Best Grappling Martial Arts for MMA (The Ultimate List)

Grappling martial arts existed long ago, such as Japanese jujutsu, wrestling, and others. Indeed, since the inception of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), on November 12, 1993, the grappling martial arts have earned more credits and value. So, what are the most popular grappling martial arts in MMA?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, Judo, and Sambo are some of the most effective grappling martial arts in mixed martial arts (MMA).

This article discusses the most effective grappling martial arts for MMA. Stay tuned!

What Are the Best Grappling Martial Arts for MMA?

Best Grappling Martial Arts for MMA

Grappling is an integral component of fighting combat sports. It can assist MMA athletes in battling on the ground and finishing the fight using proper techniques and movements when necessary.

The following are some of the best martial arts that many MMA fighters prioritize mastering.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is one of the most effective grappling martial arts anybody can learn and practice.

BJJ has several gifts to offer its practitioners, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mental health, and improving physical fitness, among other tremendous benefits.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu has found its way into the ring of battle since the birth of mixed martial arts events. Mixed martial arts competitors such as Royce Gracie, Georges St-Pierre, Demian Maia, and others are excellent ambassadors of jiu-jitsu.

Below are some of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters with impressive records in MMA competitions.

Fighter’s Name MMA Record
(As of 2022)
Weight Class Most Used BJJ Techniques Jiu-Jitsu Rank
Royce Gracie

15-2 (with a record of 11 consecutive wins)



Armbars, triangle chokes, RNC.

Red/black coral belt

Demian Maia


Welterweight/middleweight Single and double-leg takedowns, RNC.

black belt under Fabio Gurgel

Tony Ferguson

26-9 (with a record of 12 consecutive wins)

Lightweight / welterweight D’arce choke, anaconda choke, triangle choke, arm-triangle. Black belt under Eddie Bravo
Anderson Silva


Middleweight / light-heavyweight Triangle choke, RNC, arm-triangle. Back belt under Antonio Rodrigo  Nogueira
Ronaldo Souza


Middleweight / light-heavyweight Armbars, kimuras, and chokes.

Black belt under Henrique Machado

Nate Diaz


Lightweight and welterweight Triangle choke, guillotine choke, d’arce choke. Black belt under Cesar Gracie
Charles “do Bronx” Oliviera


Lightweight / featherweight Guillotine, inverted triangle armbar, RNC, anaconda, triangle choke.

Black belt under Jorge Patino

Georges St-Pierre


Welterweight Takedowns, RNC, armbar, kimura.

Black belt under Bruno Fernandes

Recommended: Refrain from allowing the choice between MMA and BJJ to keep you from reaching your full potential. This comprehensive article compares and contrasts MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to help you choose the best option. Click here to learn more!


best grappling martial arts

Wrestling is another excellent grappling fighting style employed primarily in mixed martial arts, self-defense, and other situations.

Since the ancient Greeks, it has been a magnificent Olympic combat sport, making it one of the oldest sports.

Wrestlers have incredible talents in grabbing their opponents and bringing them to the ground with right throws (single/double leg takedowns).

Indeed, they are ruthless warriors with ferocious strength and fitness qualities since wrestling training is usually physically demanding.

In addition, MMA athletes benefit from wrestling because it helps them maintain a comfortable distance when alternating between striking and ground combat.

Wrestling has made its way into the fight ring since mixed martial arts competitions began. Many MMA fighters, like Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Demetrious Johnson, Chael Sonnen, Chris Weidman, and Phil Davis, are good marketers for the wrestling sport.


list of grappling martial arts

Sambo is a fighting style created by the Soviets in the early 1920s to boost the hand-fighting skills of their army. In many aspects, This combat sport involves several types of martial arts, including Judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and self-defense methods.

Sambo is most effective in mixed martial arts among the grappling martial arts. Even though, since its inception in the 1920s, it has been an underappreciated grappling sport outside of Russia.

But Sambo’s efficiency has been shown by many fighters, including Khabib Nurmagomedov, at the ultimate fighting championships (UFC) in recent years.

Sambo has two distinct disciplines Sambo sport and combat sport. Both give their practitioners a wide range of great fighting techniques.

Sambo Sport is comparable to wrestling and Judo but differs in regulations. For example, leglocks are available to its practitioners, but chokeholds are unavailable.

Aside from that, Combat Sambo teaches its practitioners both grappling and striking abilities, which makes it a mixed martial art.

As a result, Combat Sambo combatants have a diverse arsenal of ground and standing fighting techniques at their disposal. For example, they can use punches, kicks, chokes, and other grappling submissions to defeat their opponents.

Combat Sambo has been making its way into the ring of battle since the birth of mixed martial arts events. Many mixed martial artists’ competitors, such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dennis Siver, Blagoy Ivanov, Merab Dvalishvili, and Dan Severn, are influential ambassadors of Sambo martial arts in MMA.

Final Thoughts

BJJ, Wrestling, and Sambo are some of the best martial arts for MMA. They provide distinct methods and tactics for controlling and beating an opponent.

Yet, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has doubtless been the most effective grappling technique in mixed martial arts history. Without question, there is nothing equal to a BJJ practitioner’s ability to finish with arm locks, chokes, and other techniques.

A savage mixed martial art, on the other hand, should develop a fantastic combination of striking and grappling abilities, which makes me almost unstoppable.

I hope this post has provided a clear overview of the best grappling martial arts for mixed martial arts (MMA).

What’s your favorite grappling martial art in MMA? Let us know what you think.

Related: Martial arts may be an excellent tool for self-defense in any scenario. Click here to discover the most efficient martial arts techniques and training methods for keeping yourself safe and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Grappling in MMA?

Source: ONE Championship

In MMA, Grappling describes the ground combat tactics used to dominate and beat an opponent. It includes a variety of tactics like submissions, grips, and throws and is an essential part of the sport.

Grappling in MMA aims to take the fight to the ground and dominate the opponent with better technique and tactics. It may entail various fighting styles, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo.

Grappling is a vital part of MMA competition since these styles contribute different skills and ideas to the sport.

Is Grappling Allowed in MMA?

Of course, grappling is permitted in mixed martial arts. It is an essential element of the sport to dominate ground combat and an excellent striking alternative to beat an opponent.

Indeed, it offers fighters several submissions (shoulder locks, joint locks, chokeholds), grips, etc.

Recommended: Refrain from allowing the choice between MMA and BJJ to keep you from reaching your full potential. This comprehensive article compares and contrasts MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to help you choose the best option. Click here to learn more!

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