why do bjj fighters do so bad in mma

why do bjj fighters do so bad in mma

Why do BJJ fighters perform poorly in MMA?

Despite being highly skilled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), many BJJ fighters struggle to perform well in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions. This can be attributed to several factors, including:

Lack of striking proficiency

One of the main reasons why BJJ fighters struggle in MMA is their limited proficiency in striking techniques. BJJ primarily focuses on ground fighting and submissions, leaving little room for developing striking skills. This puts them at a disadvantage against opponents who have a well-rounded skill set in both striking and grappling.

Additionally, BJJ fighters often face difficulty in effectively closing the distance with their opponents due to their lack of striking techniques. This makes it challenging for them to take the fight to the ground, where they have a significant advantage.

Difficulty in transitioning from gi to no-gi

BJJ is traditionally practiced with a gi (kimono), which provides additional grips and leverage that can be utilized in techniques. However, in MMA, fighters compete without a gi, making it necessary to adapt their techniques to a no-gi environment. This transition can be challenging for BJJ fighters, as they need to modify their grips and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Without the gi, BJJ fighters may struggle to control their opponents effectively and find it harder to execute their submissions. This can hinder their overall performance in MMA competitions.

Struggling with takedowns and takedown defense

why do bjj fighters do so bad in mma

While BJJ fighters excel in ground fighting, they often struggle with takedowns and takedown defense. MMA fighters with a background in wrestling or judo have a distinct advantage in this aspect, as they are more skilled in taking opponents down and preventing takedowns.

BJJ fighters may find it challenging to secure takedowns against opponents with superior wrestling skills, forcing them to fight in a standing position where their grappling expertise becomes less effective.

Cardiovascular conditioning

MMA fights are physically demanding and require fighters to have excellent cardiovascular conditioning. BJJ training primarily focuses on technique and rolling sessions, which may not provide the same level of cardiovascular conditioning as the high-intensity training required for MMA.

Without adequate cardio conditioning, BJJ fighters may gas out quickly in MMA fights, leading to decreased performance and vulnerability to strikes and takedowns.

Adapting to the MMA rule set

MMA has a unique set of rules that differ from traditional BJJ competitions. BJJ fighters must adapt to these rules, which may restrict certain techniques they are accustomed to using.

For example, in MMA, fighters need to be cautious of strikes to the head when attempting submissions from the bottom position. This can limit their options and force them to modify their approach, potentially affecting their success rate in executing submissions.

Struggling with the pressure and intensity of MMA

MMA fights are highly intense and can be mentally and physically overwhelming. BJJ fighters, who are accustomed to a more controlled and relaxed environment in BJJ competitions, may struggle to adapt to the increased pressure and aggression in MMA.

The intensity of MMA fights can lead to poor decision-making, decreased focus, and a higher likelihood of making mistakes, which can be capitalized on by their opponents.

Insufficient training in other martial arts disciplines

While BJJ is highly effective on the ground, MMA requires proficiency in multiple martial arts disciplines. BJJ fighters who neglect training in striking arts such as boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai may find it challenging to effectively strike and defend against opponents who are well-versed in these disciplines.

Without a well-rounded skill set, BJJ fighters may struggle to dictate the pace and style of the fight, making it easier for opponents to exploit their weaknesses.

Inadequate game planning and strategy

Effective game planning and strategy are crucial in MMA. BJJ fighters who fail to develop a comprehensive game plan that accounts for their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses may find themselves at a disadvantage.

Without a solid strategy, BJJ fighters may become predictable and fall into their opponents’ game plans, making it easier for them to counter and exploit their vulnerabilities.


In conclusion, while BJJ fighters possess exceptional grappling skills, they often struggle in MMA due to their limited striking proficiency, difficulty in transitioning from gi to no-gi, takedown and takedown defense issues, insufficient cardiovascular conditioning, adapting to the MMA rule set, struggling with the pressure and intensity of MMA, inadequate training in other martial arts disciplines, and inadequate game planning and strategy. Overcoming these challenges and developing a well-rounded skill set is essential for BJJ fighters to excel in the MMA arena.

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