Should I Train MMA or BJJ? (Solved & Explained)

MMA and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) are two great combat disciplines that many individuals practice. Furthermore, practitioners like practicing both fighting styles, making it challenging to pick only one.

MMA is becoming increasingly popular, with millions of followers and admirers. Besides, it is a lethal combat style that mixes grappling and striking martial arts.

On the other hand, BJJ is a grappling style that emphasizes ground combat and submission grappling while prohibiting striking techniques. Yet, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an essential part of mixed martial arts.

The rest of the article will reveal more amazing facts about mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Therefore, if you’re wondering if you should train in MMA or BJJ? You will get everything you need to know.

Should I Learn MMA or BJJ?

Deciding on training in MMA or BJJ depends on your goals and what you wish to achieve

If you want to learn some fantastic grappling techniques, BJJ is the way to go because it is a more focused ground-fighting discipline. However, MMA is for you if you want to learn various striking and grappling techniques.

Of course, both disciplines will get you in tip-top shape and teach you valuable fighting skills. The more versatile nature of MMA, on the other hand, makes it more appealing to generalist fighters.

Source: That’s why MMA!

Yet, BJJ is also physically demanding but less violent and relies on the mind rather than strength to solve complex situations on the mat.

Source: FloGrappling

What’s the Difference Between MMA and BJJ?

Source: Elite MMA

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to MMA as it involves synthesizing dozens of different styles. However, the practice involves strikes and kicks – things not allowed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The main difference? BJJ is a ground grappling discipline involving takedowns and submissions. In contrast, MMA combines strikes, kicks, throws, and ground wrestling styles.

Hence, while you’ll find BJJ practices in MMA, you won’t find MMA practices in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The popularity of MMA Vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

MMA has become a pop culture sensation in the mainstream coverage of the UFC promotion. Its millions of viewers, lucrative TV deals, and abundance of trash-talking stars have resulted in a global fanbase. 

However, BJJ is not popular in the mainstream but has a large following in camps, gyms, and competitions. Though the discipline is popular, it has nowhere near the amount of coverage that the UFC gets. 

BJJ or MMA for Self-Defense?

There are pros and cons of both BJJ and MMA training for self-defense. However, you’ll learn valuable new skills (that could save your life) and get into peak condition doing so. Moreover, both outlets are highly social, and you’ll make many new friends. 

Pros of Learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self-Defense 

Before you make your decision, here are some pros of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training:

  • Numerous weight classes – Unlike MMA, BJJ offers the chance to compete with those larger or smaller than you.
  • More focused on close combat – BJJ is excellent for sharpening your wrestling and grappling skills.
  • Less violent – The focus on submissions and grappling makes BJJ safer than MMA.
  • More focused – Unlike the versatile nature of MMA, BJJ training teaches you to perfect one fighting style. 

As you can see, BJJ martial art has many benefits. However, it’s not perfect and, like anything, has a few cons.

Cons of Learning BJJ for Self-Defense 

  • Not valuable for several real-world situations – if you’re randomly attacked on the street, then the ground-based style of BJJ may not come in very handy. 
  • Less popular – it may be harder to find a BJJ gym near you due to its more niche fanbase. 
  • Doesn’t teach strikes or kicks – you may reach a ceiling with BJJ training and wish to branch out into other disciplines to learn fighting fundamentals like strikes or kicks.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is excellent for learning a particular fighting style. Still, its style may not lend itself well to real-life situations like unprovoked attacks. 

Recommended: Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Good for Self-Defense? (Explained!)

Next, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of MMA training.

Pros of Learning MMA for Self-Defense 

Learning MMA may sound daunting, but understanding it has plenty of advantages. 

  • Versatile skillset – MMA training uses Jiu-Jitsu, karate, boxing, and wrestling elements.
  • More effective in the real world – the striking lessons you’ll learn with MMA training will help you in real-life scenarios.
  • More popular and accessible – the worldwide popularity of MMA has resulted in gyms and camps all over the globe with a thriving community. MMA lessons are generally more affordable, too. 
  • MMA is great for your mental health – the increased confidence one gets through MMA training, combined with the endorphins your brain releases during exercise, will result in improved mental health

MMA training comes with a host of benefits. However, discipline is not without its drawbacks. 

Cons of Learning MMA for Self-Defence 

  • Violence – MMA fighters often suffer injuries such as concussions, broken limbs, and featured bones due to the strikes involved.
  • Can be a little too generalized – You’ll learn a little about many different styles without mastering one. 
  • Maybe a little too physically demanding – If you’re new to fitness, then the brutal workouts and sessions involved in MMA training can be a little too much to handle

So, should you train in MMA or BJJ for self-defense? Remember that both disciplines are highly effective and push you to your physical limits. 

Which One’s the Best? With all things considered, we recommend learning MMA for self-defense. 

Why? That’s due to its mixed skill set, superior accessibility, and focus on real-life situations. You probably won’t have time to get the opponent down and wrestle with them in random, unprovoked attacks.

Instead, you’ll need to strike quickly and powerfully without causing too much damage. These are all skills you’ll learn with MMA. 

Related: The 7 Best Self-Defense Martial Arts That You Should Know

Is MMA Harder Than BJJ?

That depends on many factors, such as your experience, fitness levels, and overall physical condition. 

MMA is brutal because of its broad mix of styles, whereas BJJ is complex due to its ground-based nature and exhausting grapples. 

Both will test your limits hard and leave you panting for breath, but MMA is harder due to the sheer number of elements you’ll need to learn. 

You can master BJJ more smoothly because you only focus on grappling ground combat. Still, MMA features an eclectic mix of fighting styles that you can spend decades learning. 

MMA training is also harder and more suited to those hoping to get into self-defense for fitness. However, that isn’t to say that learning BJJ is a cakewalk because it isn’t. 

BJJ or MMA for Weight Loss?

Both practices will get you in shape, but MMA is more effective for weight loss due to the number of skills involved. Not only will your conditioning be tested, but the physical strength required to strike, wrestle, and grapple with opponents requires tremendous fortitude. 

BJJ takes strength and endurance, too, but is not focused on striking or kicking. Therefore, MMA is better for those hoping to shed serious weight. 

Recommended: The 9 Best Martial Arts for Weight Loss (A Closer Look)

Can You Train MMA and BJJ Together?

It’s entirely possible to learn MMA and BJJ at the same time. Both skills will complement each other well, but you’ll need to be sure not to overdo it. 

For example, you can train in MMA on Mondays and Fridays and in BJJ on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This will leave you with two days of rest – which is essential for building fitness. This, however, is a lot of work and may be too much activity for some. 

To avoid injury and fatigue, it’s better to stick to one discipline until you build enough fitness to add another into the mix. Remember that learning BJJ or MMA is not for the faint of heart. 

Final Thoughts

Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts (MMA) are gaining popularity among millions of followers and admirers. Many people practice effective fighting disciplines, and you should also learn them.

We’ve learned a lot about MMA and BJJ in this article to help you decide which discipline to train in; here’s a quick recap of everything we’ve learned:

  • MMA is a lethal combat style that combines grappling and striking martial arts techniques. However, BJJ is a grappling style focusing on ground combat and submission grappling while prohibiting striking techniques.
  • Mixed martial arts are superior to BJJ for self-defense. This is due to its diverse skill set, excellent accessibility, and emphasis on real-life situations.
  • Learning MMA may be more complicated than learning BJJ because it includes many fighting styles that can take decades to master. However, because you’re only focusing on grappling ground combat, learning the art of BJJ may be less complicated.
  • MMA and BJJ will get you in shape, but MMA is more effective for weight loss. This is due to the physical skills required to strike, wrestle, and grapple with opponents assisting the practitioner in getting in shape and losing weight.
  • It is entirely viable to learn MMA and BJJ concurrently. Both martial arts will complement each other effectively. Still, you must be careful not to overdo it to avoid injury and tiredness.

I hope you found this article helpful in learning more about MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighting combat. Therefore, you will choose the proper discipline that suits your physical abilities and meet your objectives.

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Related: Explore the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters who excel in the UFC. You’ll discover some of the best athletes who have mastered the BJJ martial arts and have made a name for themselves in the UFC. Click here to read more!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Main Differences Between MMA and BJJ?

MMA is a combat style that combines different martial arts techniques, such as grappling and striking. On the other hand, BJJ is a grappling style that focuses on ground combat and submission grappling.

In BJJ, you can’t do striking techniques like in MMA. But BJJ is part of MMA, and MMA practices are in BJJ too.

Which Is Better for Self-defense, MMA or BJJ?

Despite the pros and cons of both MMA and BJJ, MMA is typically the chosen option for self-defense. It offers a comprehensive set of skills, is more widely available, and emphasizes the practical application of techniques.

Quick, effective strikes are key features of MMA which may be of great value against random, sudden aggressions.

Is MMA Harder to Learn than BJJ?

The level of difficulty in mastering MMA or BJJ varies depending on factors such as prior knowledge, physical fitness, and health.

MMA may be considered more demanding due to its combination of various disciplines, while BJJ, which is solely dedicated to grappling on the ground, can be mastered with relative ease.

Which Is More Effective for Weight Loss, MMA or BJJ?

MMA and BJJ are both great for staying fit, but compared to MMA, BJJ may not be as effective for those looking to shed a few pounds. This is because MMA requires a greater amount of physical exertion, such as striking, wrestling, and grappling, which can burn more calories than BJJ.

Can I Train in MMA and BJJ at the Same Time?

It is feasible to learn both MMA and BJJ at the same time as they can fit together nicely. However, it is critical to not overextend yourself to prevent injury and exhaustion.

Generally, it is suggested to concentrate on one style of martial art until you are in excellent physical condition to add the other to your practice.


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