Is MMA Good For Street Fighting?

By Logan •  Updated: 11/19/21 •  9 min read

It is hard to say if mixed martial arts (MMA) is good for street fighting. On one hand MMA forces fighters to learn various different techniques and deal with different fighting styles, which could be very useful in a real life fighting situation. On the other hand, almost all MMA fights are done in a controlled environment with rules and regulations that don’t apply to street fighting.

Yes, MMA is a good skill to have for a street fight. The techniques learnt through MMA will give you the skills to defend yourself and most importantly to know whether to fight or flight in a given situation. Knowing MMA will definitely give you an advantage over non weaponized opponents.

Is MMA Good For Street Fighting?

Why MMA Is Great For A Street Fight

MMA is known as an all encompassing combat sport which includes striking and grappling techniques. Its quick movements and complex techniques make it a great way to prepare for a street fight. 

Although boxing and wrestling are also good ways to prepare for a street fight, MMA’s quick moves and complex techniques will help you keep your opponent on their toes and defend yourself more easily than if you were just boxing or wrestling.

Here are a few reasons why MMA is great for street fighting.

Versatility Of Fighting Techniques

Because MMA encompasses a range of different martial arts and techniques you will become a well rounded fighter and know how to defend yourself against a range of attacks.

You will become well rounded in ground, clinch and stand up fighting from Muay Thai and Boxing (standup), Judo and Wrestling (clinch), and Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (ground).

As street fights are spontaneous you never know what will happen so being able to anticipate moves and adapt to the fighting situation. Knowing MMA will put you at a huge advantage over your attacker (assuming they don’t know MMA) they won’t be able to anticipate your next move.

A lot of street fights end up on the ground, and knowing MMA will put you at a serious advantage here where you can easily use a variety of submission holds to detain your attacker.

You will be able to adapt your style according to the situation and defend yourself against most incoming attacks. This is what makes MMA great for a street fight.


Knowing MMA and therefore how to defend yourself means that you will have confidence in yourself. 

Being confident means that you will be calmer in a street fight situation which will often mean that you will be able to avoid physical situations. If you know you can defeat someone in a fight you are less likely to engage with the punk taunting you outside a club. You will just laugh them off knowing you could get them to submit without breaking a sweat.

Also being confident when it comes to a physical street fight could be enough alone to scare off your attacker. If you square up to them they might just back down.


Practising MMA will not only give you the techniques to dominate in a street fight, but you will also be physically fit. Hopefully fitter than your opponent. 

Being fitter than your opponent will mean that you will have the energy and stamina to keep defending yourself and have the strength to fight back. 

MMA training will condition your body to outlast your opponent. The training is cardio and strength intensive and the longer you have been training the fitter you will be. 

In some situations you may be fighting until the first fighter becomes too tired, then they are an easy target. Because MMA training is so intensive you will be able to outlast the average Joe.

Best Techniques To Neutralize

When learning MMA your time won’t be wasted on learning useless moves. Everything you learn will help you to bring down and neutralize an assailant.

The clinch and grappling techniques will help you to get your opponent into a submission hold and neutralize the threat until help or law enforcement comes.


One of the not so obvious benefits of learning MMA fighting is that you will become more composed and have better self control. If in a tense situation like a street fight you will be able to stay calm and assess the situation. Most people put into the same scenario will panic and make matters worse.

Keeping calm and composed in a street fight lets you make the best possible decisions and stops you from being irrational and the possibility that someone gets seriously hurt. Meaning that you can effectively defend yourself and neutralize your opponent.

MMA Is The Best For Self Defense

MMA is the best sport to learn for self defense which will keep you safe on the streets. Through learning all the different techniques and the mental benefits like self control MMA is the best for self defense.

Knowing how to defend yourself is the most important aspect of street fighting and MMA will teach you how to do so.

Is MMA Good For Street Fighting?

MMA Makes You A Good Fighter

Learning MMA will inevitably make you a good fighter, as that’s the core of the training. All the techniques you learn through MMA will be able to be put to use in a street fight and help you defend yourself.

MMA fighters can play dirty too and if you are in a street fight where no rules apply you will be able to use ‘illegal’ moves like groin kicks and fishhooks. In a street fight anything goes and you will be able to use whatever means necessary to neutralize your attacker.

Why MMA Is Rubbish For A Street Fight

Like with everything there are some downsides to using MMA for a street fight, and to be fair here is a list of reasons why MMA is rubbish for street fights.


MMA fighting doesn’t involve weapons and doesn’t teach you how to defend yourself against an attacker with a weapon. Disarming an opponent is another skill altogether and will require specialist training.

If you are propositioned by an attacker with a weapon you won’t be able to disarm them will MMA techniques. The best thing to do is to run, and hopefully your training will enable you to quickly come to that decision to keep yourself safe.

Multiple Attackers

MMA is a one on one combat sport, you won’t learn how to defeat multiple attackers through MMA. Your techniques won’t work if there is more than one opponent as street fights are not like in the movies where only one person at a time goes into combat. Multiple attackers mean that they will all rush you at the same time.

Luckily if you have trained in MMA you will be able to quickly assess the situation and know that the best option is to run.

Not Knowing What Your Attacker Is Capable Of

Even if you do find yourself in one to one hand combat with an opponent, you don’t know their background. There is no reason why they can’t be an MMA fighter too. What are the chances?

Never assume that you are a better fighter than an attacker because you know MMA.

No Rules In A Street Fight

Unlike MMA fights there are no rules in a street fight so anything goes, including weapons and multiple attackers. MMA doesn’t focus on ‘illegal’ moves like eye gouging, biting and hair pulling so you could be at a disadvantage if you play fair.

You need to expect that an attacker will use dirty techniques and you should do the same. Also make sure that you are extra vigilant in defending yourself, in some cases fighting styles like Krav Maga are better to know to defend yourself against dirty attacks.

No rules street fight

Different Environment

All your MMA training will take place in a gym and a ‘safe’ setting with protective gear and padded surfaces, street fighting is a very different environment. 

Most likely you will be fighting on the pavement or a bar with limited space. Fighting in a different environment can work against you as you can misjudge moves or distances. Obstacles and people can get in the way so there is more to take in and assess in a short space of time.

MMA Street Fighting FAQ’s

Can MMA Fighters Street Fight?

MMA fighters can get into street fights like any other person can, however the laws still apply to MMA fighters as they do to everyone. MMA fighters should only engage in a street fight if their life is in danger and there is no other option.

MMA fighters should only use their techniques for self defense, it’s all too easy for an attack to get out of hand in a street fight and someone ending up seriously injured or dead. The aim for an MMA fighter in a street fight would be to neutralize the attacker and restrain them until law enforcement arrives.

Which Fighting Style Is Best For Street Fights?

Whilst MMA is good for self defense, Krav Maga is the most effective fighting style for street fights. 

Krav Maga is not a competitive sport and was designed as a form of military self defense and fighting system [1]. It uses techniques from various martial arts like Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Aikido, and Karate so the attacker can be neutralized.

It also includes fighting with weapons and targeting vulnerable body points, learning Krav Maga will give you the best chances of defending yourself in a street fight.

Is MMA Better Than Boxing For Street Fighting?

Yes, MMA is better than boxing for street fighting. Knowing how to box will give you an advantage in a street fight. However, the various techniques learnt from MMA will give you lots more useful skills in order to defeat an opponent in a street fight.

MMA provides a greater range of attack styles to use in a fight, which includes legs and knees, as well as different holds and shoulder throws. Most street fights end up on the ground where boxing is ineffective.

Final Thoughts

Knowing MMA will give you a distinct advantage in a street fight. Not only from learning fighting techniques, but also the self control that is learnt through training MMA will allow you to assess situations quickly and make rational decisions.

Street fights are dirty and have no rules and so they are unpredictable, chaotic and dangerous. However, knowing grappling, striking and self defense from MMA training will give you a serious advantage over an average joe attacker.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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