MMA Vs BJJ – The Differences Explained


Are you looking to venture into Martial Arts? There is a wide variety of disciplines available in the world of Martial Arts. Some forms are quite distinct while others share similarities, creating uncertainty on which one to master.

Arguably the most confusing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) share some similarities that hinder decision-making from aspirants. It is essential to select your most preferred discipline to ensure maximum commitment and motivation.

This article aims at distinguishing MMA from BJJ to provide you with information on the ideal purpose of each discipline.

What is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

The term “Mixed” declares that MMA involves a variety of disciplines in the world of martial arts.

Some of the disciplines that you’ll need to learn in pursuit of being an MMA fighter include:

• Conventional Boxing

• Muay Thai

• Sambo

• Kickboxing

• Judo

• Taekwondo

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

This discipline involves asserting dominance upon your opponent to the point of submission using grappling and ground fighting techniques. It is intended to teach self-defense.

If you seek to learn and master BJJ, you’ll have to understand these concepts incorporated within the sport:

• No Gi-version

• MMA version

• Self-defense

• Conventional BJJ

These concepts all involve different styles and garments.

MMA Vs BJJ: The Major Differences Explained

In short, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is an all-contact combating sport that involves grappling, ground fighting, and striking. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a contact sport revolving around submission techniques, ground fighting, and grappling. Now, let’s dive into a more detailed explanation.

Body requirements

Mixed Martial Arts: Fighting requires physical prowess and mastering various martial arts tactics. The sport is very physically and mentally demanding.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Plenty of strategizing is required to dominate your opponent to submission. Physical attributes don’t matter in BJJ as it is about manipulating each other regardless of size. It is, therefore, more mentally demanding.


Mixed Martial Arts: Fighting occurs until one of the participants gets knocked out. Some fights may see the loser battered to a state of verbal inability or unconsciousness.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The end game involves subduing your opponent until submission by using your limbs and hips to pressure their joints. Some tactics include the armbar and the chokehold.

Contact Levels

Mixed Martial Arts: Plenty of striking occurs either using the lower body, legs, and knees, or the upper body, hands, and elbows. The kicks and punches give MMA fighters more contact.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Less contact is experienced as no kicking or any forms of striking are allowed. Contact is limited to leglocks, armbars, and other submission techniques, hence there’s less contact than in MMA.

Violence Levels

Mixed Martial Arts: Due to the high levels of contact and brutal martial art techniques used, many injuries among fighters and bloody scenes are witnessed during fights.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The techniques to subdue your opponent are less brutal and concentrate on joint manipulation. The ability to submit reduces the extent of violence applied, and therefore fewer injuries and no bloody scenes are witnessed at BJJ events.

Pros of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

• MMA provides diversity in Martial Arts, given that several disciplines are incorporated to form the sport.

• Acquisition of fighting skills as there is a lot of striking and defending involved in fights during a match.

• MMA is believed to be the purest form of martial arts due to its mastering of many disciplines.

• MMA promotes standing combat, which is more common than ground fighting.

• It improves your focus as it requires a lot of concentration and situational awareness while fighting.

• Weight loss due to the consistent physical activities involved in training and fighting.

Pros of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

• It is cheaper to learn as it involves only one discipline. MMA may require different trainers for the various disciplines involved hence more costly.

• It is possible to challenge any opponent regardless of size. BJJ involves subduing your opponent to submission and isn’t much dependent on physical strength.

• There is no discrimination against amateurs as the sport is not solely dependent upon physical prowess like wrestling and MMA.

• It emphasizes close combat.

• The sport is less violent as it’s based on working your opponent to submission rather than knocking them out.

• BJJ is deemed a more intellectual sport as a lot of strategizing is required to dominate your opponent.


The insight above is meant to assist you in distinguishing the two disciplines available in Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, and BJJ. Differentiating the two rather similar sports assists in the selection of your most suitable martial arts sport. Choosing your preferred form of Martial Arts is highly dependent on your personal goals and ambitions, and it’s vital to select the one that suits you best.

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