enthusiast who wants to watch an MMA fighting tournament live at the venue or someone looking to compete in an MMA tournament, you can train extensively to join any of the promotions mentioned above. If you are based in Russia, UK, or Japan, you can always aim to compete in AMC Fight Nights, Caged Steel, or Rizin Fighting Championship. As an Asian mixed martial artist, you can train to compete in ONE Championship. For this, start by joining a prominent MMA gym in your city and participating in local MMA tournaments and events. Competing in fighting tournaments will help you develop an attractive profile and will also improve your chances of getting noticed, allowing you to avail an opportunity to participate in the MMA promotions near you. It is also important to hire a well-connected agent to help you navigate through the process of getting signed with a national and eventually an international MMA promotion. Continue reading to find details about the current most prominent MMA promotions and organizations worldwide. Whether you are based in Asia, Japan, UK, Canada, USA, South Korea, or Russia, you can easily find an operational MMA organization near you in the list below.

13.1. Ultimate Fighting Championship

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was founded in 1993 and is currently the largest MMA promotion in the world. UFC headquarters are in Las Vegas, Nevada; however, the organization holds UFC events worldwide across 12 weight divisions, eight for men and four for women. In its 27 years, UFC has organized approximately 516 events and more are still to come.

13.2. ONE Championship

Founded by Chatri Sityondtong and Victor Cui on July 14, 2011, the ONE Championship is another multinational mixed martial arts organization. Originally, ONE Championship only promoted MMA events; however, the promotion eventually ventured into featuring submission grappling, kickboxing, and Muay Thai events also. Over the years, ONE Championship has managed to successfully hold over 200 events, becoming Asia’s largest MMA promotion.

13.3. Invicta Fighting Championship

Founded by Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin in 2012, Invicta Fighting Championship also called Invicta FC is a women-focused mixed martial arts promotion currently owned by Anthem Sports and Entertainment. Over the years, Invicta FC has held more than 50 events across five distinct weight divisions, including bantamweight, strawweight, catchweight, featherweight, and flyweight. Invicta Fighting Championship follows the same Unified Rules and Regulations of Mixed Martial Arts that were enacted by New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and Nevada State Athletic Commision due to the consistent efforts of UFC.

13.4. Bellator MMA

Founded by Bjourn Rebney in 2008, Bellator MMA is another popular mixed martial arts promotion headquartered in Hollywood, California, United States. At one time, Bellator MMA was considered the second largest MMA promotion in the United States. However, it still holds onto its place as one of the largest MMA organizations in the world. Bellator MMA’s first event took place in 2009, and the organization has held over 300 events ever since. In November 2023, Professional Fighters League (PFL) acquired the ownership rights of Bellator MMA. The new owner intends to keep the Bellator brand name for specific events. Currently, Bellator MMA holds bouts across nine weight divisions, seven for men and two for women.     

13.5. Absolute Championship Akhmat

Absolute Championship Akhmat, previously known as Absolute Championship Berkut, was founded in 2009 by Mairbek Khasiev. Headquartered in Grozny, Chechnya, the Absolute Championship Akhmat is a Russian mixed martial arts organization and one of the most prominent MMA promotions in Europe. The organization has held MMA events across eight distinct weight divisions in Russia and various other countries, including Australia, Turkey, England, Austria, Azerbaijan, China, USA, UAE, France, Belgium, Brazil, Canada.   

13.6. Pancrase MMA Championship

Founded by Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, and Ken Shamrock in 1993, Pancrase is a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion, headquartered in Tokyo. Initially, the promotion followed catch wrestling rules as two of the founders practiced catch wrestling. However, the organization eventually updated the rules and regulations to match the rules followed by other international MMA promotions - the Unified Rules and Regulations of Mixed Martial Arts. The Pancrase weight divisions (nine for men and four for women) are also based on the unified MMA rules. 

13.7. M-1 Global Fighting Championship

M-1 Global is another Russian mixed martials arts promotion, headquartered in Stt. Petersburg, Russia. The promotion was founded by Vadim Filkenchtein in 1997. Since its establishment, the M-1 Global MMA promotion holds 10-20 fighting events each year across eight weight divisions.

In July 2018, M-1 Global Fighting Championship partnered with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Based on this partnership, M-1 Global hunts the brimming Russian talent for UFC and also prepares and organizes UFC events in Russia. In return, the US based MMA promotion provides ample opportunity to M-1 Global Champions to sign with UFC.

The M-1 Challenge is a popular MMA series organized by the promotion. The tournament involves a series of fighting events/bouts held in various locations around the world. The M-1 Challenge MMA events are also broadcasted in more than 100 countries, particularly in Europe, Russia, and FSU countries.

The M-1 Selection is another MMA tournament organized by M-1 Global where newcomers are given an opportunity to showcase their mixed martial arts skills. This highly competitive platform offers only one chance as fighters are immediately eliminated after losing one bout. To progress to higher levels of the tournament, fighters must win each round. Those who win in their weight  division throughout the competition get an opportunity to compete in the Championship’s main event for the M-1 Selection title.

13.8. Rizin Fighting Federation

Founded in 2015 by Nobbuyuki Sakakibara, the former president of Dream Stage Entertainment and Pride Fighting Championship, Rizin Fighting Federation is a prominent Japan based mixed martial arts promotion. This top MMA promotion in Japan also organizes Grand Prix single elimination competitions in which one fighter has to compete against multiple fighters in one fight night. The promotion also differs in its rules and regulations as it follows the rules of Pride Fighting Championship and Dream Stage Entertainment. Unlike the UFC where fighters have to fight in a cage or fenced ring, the Rizin fighters compete in a roped ring. However, unlike the Pride Fighting Championship, Rizin Fighting Federation allows the use of elbow strikes, including the 12-6 elbow technique.

In addition to MMA, Rizin Fighting Federation also promotes and organizes kickboxing tournaments. Since its establishment, Rizin Fighting Federation has organized over 50 events across five weight divisions (four for men and one for women).  

13.9. AMC Fight Nights (Fight Nights Global)

Previously known as the Fight Nights Global, the AMC Fights Nights were founded by Kamil Gadzheiv in 2010. Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, AMC Fight Nights is the top Russian MMA promotion having held over 100 fighting events in various Russian cities, including Omsk, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Minsk, Astana, Dushanbe, Elista, Kostroma, and more.

The original Fight Nights Global was renamed AMC Fight Nights after Amir Muradov, owner of the AMC company, acquired Fight Nights Global from Kamil Gadzheiv in November 2020. Unlike other MMA promotions, AMC Fight Nights follows Russian mixed martial arts rules, according to which, elbow strikes are legal. Moreover, bouts that end in a draw are not assigned additional rounds to determine a winner. The AMC Fight Nights Global holds fights across 10 weight divisions, eight for men and two for women.

13.10. Caged Steel

Founded in 2011 in Doncaster, United Kingdom, Caged Steel is one of the best UK based MMA promotions that also organizes events featuring other exciting martial arts disciplines, including cage boxing and kickboxing (K1). The platform allows both amateur and professional MMA fighters, kickboxers, and boxers to showcase their hair-raising fighting skills to the world. Caged steel promotes safe weight cut systems for fighters and also arranges exciting competitive pairs across various weight classes. Since its establishment, Caged Steel has held over 20 events, and the promotion’s upcoming event, Caged Steel Bulgaria, is scheduled in May 2024. Tickets for the event are available on the promotion’s official website.

Caged Steel MMA fighting event is unique as it broadcasts all of its events internationally on their personal pay-per-view platform. MMA enthusiasts can easily buy the live streaming of different Caged Steel events by visiting their official website.

13.11. TKO Major League MMA

Previously known as Universal Combat Challenge, TKO Major League MMA was the first ever MMA organization in Canada founded by Stephane Patry in 2000 and rebranded as TKO Major League in 2003. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, this MMA fighting tournament was initially broadcast on RDS and Fight Network. 

TKO Major League MMA was once considered Canada’s largest MMA promotion; however, the organization went on an eight-year hiatus for undisclosed reasons. The Canada-based MMA tournament made a comeback in 2016 only to sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship. As a result of its deal with UFC, TKO Major League MMA fighting tournaments are now broadcast on UFC Fight Pass, the exclusive streaming system of the US-based MMA promotion. However, the preliminary TKO fight cards are still broadcast on Fight Network. Moreover, UFC also offers contracts to TKO Major League MMA Champions.

Earlier TKO/UFC only featured six weight divisions: 265 lb/Unlimited, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, and Super Lightweight/Featherweight. In 2007 and 2016, Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions were added respectively. In 2016, after the hiatus, two weight divisions for female MMA fighters were also added, including women's strawweight and women's flyweight. Despite being on hiatus for eight years and remaining inactive from 2020-2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic, TKO Major League MMA has successfully held over 60 MMA fights and MMA tournaments nearly all in Quebec, Canada.

13.12. ROAD Fighting Championship

Owned by Mun-Hong Jung and founded in 2010, ROAD Fighting Championship is a prominent MMA organization, headquartered in Wonju, South Korea. Over the years, more than 300 mixed martial artists from various countries, including South Korea, Middle East, Europe, China, Japan, Brazil, North America, and Southeast Asia have signed MMA fighting contracts with this South-Korean MMA organization.

ROAD Fighting Championship is unique out of all the MMA promotions operating on national and international levels, as it has created an amateur MMA tournament system that not only inspires young MMA prospects but also provides them a platform to compete and gain fighting experience. ROAD’s Young Guns undercard events and amateur and semi-professional leagues provide a complete support system to beginners, making it easy for them to unleash their full potential in a safe and controlled competitive environment. These young mixed martial artists, when fully ready, can easily transition to professional MMA fighting tournaments.

ROAD FC follows the global MMA ruleset, the Unified Rules and Regulations of Mixed Martial Arts. Currently, this MMA promotion holds MMA fights across one openweight and 10 weight divisions; nine for men and six for women. ROAD FC is also affiliated with several other prominent MMA organizations, including Invicta FC, ZST, and Deep.

13.13. 10th Legion Championship Fighting

Founded in 2008, the 10th Legion Fighting Championship is another well-known MMA promotion, headquartered in New Zealand, Hull, and London, England, United Kingdom. 10th Legion promoted its first MMA tournament in Hull, UK. Through its MMA fighting tournaments, 10th Legion Championship Fighting allows top mixed martial artists to show their remarkable fighting techniques. 10th Legion Champions combine lethal techniques from various Olympic and martial arts disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, judo, boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, MuayThai/kickboxing, freestyle wrestling, submission grappling, submission wrestling.

10th Legion has held about 11 successful MMA events internationally across eight weight divisions. Top MMA fighters from the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe competed in these events.

13.14. World Series of Fighting (Aggression Fighting Championship)

The promotions Armageddon Fighting and Aggression MMA made their debuts in 2009 and were later merged in 2012. As a result of this merger, the promotions were rebranded as Aggression Fighting Championship. In 2013, World Series of Fighting acquired the Aggression Fighting Championship; however, the new owners later came to know that the Aggression Fighting Championship had joined WSOF Canada.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the World Series of Fighting follows the Unified Rules and Regulations of Mixed Martial Arts and holds MMa tournaments across five weight divisions: Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, and Bantamweight.

13.15. Deep MMA Championship

Previously known as Deep2001, Deep MMA Championship was founded by Shigeru Saeki in 2001. Headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, Deep promoted its first event in January 2001, featuring the legendary Royler Gracie and Paulo Filho. Being a former public relations Director of Japan-based Pride Fighting Championship, Saeki had all the experience required to establish and run a successful MMA promotion. In May 2008, Deep partnered with ZST for greater recognition, revenue, and overall prominence in the MMA industry. Over the years, Deep has successfully held over 150 MMA tournaments, featuring over 2000 MMA fights. All of the Deep events took place in Japan across 12 weight divisions, nine for men and three for women.   

14. How to Find MMA Tournaments to Compete in

The MMA promotions and organizations mentioned above hold the most well-known and prestigious MMA tournaments globally. However, to compete in these elite tournaments, you need to demonstrate fighting experience. To develop an impressive profile as an MMA fighter, it is best that you start competing in local MMA tournaments. Some local MMA clubs also hold amateur and semi-professional fighting tournaments where beginner fighters can register themselves to fight.

14.1. Tapology MMA Tournament Calendar

To find local MMA events and tournaments in your area, Tapology's Fight Center is one the most extensive and reliable resources. On this website, you can find out details about scheduled events of UFC, Bellator MMA, boxing events, and shows arranged by local MMA promoters. 

14.2. UMMAF MMA Tournaments

In addition, the United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UMMAF) is another organization that sanctions multiple local MMA tournaments and shows across the United States. Make sure you check UMMAF's official website to find MMA fighting tournaments to watch or compete in.

14.3. Join Online MMA Clubs

Searching for small MMA clubs and events on Facebook is also an option. It is best to join an MMA club online to stay informed about upcoming MMA competitions near you.

14.4. Check with Local MMA Gyms

It is best to find local MMA gyms near you using Google Maps. Local MMA gyms are the main hubs of local MMA talent, provided they have an active fighting team. By joining a local MMA gym with a fight team, you can stay informed about amateur and semi-professional MMA fighting competitions that get organized in your city. Most local MMA gyms also work in collaboration with different MMA promotions, arranging MMA training camps and MMA fighting amateur tournaments on gym, city, and even state level. 

14.5. Unaffiliated MMA Fighting

If you don’t want to join an MMA gym, fight as an unaffiliated fighter; however, in this case, you will be matched with another unaffiliated mixed martial artist that may not be well-trained or as skilled. Therefore, the scope of learning is restricted in such fights. If you must start your MMA journey as an unaffiliated fighter, then fill out registration forms at World Fighting Championships, Cage Wars MMA, and Camo MMA. To find more such sites, simply type MMA [*your state/city] in the Google search bar. To get appropriate search results, avoid typing MMA tournaments near me or fighting tournaments near me. Though you may get some search results, there is no certainty that they are being organized in your area.

15. FAQs

15.1. Why Explosiveness is Important For UFC Fighters?

Explosiveness is important in the UFC because there are fighters with different martial arts backgrounds. For a fighter aiming to become a part of UFC, skills of diverse martial arts are necessary to turn him into a hulk so that he can transform into a UFC Champion.

15.2. What is the Importance of Amateur Fights?

Amateur fights provide you with experience. A fighter who knows how MMA fights are is most likely to learn different techniques that will turn him into an excellent MMA fighter.

15.3. Can Men Fight in the UFC’s Strawweight Weight Class?

In the UFC, the strawweight weight division is only for women. Men can not compete in it. But in ONE Championship, men can compete in the strawweight division.

15.4. What is UFC Sports?

Ultimate Fighting Championship is an international sports organization that promotes mixed martial arts, a full-contact combat sport. Being the world’s largest MMA promotion, UFC is a premium sports entity. 

15.5. What Happens if You Lose Your UFC Debut?

Though losing your debut UFC fight doesn’t end your career, it can affect a fighter’s career negatively, especially if they are unable to make a stronger comeback in the next fight. Most fighters are not given a chance if they lose three UFC fights in a row.

15.6. Who is Raulian Paiva in UFC?

Raulian Paiva, a talented Brazilian mixed martial artist, was a bantamweight UFC fighter. In August 2018, he appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series and competed against Allan Nascimento. After winning the fight via split decision, White offered Paiva the highly-coveted UFC contract.

In February 2019, Paiva made his UFC debut at UFC 234. He lost his debut bout against Kai-Kara France via split decision. Despite winning a couple of bouts and receiving the UFC Fight of the Night Award, Paiva remained unable to create a successful UFC career.

Raulian Paiva competed in seven UFC events and managed to win only three bouts. In January 2023, Raulian Paiva was released from the UFC.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class 
2019 UFC 234 Kai Kara-France L Decision (Split) 3 Flyweight
2019 UFC Fight Night: Shevchenko vs. Carmouche 2  Rogerio Bontorin L TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 1 Flyweight
2020 UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs. Blachowicz 2 Mark De La Rosa W KO (Punches) 2 Flyweight
2020 UFC 251 Zhalgas Zhumagulov W Decision (Unanimous) 3 Flyweight
2021 UFC on ESPN: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw Kyler Phillips W Decision (Majority) 3 Bantamweight
2021 UFC 269 Sean O’Malley L TKO (Punches) 1 Bantamweight
2022 UFC on ESPN: Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot Sergey Morozov L Decision (Unanimous) 3 Bantamweight

15.7. UFC Signs 17 Year Old - Which MMA Fighter Was Signed?

In 2022, Raul Rasos Jr., a 17-year-old MMA fighter, became the youngest mixed martial artist to sign a UFC contract. Dana White offered Rosas the contract, after the 17-year-old defeated 25-year-old Mando Gutierrez via unanimous decision on Dana White’s Contender Series.   

15.8. How Hard is It to Become a UFC Fighter?

Making it to UFC is not an easy feat. Mixed martial artists must develop exceptional fighting skills to take on highly competitive fighters in the cage. The road to becoming a UFC fighter is a long one and requires years of hard work and dedication.

15.9. What Are the Best UFC Submissions in 2023?

Each year, a number of UFC fighters make history with their awe-inspiring submission finishes, and the year 2023 was no different. Here are some of the best UFC submissions in 2023.

Date UFC Event UFC Fighters UFC Submission Finishes
March 2023  UFC 285 Shevchenko vs. Grasso Alexa Grasso wins via rear naked choke
March 2023  UFC 285 Neal vs. Rakhmonov Shavkat Rakhmonov wins via standing rear naked choke
March 2023  UFC 285 Jones vs. Gane Jon Jones wins via guillotine choke
March 2023 UFC Fight Night Assuncao vs. Grant Davey Grant wins via inverted triangle choke
February 2023 UFC Fight Night Muniz vs. Alen Brendan Alen wins via rear naked choke
January 2023 UFC 283 Bonfim vs. Lazzez Gabriel Lazzez wins via mounted guillotine choke
August 2023  UFC Fight Night Blackshear vs. Johnson Da’mon Blackshear wins via Twister
January 2023  UFC 283 Burns vs. Magny Gilbert Burns wins via arm triangle choke
February 2023  UFC 284 Brown vs. Maddalena Jack Della Maddalena wins via rear naked choke
February 2023 UFC Fight Night Taira vs. Aguilar Tatsuro Taira wins via triangle armbar
March 2023 UFC Fight Night Krylov vs. Spann Nikita Krylov wins via triangle choke
July 2023 UFC 291 Ferguson vs. Green Bobby Green wins via arm triangle choke
March 2023 UFC Fight Night Nam vs. Silva Bruno Silva wins via rear naked choke
August 2023 UFC Fight Night Wells vs. Harris Carlston Harris wins via anaconda choke
March 2023 UFC 286 Nelson vs. Barberena Gunnar Nelson wins via armbar

15.10. Which Martial Arts Background is Best for UFC?

Based on the success of current UFC fighters, such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, B.J Penn, Jone Jones, Anderson Silva, Charles Oliviera, and Conor McGregor, it can be concluded that fighters with a background of wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and boxing make the most successful UFC fighters. However, a UFC fighter must also acquire a diverse range of fighting skills by adapting to different fighting styles.

15.11. What is the API in UFC?

UFC API (application performance interface) is a special web crawler used to collect and provide data on different UFC fighters, promotions, and events. UFC API can be created in various languages; however, the most preferred one is Python as it is the most user-friendly.

15.12. Are All UFC Fighters Mixed Martial Artists?

Yes. To compete in UFC, fighters need to have a well-rounded skill set, which means they must practice various disciplines of martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing, judo, and others. Being proficient in striking, grappling, ground-control, clinching, takedowns, and submissions is essential to become a successful UFC fighter.

15.13.  How to Watch and Live Stream Dana White's Contender Series?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) launched Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017, providing a platform to the next generation of mixed martial artists to compete and win a UFC contract. For MMA enthusiasts, Dana White’s Contender Series is one of the most exciting events to watch. The editions of this event usually run from August to October/November.

During these months, multiple fight nights are organized on Tuesday that are broadcasted live from UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada. To watch these fight nights and other events of Dana White’s Contender Series, you need ESPN+ subscription, an exclusive digital streaming platform. Unfortunately, no other ESPN channel broadcasts this event.

All fighting events that take place as part of Dana White’s Contender Series can be streamed through ESPN+. As of 2023, the subscription costs $9.99 per month, while the yearly subscription costs around $99.99. 

15.14. What is MMA Fighting?

MMA Fighting: The News Website

Owned by Vox Media, MMA Fighting is a sport news website that covers all the information and events of mixed martial arts. Established by Ray Hui in 2001, MMA Fighting was initially called the Angelfire website. Today, it is best known for covering MMA breaking news, podcasts, and the MMA show called the “MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.”

In 2009, MMA Fighting was purchased by AOL, and later, in 2011, it was purchased by the current owners, Vox Media. According to Alexa Internet, MMA Fighting is the #3 most popular MMA news websites in the world.

MMA Fighting has won the “Media Source of the Year” award four times in the World MMA Awards. Out of these, three were consecutive wins between 2015-2017.  Furthermore, since 2010, Ariel Helwani, an MMA journalist and MMA Fighting employee, has won the “MMA Journalist of the Year” award every year.

The MMA Hour at MMA Fighting

MMA Fighting broadcasts the show “The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani twice a week. The show features different interviews featuring mixed martial artists, UFC fighters, MMA promoters, MMA trainers, combat sports journalists, etc.

From June 2009 to June 2018, Aerie; Helwani hosted The MMA Hour weekly; however, in June 2018, he was replaced by Luke Thomas. In June 2021, Ariel Helwani returned to MMA Fighting to host “The MMA Hour.” This time he joined on a twice-weekly basis.

16. Conclusion

To become a UFC fighter, you need to develop strong and undefeated fighting techniques. You can also go for drilling and sparring techniques and you can evaluate yourself.

Those techniques must comprise different forms of martial arts such as wrestling, boxing, BJJ, taekwondo, and Judo. It will transform you into an all-rounder MMA fighter. You need to increase explosiveness that will untether your grappling skills.

Practitioners can perform various workouts designed for UFC training. You can go for kettlebell workouts or strength training exercises. Plyometrics will help you in gaining strength and elasticity.

Photo Credit: @gilbert_burns

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