BJJ

BJJ VS Wrestling: Which one is a more effective fighting style?

BJJ VS Wrestling: Which one is a more effective fighting style?

BJJ and wrestling both are highly effective disciplines of martial arts that can prove to be fatal if not practiced in a controlled manner. Both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling have their unique set of techniques, maneuvers, and fighting styles that empower practitioners to a point that both can defend themselves when not armed with weapons. Both BJJ and wrestling improve a practitioner’s strength, stamina, physical fitness, and mental acuity, allowing them to quickly come up with a strategy by anticipating the moves of their opponent. However, it is often debated that wrestling is heavily focused on physical strength whereas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu liberates a practitioner from the fear of fighting a stronger, heavier, and bigger opponent. 

Along these lines, many believe that BJJ is more effective when a small and lean athlete is competing. On the other hand, wrestlers offer a rebuttal and claim that in a street fight or uncontrolled environment, BJJ will be a weakness. Primarily because such fights are mostly fought while standing, and wrestling techniques help neutralize threats immediately in a standing position. Since BJJ techniques are mostly ground-based, they cannot be immediately applied in a street fight. The swift and decisive nature of wrestling gives a wrestler an added advantage in terms of timing, which BJJ practitioners don’t have. Additionally, many other arguments still have Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling enthusiasts contesting the effectiveness of the martial art of their choice. This article aims to highlight all the differences between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling, including their origins, uniform rules, core principles, ranking systems, and effectiveness in a real-life altercation. 

1. Explaining All About BJJ vs Wrestling

Many martial arts enthusiasts used to search on the Internet about the major differences between BJJ and Wrestling. A popular question is which one is a more effective or superior fighting style. However, this debate has no particular answer as different wrestling and BJJ practitioners have different opinions and thoughts.


Most of the time, laymen can easily misunderstand the techniques and methods used in BJJ and wrestling, mistaking them both as being the same. But still, both have historical perspectives, philosophies, legacies, and fighting techniques. We can also say that wrestling is the oldest one that existed in the primeval times, but BJJ has 100 years' worth of history.


BJJ and wrestling come from the same combat family tree. BJJ is all about using techniques that can easily knock down the opponent with the help of submission moves. Meanwhile, wrestling uses aggressive moves to dominate and exert weight on the opponent.


Undoubtedly, BJJ has become one of the most popular forms of martial arts and has recently been used in several grappling sports events like (Gi and No-Gi), MMA , and self-defense competitions. It is said to be the most effective and rewarding form of MMA, emphasizing ground positions while applying different chokes, and locking the neck and joints to subdue a challenger. BJJ training among people of all ages and backgrounds is growing faster as it has grown popular as a sports/fun activity, self-defense, stress reliever, and physical/mental healing process.


The art of BJJ fighting has gone through many experiments, adaptations from Judo , and practices. The philosophy behind the BJJ is that its learning is not based on hurting or breaking the bones of your rival, instead, it is to force your opponent to tap out. So, learning these fighting skills gives you a chance to protect yourself, no matter what gender, size, age, or power an opponent may have. Along with learning different fighting skills, BJJ can also help you gain self-confidence, self-esteem, focus, concentration, mental health, and physical fitness.


We cannot also undermine the popularity of wrestling around the world as it is more widely practiced at the school level and added as a part of the sports curriculum. Wrestling emphasizes physical strength, speed, techniques, and controlling the opponent. It also used several grappling techniques, clinch fighting, throws, takedowns, joint locks, and pins. It has proper rules and regulations with a less flexible structure. The basic rules for wrestling include breathing/relaxing exercises, massive movements, and maintaining balance/body structure during a match.


Thus, it is less adaptive and flexible than BJJ. Usually, wrestlers work on their physical strength and muscular body which makes their training harder and highly focused. The wrestlers need to win the competition by putting a lot of physical power, gaining a superior position, and putting on the pressure.


Wrestling can be played in many different styles such as Greco-Roman, Freestyle Wrestling, Folk styles, Catch Wrestling, and Submission wrestling. Besides physical strength and building muscles, wrestling also helps build character and instills willpower, resilience, and preservation. The wrestling community is considered highly disciplined and follows proper work ethics. In different countries, we can find slightly different variations and techniques in accordance with culture and old traditions.

1.1. Origin and History

BJJ

BJJ

The meaning of the word “jiu-jitsu” means gentle art, derived from the Japanese language. It was taught by Mitsyuo Maeda in 1917 to Carlos Gracie and then passed down to the Gracie family. Maeda added many advanced techniques in BJJ from Japanese Judo to Kodokan.

 

The Gracie family was responsible for transforming this traditional fighting style into well-organized art with appropriate curriculum and values. The official BJJ Championship was held in the 1990s.

 

It got much recognition from the 1920s to the 1940s. Before the 1990s, BJJ was not practiced anywhere except in Brazil. Now, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation organizes many tournaments worldwide such as the World BJJ Championship, WNO, Pan BJJ Championship, and European Open BJJ Championship.

Wrestling

Wrestling

Wrestling is considered to be one of the oldest recreational fighting sports. The evidence of the sports being practiced in ancient times was found in cave drawings and picture stories that were around 15,000 to 20,000 years old.

 

Since 708 BC, It was also a popular game in the Olympics of Ancient Greece. It also existed during the times of Ancient France, Southern Europe, Egypt, the Bible’s Old Testament, and even in Indian religious texts (Ramayana/Mahabharata).

 

The royal families used to organize such fights in France, Japan, and England during the Middle Ages. Then, Europeans introduced this fighting style to America. Today, it is demonstrated at different national and international championships across the world with set rules and stages.

2. Game Rules for BJJ and Wrestling

2.1. Key Principles (Wrestling)

The purpose of wrestling is to knock down the opponent on the ground by gaining the top position using various techniques.

2.2. Key Principles (BJJ)

The use of leverage, techniques, and guard positions are emphasized in BJJ rather than the use of just bodily strength.

2.3. Uniform (BJJ)

We can observe the basic differences in the uniforms worn by BJJ fighters and wrestlers during competitions and training.


A traditional uniform worn in Gi matches is the kimono. It comprises cotton trousers and a jacket along with a ranking belt which also holds the jacket together.

A No-Gi uniform includes a rash guard, shorts, and spat pants

2.4. Uniform (Wrestling)

In wrestling, the uniform comprises spandex (singlet), wrestling shoes, and headgear along with elbow and knee pads.

2.5. Rules (BJJ)

The average time limit for each IBJJF match is around 5-10 minutes in accordance with the challenger rank. The main aim of the challenger is to win the match by submission or accumulating points within a minimum time.

 

Listed below are the points you can earn in a match:

  • Mount/Back Mount: 4 points
  • Guard Pass: 3 points
  • Sweep: 2 points
  • Knee On Belly: 2 points
  • Takedown/Judo Throw: 2 points
  • Advantage point (for trying different positions or to get almost submission)

2.6. Rules (Wrestling)

The main objective in wrestling matches is to knock down your opponent and make him tap your shoulder for one second. Splitting up the match in rounds is a practice used in different wrestling styles such as high school, collegiate, and international competitions.

  • High School Wrestling: Three 2-minute rounds
  • College Wrestling: One 3-minute round and one 2-minute round
  • International/Olympic Wrestling: Two 3-minute rounds
  • Points in a wrestling match include:
  • Takedown: 2 points
  • Reversal: 2 points
  • Near fall (2 seconds): 2 points
  • Near Fall (5 seconds): 3 point

2.7. BJJ Ranking System

BJJ ranking and promotion are dependent on the five different colored belts. It takes almost eight to 10 years to get promoted to black belt.

  • White Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Purple Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Black Belt

2.8. Wrestling Ranking System

In wrestling, there are the following levels.

  • High School Level
  • College Level
  • International/Olympic Level

3. Similarities and Differences Between BJJ Vs Wrestling

3.1. Similarities Between BJJ vs Wrestling

  1. Both are forms of grappling and involve fighting on the ground.
  2. BJJ fighters and wrestlers, both aim to knock down, control, and subdue their competitors.
  3. Both fighting styles have the same aims, but their rules are different.
  4. In both sports , challengers strive for higher scores to end the match using different submission techniques.

3.2. Differences Between BJJ vs Wrestling

  1. The whole emphasis of BJJ is on submission and ground fighting whereas wrestling is based on takedowns and pins.
  2. BJJ is based on using the right techniques at the right time with the right competitor whereas wrestlers just use their physical strength, power, and speed.
  3. Wrestling rules are rigid and strict whereas BJJ rules are quite practical and dynamic.
  4. Wrestlers use weight and pressure to win the fighting competition whereas BJJ fighters gain points through submissions to win.
  5. Due to BJJ’s emphasis on ground fighting, it is considered to be a more beneficial sub-discipline of martial arts.
  6. Although both disciplines use practical fighting styles in a street fight, BJJ has proved to be a superior way of protecting oneself from any threat/harm.

4. Objectives of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Wrestling

The main objective of wrestling is to throw the opponent to the ground using throws or aggressive takedown techniques, pinning them to the ground, and using force or pressure to subdue them. During wrestling training, the emphasis is on developing greater bodily strength and adhering to the rules of competition. Since wrestling is governed by rules, it is considered more of a combat sport than a martial art designed to provide a reliable self-defense mechanism. In wrestling, the entire focus is using force to gain more points in a competitive setting; therefore, a wrestler is not mentally conditioned to fight an attacker in a conventional sense of fighting. However, all the techniques learned during a wrestling training session are applicable in real-life fighting or self-defense scenarios and also prove to be highly effective. 


On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a complete code of self-defense, designed to teach practitioners how to defend themselves against attackers. The fighting skills taught in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are based on ground-based submission and grappling. Therefore, just like wrestling, a BJJ practitioner must also get his opponent to the ground and neutralize the threat by incapacitating the opponent through submissions, chokes, holds, dominant positions, and joint locks. BJJ practitioners frequently practice Gi grips, a technique that BJJ athletes use to manipulate their opponents by grabbing their collars, sleeves, or lapels. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner has the power to inflict serious injuries or kill his opponent in a strategic manner.

5. The Intensity and Use of Force in BJJ and Wrestling

The moves and maneuvers in wrestling require swiftness, decisiveness, and more aggression. Wrestling is a highly explosive combat sport and martial art as it emphasizes on throwing the opponent off balance and giving him no time to react. Wrestling is also considered an intense cardio workout that pushes one's limits, making them stronger both physically and mentally. Hence, in addition to greater strength, wrestlers enjoy sustained stamina. 

 

Compared to wrestling, BJJ is not as explosive and aggressive, considering athletes grapple at a much slower pace than in a wrestling match. Even though Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a demanding martial art with long and tiring training sessions, it is not as intense when compared to wrestling. BJJ emphasizes on developing mental acuity, strategy, and mastery over various submission skills. 

6. Individual Pros and Cons of BJJ Vs Wrestling

6.1. Pros (BJJ)

  • It is proven to be more useful and reliable for  defending  oneself.
  • It is beneficial for everyone and can be taken up as a hobby, a thrilling sport, or even a profession.
  • It helps shape the body and muscles perfectly through exercises.
  • It is practiced across many countries of the world.
  • It is also helpful in relieving stress and depression.
  • Anyone can start it at any age with no prior MMA experience.

6.2. Cons (BJJ)

  • Due to its growing popularity, many  academies  and mentors are providing fake belts to its practitioners.
  • You can’t learn aggressive fighting and attacking techniques like slamming, striking, kicks, and punches.
  • You need extra time and effort to learn the appropriate techniques before being promoted to the next rank.

6.3. Pros (Wrestling)

  • The training is hard and intense with a lot of workouts.
  • It helps control the opponent in self-defense.
  • It is also beneficial for physical and mental health.
  • It helps with having expertise in the standing moves.
  • As it is one of the hardest sports to learn, it helps with enhancing your mental capacity to overcome challenges.

6.4. Cons (Wrestling)

  • It cannot be taken up as a hobby.
  • You can’t learn submissions in wrestling which is a drawback in finishing the fight.
  • The techniques of striking and slamming can be dangerous and harmful.
  • There are less reputable institutions for wrestling in other countries apart from the USA.

7. Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Compared to Wrestling

Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of each martial art separately, it is pertinent to analyze the advantage one has over the other. Just like jiu-jitsu has many advantages of its own that can compel martial arts enthusiasts to practice gentle art, it also enjoys several advantages over wrestling that make it a better combat style. Whenever a fight hits the ground, the submission and grappling skills taught in jiu-jitsu give the practitioner an edge over his opponent. Even though jiu-jitsu athletes don’t have bulky muscles and also don’t look powerful, their combat skills can take any opponent by surprise once on the ground. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can choke their opponents, break their limbs, and even make them unconscious without much effort.


In a BJJ academy, practitioners learn and master how to finish a fight for good. Plus, they also learn how to fight in the most vulnerable positions, such as while lying on their backs with their opponent on top of them (mount position), their opponent pinning them to the ground in a side control position, back mount, and turtle where the back of the practitioner is vulnerable to chokes, locks, holds, and other submissions. Wrestlers are adept at takedowns and holding their opponents to the ground, but this is exactly where a BJJ practitioner wants to be because he is programmed to not only get out of these positions but also finish the fight by executing lethal submissions. This ability to finish the opponent and leave him unable to retaliate is crucial in a fight.


In other words, the ability of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner to use any position to his advantage, escape controlling positions, use sweeps, apply submission techniques, and reverse the position at any moment gives them an upper hand on their opponent. On the contrary, wrestlers are trained to control their opponent but from the top position, also called the mount in BJJ. Plus, they are not very comfortable fighting off their backs, so if a BJJ fighter transitions from being on the back to the top position through a mount sweep or a mount reversal, a wrestler will find himself at a disadvantage unless he has the training to escape such position.


Therefore, for a wrestler to survive a strong BJJ fighting strategy, it is important to learn how to defend submission and fight from the bottom position. Otherwise, they must maintain the top position after successfully performing a takedown in a fight. 

8. Benefits of Wrestling Compared to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

After analyzing the advantages Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has over wrestling, it is natural to assume that jiu-jitsu is without question more effective than wrestling. However, the latter also has its own benefits over BJJ which can turn the tables in favor of a wrestler in a split second. As mentioned earlier, wrestlers are masters of aggressive takedown. A powerful or aggressive takedown is all a wrestler needs to temporarily stun an opponent, leaving him no time to react to a wrestler’s moves, further controls, and attacks. Oftentimes, a BJJ grappler fighting a wrestler is so badly injured that it becomes extremely difficult for him to escape a dominant position let alone try a reversal or a submission attempt. 

 

Not a single martial art discipline in the world has better takedown techniques of wrestling. Therefore, a BJJ practitioner is nearly defenseless against a takedown because jiu-jitsu does not teach many standing techniques. Those BJJ gyms that teach how to defend against takedowns often lack the depth of instruction required to defend a relentless takedown, which impacts the overall effectiveness of BJJ in a fight against wrestlers. 

 

On the other hand, wrestlers spend day after day rigorously training how to attack or defend against takedowns. They are matchless when it comes to slamming opponents on the ground and pinning them there to transition to a more controlling position, prevent escapes, use threat-neutralizing techniques, and use evasive footwork or blocking techniques to minimize damage from their attacker or opponent. In a real-life altercation where there are no rules, a wrestler may also resort to punches and strikes to the head and other vulnerable areas, incapacitating their opponent. The strength and conditioning included in a wrestler’s training is often enough of a threat to an attacker, giving them a strong build and protecting them from a fight long before it starts. 

9. Self-Defense with BJJ and Wrestling

Watch Joe Rogan Highlight the Importance of Learning BJJ for Self Defense

If we talk about which fighting style will help us more with defending ourselves, then BJJ is preferred as it is considered gentler and related more to self-defense techniques.


Even now BJJ fighting is more popular to learn as a form of self-defense rather than competing in tournaments. In contrast, wrestling is a more aggressive and brutal way of fighting. Both BJJ and wrestling have been proven to protect you against any unwanted attack or street fights. With wrestling and BJJ, you don’t only learn self-defense but also help in making your bodily responses and reflexes fast and accurate.


A wrestler can easily knock down their competitor in a highly efficient manner. The wrestler has some advantages over a BJJ fighter. The BJJ techniques are more focused on the ground fighter, whereas the wrestler can easily control any opponent with stand-up techniques. They also have a great ability to take down any opponent easily with their athletic instincts. Their bodies are already prepared with strength training which is very essential in defending yourself and others from any harm.


Fighting is determined more by the individual’s skill level, physical abilities, and a whole lot of luck compared to specific styles of martial arts.


The BJJ fighters could prove themselves more skilled, as they have a grip on the combination of submission moves. As they devote their extra time and efforts to learning submissions from their backs whereas, wrestlers don’t have many techniques to tackle from their backs. You don’t need to fight by controlling someone’s back every time, but still, this is an extra milestone for BJJ athletes. Moreover, BJJ fighters can easily break someone’s grip on their shirts from the backside.

10. BJJ or Wrestling - The Better Fighting Style for MMA

Watch Joe Rogan Discussing the Importance of Wrestling in MMA

Both BJJ and wrestling are highly effective in the modern mixed martial arts circuit. Especially with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre emerging as the Greatest of All Time MMA fighters having a wrestling background, the bias that prevailed in the earlier MMA matches that BJJ outperforms wrestling in a cage has been debunked. Today, it is only a matter of skill and not about whether the MMA fighter is a jiu-jitsu practitioner or a wrestler. In fact, a combination of both combat styles is now the key to success in a modern MMA bout. Because grappling, takedowns, strikes, and submissions are equally important to win an MMA fight.

Photo Credit: Tapology 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has played a crucial role in popularizing mixed martial arts worldwide. In the early 1990s when Royce Gracie demonstrated unparalleled prowess over ground fighting techniques, he also showcased the importance of grappling in MMA. As a result, BJJ dominated the MMA scene for years. Under limited rules, Royce Gracie defeated opponents who were physically stronger, bulkier, and twice his size. This importance and relevance of BJJ in MMA was also realized and adopted by other MMA fighters who cross-train grappling and submission skills with Muay Thai, judo, karate, wrestling, kickboxing, and other martial arts.


On the other hand, wrestling has also held significant importance in an MMA fight. However, it became truly relevant when Mark Coleman introduced the use of ground-and-pound techniques inside the cage. Dan Severn also promoted the use of wrestling in MMA fights.


It is also worth analyzing the scenarios in which wrestling and jiu-jitsu were developed. From the beginning, wrestling has been a time-constrained sport, while jiu-jitsu was developed around the concept of Vale Tudo, a Portuguese term that translates to ‘anything goes.’ In Vale Tudo, there were no time limits and a fighter could stall, attack, and defend indefinitely. In MMA, rounds are time-constrained and because most wrestlers train their minds to throw down their opponents, pin them to the ground, and control them until the round is up, they have maximized their chances of winning MMA fights.


In conclusion, both BJJ and wrestling offer the perfect base for success in MMA. Some of the most successful professional mixed martial artists and UFC champions either have a wrestling or a BJJ background and they often cross-train both martial arts to better prepare themselves for the challenges faced in the octagon.

11. Which One is More Effective: BJJ Vs Wrestling?

Watch MMA Coach Firas Zahabi Discuss the Effectiveness of BJJ and Wrestling

Although BJJ and wrestling are different fighting styles, still, they both get along very well. The athletes having expertise in both BJJ and wrestling proved to be better combatants.


Now, curiosity arises about which one is more effective, so let’s see how each fighting discipline varies from the other.


So, if we talk about BJJ, it is considered to be the best for self-defense fighting, but it does not make it a passive game. It is a complete kit to teach you all the skills necessary to survive in any duel, equipping you with tough escape positions and controlling movements by an opponent.


The training for BJJ is also very intense, practicing bodily resistance, pushing, and pulling with fighting partners. BJJ art combat is for everyone, regardless of gender, age, body structure, weight, or height. It is the fact that it is getting very popular among all. BJJ Athletes can also practice it for their passion, interest, hobby, or pursue further as a profession. The training is also less intense and exhausting compared to wrestling. So, it is not necessary to have a strong muscular build to continue BJJ-like wrestling.


Even though BJJ is less intense than wrestling, it is still not easy to learn all the mastery techniques easily in a few months. It took almost 12-13 years to get awarded a black belt. Most of the time, it is misunderstood in some other martial arts disciplines that a black belt is a symbol of mastery. In BJJ, a black belt is taken as the beginning of the journey to practice the complicated techniques on the ground.


Progress is guaranteed in BJJ through different ranks for only those students who continued it with passion, determination, and work ethics. This gentle art emphasizes more on the practical implementation of complex techniques by deeply understanding the purpose behind them.


Now, the most important concern by Sports Athletes is who will win in a grapple between BJJ fighter and wrestler. So, most probably a BJJ fighter wins with fewer injuries as he will have more command in escaping and locking the arms or neck of the opponent. A BJJ fighter is also well-versed with such skills and techniques that helped him to knock down any aggressive or heavier opponent. Even a brown belt can also defeat a heavier wrestler than him. Usually, wrestlers tried to show their muscular strength by coming into a bad position that is easily pinned down by BJJ fighters.


On other hand, the wrestlers training is more tough and intense based on overpowering the opponent by strength. It also emphasizes stand-up techniques. They follow the simple law of Physics to exert more force and power upon the opponent while standing than lying down. So, wrestlers used to exert more force and energy per minute compared to BJJ fighters. Wrestlers could be easily submitted as wrestling doesn’t have any submission techniques.

12. Frequently Asked Questions

12.1. Can You Train Both BJJ and Wrestling Simultaneously?

Can You Train Both BJJ and Wrestling Simultaneously
Photo Credit: UFC.com.br

If you are only interested in a quick yes or no answer, then yes, a martial art enthusiast can train both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling at the same time. Professional wrestling is heavily focused on grappling, which is why many pro wrestlers either have a BJJ background or they simply add jiu-jitsu training to their wrestling training routine. The success and popularity of BJJ in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and other prominent MMA fighting championships has compelled many wrestlers to practice BJJ as well. Some of the most fierce strikers in pro wrestling who also train BJJ or have a jiu-jitsu background include:

  • Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Dave Bautista
  • Daniel Bryan
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Becky Lynch
  • Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)
  • Shayne Baszler
  • Eve Torres

As discussed earlier, BJJ and wrestling have their own unique techniques, pros, cons, and combat style; however, both of these martial art disciplines involve grappling, and as a result, they complement each other. Therefore, any wrestling or BJJ enthusiast should consider training both these disciplines at the same time to become a well-rounded wrestler or grappler. In addition to the wrestlers listed above, many modern-day mixed martial artists have also proved through their remarkable success in the cage that BJJ and wrestling is a deadly combination that many MMA fighters are unable to defend themselves against. Takedowns, strikes, grappling, and submission, all four are key aspects of MMA. Out of these, BJJ and wrestling have at least two of these elements if not all. 

Can You Train Both BJJ and Wrestling Simultaneously
Photo Credit: Business Insider

Khabib Nurmagomedov is the perfect example of a ruthless wrestler with a prowess over BJJ submission techniques. On the other hand, Gilbert Burns - The King of UFC Welterweight Division, the former Brazilian Jiu-Jitus World Champion and a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt, emerged as an invincible UFC mixed martial artist, after adding wrestling skills in his BJJ training for MMA transition.  

Can You Train Both BJJ and Wrestling Simultaneously
Photo Credit: New York Post

Therefore, if you are unable to decide whether BJJ or wrestling will be more effective for you in a real-life fight or inside the cage, it is advisable to cross train BJJ and wrestling techniques. 

12.2. Can a Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner Defeat a Wrestler in a Fight and Vice Versa?

An unbiased opinion to this question would be that both BJJ athletes and wrestlers can defeat each other in a street fight. However, predicting who will succeed depends on the type of street fight as we have already established that each martial art discipline has an advantage over the other in favorable circumstances.


When mixed martial arts had just started gaining popularity, the organizers used to pit a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner against a professional wrestler. In those early days of MMA, there were no strict rules or fighting don’ts in place. The competitions lacked a number of rounds, banned moves and techniques, allotted time frames, and no weight divisions. Therefore, in the modern world of MMA, these earlier fights can be classified as legal street fights that helped martial arts analysts realize the effectiveness of different martial arts against each other in a real-life unrestrained altercation scenario.


Back in the day, cross-training different martial art techniques was also not common. Hence, in an MMA bout, when a wrestler competed against a BJJ athlete, he was subdued easily. Primarily because after the takedown, a BJJ practitioner could easily perform a mount reversal, pin the wrestler on his back, and execute various submission techniques to make him tap out. While the wrestler’s only advantage was to score takedown points.


Similarly, in a real fight, BJJ fighters had an upper hand over the wrestlers who would take them to the ground and had no idea how to defend against submissions, transitions, chokes, and other positional tactics. Once on their backs, BJJ athletes easily pulled wrestlers into a guard position, an attack wrestlers were desperately helpless against. Additionally, wrestlers are not trained to defend their necks when competing with a BJJ athlete. They leave their necks exposed while attempting takedowns, giving jiu-jitsu practitioners enough opportunity to wrap their hands around their necks and execute a lethal submission.


Eventually, wrestlers also started focusing on ground and pound techniques in their training sessions, and this gave them some advantage over BJJ practitioners in street fights. While they are still defenseless against many BJJ techniques, their striking action can inflict serious injuries, rendering the opponent unable to fight back.


In conclusion, both BJJ practitioners and wrestlers can defeat each other. However the chances of a jiu-jitsu practitioner defeating a wrestler are much higher until a wrestler resorts to ground-and-pound techniques.

13. Takeaways

As we already discussed, it is not justified to compare these two fighting styles. Now, it depends on you which one you prefer. Just keep in mind that if you need to test the power and physical strength of your body, then go for wrestling. But if you are interested in learning the technical fighting principles to explore the gentle art of self-defense, then go for BJJ. However, having prowess over the techniques of both fighting styles is the best approach to defend yourself in any fighting scenario. And most MMA, wrestling, and BJJ enthusiasts agree on the benefits of this approach.

Related Readings

Reading next

BJ Penn –The Legendary UFC Lightweight Champion
BJ Penn –The Legendary UFC Lightweight Champion

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.