Every martial artist starts his fighting career as an amateur with the aim of becoming a pro. For an MMA fighter, the path to becoming a pro is a challenging long road paved with challenges and obstacles. Practitioners usually start their wins with amateur careers and gradually progress.
Let's have a discussion about how amateur careers help to become a pro-MMA fighter and how many amateur fights are necessary to participate in pro competitions.
Table of Contents
1. Difference Between Amateur MMA and Pro Fighters
The main difference between both amateur and pro fighters is that pro fighters are rewarded with hefty amounts of cash prizes while amateur fighters are not.
If a novice amateur fighter wanted to debut as a pro, and he could not win any major championship, he needs to gain adequate experience at the amateur level. If he secures some major wins as an amateur and maintains the win streak, only then he have the chance to attract a promotion or sponsorship.
Another difference when you move toward pro is that your fight record will turn into 0-0 despite being 10-0 or 10-5 in your amateur career. If you have never been defeated in your pro career only then you are called undefeated. No matter what your amateur record was!
2. Best Time to be Promoted to Pro Fighter
An amateur fight record helps a fighter to find a training institute that supports his goals of becoming a pro through an intense training regime and elite martial art practices. Because a bad start in pro fights can affect your overall performance even if you make improvements in your skills.
For example, at the start of your pro career, five losses and then 10 continuous wins are recorded as 10-5. A person who has a record of 8-2 is considered more competitive and has a chance of securing more sponsorships or promotions.
Such UFC champions have also arisen who did not make their debut in amateur. They started their MMA career in pro fights and made it better than others. Now they are ruling the MMA Pro fights.
Marcus Almeida Buchecha is also one of the top grappling martial artists who made their debut in UFC Pro and did not take it through amateur fights. A reason behind this fact is that he is also a BJJ Black Belt and also won various World Championships.
It should be a collective decision of the fighter and his instructor which is the best time to make a debut in pro-MMA. The fighters who are not connected with other fighting styles and wanted to make a debut in pro, it is suggested for them to have a minimum of four to ten amateur fights.
The number of amateur fights also depends on the skill level of your opponents. If you have a record of 10-0 with some easy opponents in a local competition, it is worth less than a record of 7-3 against tough and competitive opponents in more mainstream competitions.
Another thing that matters is the learning potential and dedication. Everybody has his own potential and level of dedication. If a fighter thinks he is ready to make a debut in pro and so as his coach, there is no need to wait.
Khamzat Chimaev is a good example for those who start their combat sports career with wrestling. Such fighters can make their debut in pro without getting enrolled in amateur fights. Khamzat Chimaev was a wrestling champion.
He learned the rules of striking quicker than novices. The fighter who hasn’t focused on any martial art before and did not appear in any martial art competition must spend some time in amateur fights to reach their required potential.
Typically, it takes one to three years from entering the MMA academy to make a debut in a pro-fight. And if you want to cover this journey in one year, you have to give a minimum of five excellent fights in that one year and you will reach the target.
3. Way to Get a Major Promotion
Major promotions for MMA fights involve UFC, Bellator, One Championship, Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA), and Fight Nights Global. In the US, some promotions which are considered a little below are LFA, Brave CF in the Middle East, Ares FC in France, and Cage Warriors in the UK.
Major promotions offer six digits payments in USD. For starters, it is not bad at all. These second-level promotions do not give enough facilities as compared to MMA. But this is a good way to gain experience and become ready for some big promotions.
The LFA, from where a lot of UFC champions arise, gives $1000 to take part and another $1000 after winning the championship. Ares FC is another organization that is working to provide major promotions for fighters which are from Europe and Africa.
Such organizations like Ares FC are not equally recognized as UFC but pay their fighters almost equally as UFC. Ares FC gives $12,000 to their fighter to appear and $12,000 to win. To get such promotions, fighters must have elite MMA skills.
Either these skills are from some other combat sports or appearing in amateur fights. But if you are in the spotlight, you will get a better promotion and sponsorship as a pro in less time.
4. Preparations to Become a Pro Fighter
If you decide to make a debut in pro, you must know that there is a big difference between pro and amateur fights and their training regime. To make a debut in pro, you must have to prepare for it to ensure a bright career with big sponsorships and major promotions. Here we will discuss the major preparation requirements to enter Pro fights.
4.1. Amateur Fights
Amateur fights are very influential for those who want to make an excellent debut in pro. In amateur fights, your record does not matter at all. Amateur fights are the best way to learn skills, enhance potential and know your weaknesses without getting any effect on your pro record. When you feel you are ready to appear in pro, you would make a fabulous debut in pro.
In an amateur career, MMA fighters train hard. But when those fighters appear in pro, they need to increase their efforts.
A lost fight affects their overall record. So pro fighters need hard training. An amateur fighter who trains 3 to 8 hours daily needs to increase his training time to 8 to 10 hours when he moves to pro-fights.
4.3. Training With a Strong Opponent Under Good Coach
Fighting with someone with a higher level of skills will test your potential, make you able to know your abilities, and enhance your stamina and skills. It is also dependent on the skills and experience of your coach.
You can learn about your weaknesses and can further work on them. Amateur fighting is less about winning or losing and more about learning and preparing to make an excellent pro debut.
4.4. Training Scheme/ Planning
When an amateur fighter enters into pro, he needs to double up his efforts in the workouts and training.
So in an amateur career if you are doing a workout three days a week or covering 2 miles daily. There is a need to do a workout for five days and cover 4 miles daily to make a tremendous debut in pro.
The transition from amateur fights to Pro fights is surely a dream come true for all martial artists. To do it properly, you must take steps after proper planning. Otherwise, it can end up unexpectedly.