MMA, as you well know, stands for Mixed Martial Arts. Even though MMA owes its roots to Muay Thai Boxing, it’s essentially a combination of some of the best martial arts forms practiced today. For example, you are bound to find a little Karate, Kickboxing, Judo, and even Taewokondo, along with others, in MMA. Given the potent combination, it’s only natural for you to mull over, “what is a striker in MMA?”
You can credit Bruce Lee for being the one to come up with the modern variant of MMA. He called it Jeet Kune Do and essentially believed that the best fighter is one who can adapt to any style and utilize the right techniques. You can even theorize that MMA is based on the ancient form of Greco-Roman wrestling.
As indicated earlier, an MMA bout consists of various techniques, from grappling, wrestling, and striking to knockout blows. Its popularity seems to be growing by the hour. That’s mainly because it gets wide coverage both online and in media.
Today, it is one of the fastest-growing sports, with more MMA tournaments and bouts being organized. Naturally, you are curious about MMA strikers and “what is a striker in MMA?”? You feel the urge to join up a few MMA classes right away. Sure, that sounds challenging, but it’s not exactly impossible, either. As long as you have grit and determination, you should be able to master all the MMA techniques, including learning the difference between striking and grappling.
What is a striker in MMA?
MMA comprises different fighting styles, so you are bound to get a little confused at the start. It’s only natural for you to wonder what a striker in MMA, a grappler, or, for that matter, a wrestler is? The MMA techniques for these are quite different and vary widely. As a beginner, you are bound to learn all the methods. That does not necessarily make you a ‘striker’. Rather, the moniker is reserved for those who specialize as strikers in MMA.
As the MMA techniques have evolved over the years, so have the rules. Certain forms of fighting, such as specific kicks to certain body parts and aiming strikes at one’s eyes or ears, are considered strictly illegal. The same goes for pulling one’s hair as well.
Before you can aim to become a striker, you would need to become well-versed in all the techniques. That includes learning how to block aggressive countermoves to protect yourself better. As indicated earlier, you may want to opt for one or the other early on and try to specialize in the same.
The better option would be to follow some top professionals with martial arts backgrounds. It should enable you to gauge their moves, better understand their fighting style and see if you can adapt/copy the same.
For example, you may want to follow Connor McGregor, who happens to be a specialist striker. The same would apply to Israel Adesanya, who has tonnes of experience as a professional kickboxer, and is naturally adapted to becoming an expert striker.
When it comes to what makes a good striker in MMA, you are bound to find that the process is long and arduous. You will have to practice a lot until you get it right. Just know that you can have any martial arts background, and try to become one of the MMA strikers.
That’s easier said than done. For example, Damian Maia is more well known as a grappler than a striker due to his extensive background and training in BJJ or Brazilan Jiu-Jitsu.
How many different types of strikers are there in MMA?
The technique of ‘striking’ one’s opponent accurately is a specialized talent, one that requires both hard work and determination on your part. That being said, it may surprise you to learn that there is more than one type of striker in MMA. After all, a strike doesn’t consist of a simple jab to one’s solar plexus.
Check out the various types of strikers in MMA listed below.
● Specialized strikers:
Normally, the term ‘specialized strikers’ are usually reserved for those with a martial arts background. It enables them to focus on the concerned technique. And since they have a martial arts background, they can carry out the ‘striking’ techniques accurately. And naturally, they can overwhelm their opponents within a few moves.
Specialized strikers such as Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva are perfect examples. They have had years of experience mastering their art to perfection and stand out today as MMA strikers.
The title gives it way here, doesn’t it? A brawler is not necessarily in the same category as a specialized striker. While they may know how to ‘strike’ their opponent, they are more attuned to blocking and even taking on punches. Naturally, they are equally apt to return these punches and other blows to the body.
They are bound to stay on for the long haul as a brawler. Their focus remains dead-center on their ability to take punches and return them with due compliments.
● Knockout artists:
Knockout artists are talented individuals with the clear-cut ability to bring down their opponents within a few minutes. Now, that’s talent. Instead of having the bout drag on endlessly, imagine being able to bring down your stronger opponent down within a few minutes? That’s why they are generally in demand.
Some famous or infamous knockdown artists are Francis Ngannou, Rumble Johnson, and Mark Hunt. Often, these artists stand out in their ability, or rather a talent, to knock out their opponents cold with a single blow. Now, that’s talent.
● Volume strikers:
Imagine lacking the talent or the ability to be a specialized striker or a knockdown artist. You can always try your hand at being a ‘volume striker’. As a volume striker, you would be more apt to launch a series of attacks on your opponent.
You would work under the strategy that at least 50% – 60% of your blows would land. In the hopes of either tiring your opponent or getting an NC declared, you would begin your bout, hence the title. Colby Covington and Nate Diaz would be perfect examples since they have adopted this strategy.
Are strikers good at wrestling and grappling?
In a word, you will have to be an effective striker. As mentioned earlier on, MMA is a combination of various styles and methods. Learning the lot is to your advantage, rather than focusing on just one. As one of the MMA strikers, and a good one at that, you would be expected to have adequate knowledge of both wrestling and grappling.
If you plan to compete at top-level MMA tournaments, you must be good at boat wrestling and grappling. Just understanding the mechanics of both won’t do the trick. Since you are planning to compete at a professional level, you must be equally experienced at both wrestling and grappling.
Take, for example, Anderson Silva. He was an expert Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter and knew the intricacies of wrestling and grappling. When he shifted focus to MMA, he took to it as a fish takes to water. Today, he is one of the top MMA strikers, a reputation he would not have earned without his BJJ background.
GSP is but another example. Given his wrestling background, he naturally became an expert striker in MMA and soon earned a reputation as a specialized striker. Although “striking” is an essential part of any MMA bout, most people underestimate strikers, especially when compared with wrestlers and grapplers. Just check out some of the latest MMA matches, which should clear it up.
An MMA bout is rarely complete without one or the other opponent going in for a knockout finish. That’s why, as a beginner, you may want to focus more on being a striker in MMA, given its importance. By being a striker, you would be able to deliver the knockout blow. Or, if you are a specialized striker, you should be able to move onto your opponent and bring him down in a few seconds. Or you could also specialize as a brawler, where your focus would be to tire your opponent out.
Given all this, is it any wonder that most newcomers prefer becoming a striker to a wrestler or a grappler? As a striker, you could exert a degree of control over the bout, strategize your moves, and use the right techniques to bring down your opponent! This is why a striker is often an important facet of any MMA tournament.