People play different sports worldwide, and MMA is one of them. But what does MMA stand for? It stands for Mixed Martial Arts. It is also known as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting. MMA is a full-contact combat sport that combines techniques from various combat sports such as boxing, kickboxing, and martial arts worldwide.
Mixed Martial Arts, a.k.a MMA
The MMA meaning is that it is a hybrid combat sport that combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, karate, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and other disciplines. Although critics initially condemned MMA as a brutal bloodsport with no rules, it gradually shed its no-holds-barred image.
It emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing spectator sports in the early twenty-first century. Many countries sanction MMA events and all 50 states of the United States.
What is the UFC, and What Does it Stand For?
The abbreviation UFC stands for The Ultimate Fighting Championship. It is a mixed-martial-arts promotion in which a series of fights, also known as fight nights, occur worldwide. It bills itself as the “premier MMA organization.”
Mixed martial arts has a history that dates back more than 5,000 years. The UFC, on the other hand, brings together some of the world’s best MMA fighters to compete at different weight classes, with the main event held once a month. Every year, there are over 40 events.
What Are the Different MMA Disciplines?
Because this sport involves martial arts, the first “M” is the defining feature of MMA. Being an MMA fighter means you must combine several individual martial arts disciplines to fight in various positions and with various techniques.
Most fighters have a foundation in one discipline. What are the specific disciplines in which fighters tend to focus or specialize? Let’s look at them:
The UFC primarily promotes the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). BJJ, like wrestling, is a grappling art but, the goal of BJJ is to submit the opponent through the use of a chokehold or joint lock.
The submission is frequently accomplished through a series of positional advancements on the mat, always focusing on technique over power leverage over strength.
Boxing is another striking-only art that allows only hand strikes. While boxing improves a fighter’s punching ability and power, it also teaches to avoid punches by using head movement, footwork, and various defensive tactics.
Although few elite MMA fighters have a strong boxing background, nearly all fighters practice boxing in isolation. Many of today’s best and most famous fighters, including Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal, and Stipe Miocic, are known for their punching ability.
Muay Thai and kickboxing are technically separate disciplines. Still, you can group them as striking arts in which practitioners wear gloves and use punches, kicks, and knees as primary techniques. (Muay Thai permits elbows and more fighting in the clinch). In neither discipline is there any ground grappling; these are strictly stand-up arts.
MMA fighters will regularly train in Muay Thai and kickboxing unless they have an injury that prevents them from kicking. Pure kickboxers struggled in MMA in the early days because they were woefully unprepared to wrestle on the mat.
However, as the sport evolved, stand-up fighters learned to keep the fight standing and to defend themselves on the ground if necessary.
Sambo, a Russian martial art, is the most similar to MMA of any discipline on this list. Combat Sambo is essentially MMA, but with gi tops and shin guards. Competitions allow for almost any type of strike or wrestling technique.
Wrestling has produced more UFC champions than any other discipline. With its emphasis on takedowns, smothering top control on the mat, and superior physical conditioning, Wrestling grows fighters at an alarming rate who can quickly transition to elite MMA.
These fighters can choose whether the fight takes place on the ground or on the feet. Also, they have an unrivaled work ethic forged over years of notoriously grueling practices.
Famous Female MMA Fighters
The bantamweight championship was the only women’s division. But titles are now available in four weight classes, including featherweight, flyweight, and strawweight.
Fans have enjoyed some incredible women’s matches in recent years, and it is now common for female fights to feature as co-main events on a UFC card. We’ve ranked the top ten female UFC fighters of all time:
Many people know Carmouche for competing against Rousey in the first-ever women’s UFC fight at UFC 157. Despite losing the battle, Carmouche continued to fight in the UFC for the next six years, including a battle for the Women’s Flyweight Championship against Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC Fight Night 156.
Andrade won the Women’s Strawweight title in 2019 by defeating Rose Namajunas, and she now competes in the flyweight division. The 30-year-old has won 13 of her 19 UFC fights, including her most recent victory over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 266. A rematch with Shevchenko for the Flyweight Championship is now on the cards.
Holm’s favorite UFC moment came in front of a record-breaking crowd in Melbourne when she handed Rousey her first-ever defeat in the sport. She is the best female professional boxer ever regarded as one of the best strikers of all time. After winning her last two fights, the 40-year-old is sixth in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Namajunas is a two-time, current strawweight champion ranked third in the world in terms of pound-for-pound competition. Her most famous victory came when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the first time in the UFC to win the strawweight title. The Lithuanian-American is the only woman in UFC history to reclaim and defend a title after previously losing it.
Tate’s most significant career achievement came when she defeated Holm to win the bantamweight title at UFC 196 in 2016. Despite losing to Rousey twice in high-profile fights, Tate’s most prominent career achievement came when she defeated Holm to win the bantamweight title at UFC 196 in 2016.
Later that year, the 35-year-old retired. But she made a remarkable comeback to the sport in July.
Jedrzejczyk, along with Rousey, was once regarded as one of the top two female fighters in the UFC. The Polish fighter won her first eight UFC fights and successfully defended her Women’s Strawweight Championship five times. Jedrzejczyk has lost four of her last six fights in recent years, but she is still active in the strawweight division.
Shevchenko is the current flyweight champion and has successfully defended his title six times. In reality, the 33-year-old has dominated the division since its inception, and no one in this weight class currently appears capable of defeating her. Only Nunes has defeated Shevchenko since joining the UFC, and he has done so twice.
MMA fans will remember Cyborg as the fiercest female fighter of all time by most people. Cyborg defended her featherweight title with notable victories over Yana Kunitskaya and Hollym, though she also lost to Nunes in 2018.
She is the only fighter to become a Grand Slam champion and hold championships in four major promotions, having won titles in the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and Invicta FC.
Putting Rousey so high on this list may be controversial, but there is no denying that she was instrumental in putting women’s MMA on the map. Compared to other female fighters, She was the first female fighter to sign with the UFC and rose to prominence as the face of the bantamweight division.
Many people consider Nunes the most outstanding female MMA fighter of all time, and it’s easy to see why. She is the first woman to be a two-division UFC champion and the only woman to hold two titles in different weight classes at the same time.
Nunes is the UFC’s reigning Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion, as well as the number one pound-for-pound fighter. Her winning streak now stands at 12, dating back to September 2014, when Cat Zingano defeated her at UFC 178.
The Best Male MMA Fighters Currently
The UFC Octagon has seen some incredible fighters. However, only a few UFC fighters have achieved superstardom. This is a list of the 15 most famous UFC fighters who have made an impact and helped to make the promotion as popular as it is today:
Randy Couture was one of the first genuine UFC stars. Since its inception, he has competed in the UFC, making his debut in the octagon on UFC 13 in 1997. In 2002, he lost to Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez, but he returned and destroyed two rising stars in Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
Many new-age MMA fans may not recognize Royce Gracie, but he is unquestionably one of the most famous UFC fighters of all time. He won three UFC tournaments with no weight classes or modern MMA rules. He is one of the individuals responsible for the evolution of MMA as we know it today.
Max Holloway is only 29 years old, which is incredible given his stellar UFC resume. Blessed is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, and his career is far from over. He dethroned Jose Aldo, who had ruled the featherweight division for years before Max made his mark.
The Diaz brothers are the most well-known bad boys in MMA. Although Nick was the first to make a name for himself in the UFC, Nate quickly rose to prominence. That is due to his legendary interviews and two spectacular fights against Conor McGregor, both of which were among the top five most-sold PPV events in UFC history.
Daniel Cormier is one of the top five MMA fighters of all time. What makes his MMA career even more unique is that he began training and competing late. He joined the UFC at the age of 34, right around the age many fighters choose to retire. Despite this, he was a tremendously successful fighter, having lost two opponents in his career.
Many regard Stipe Miocic as the most excellent MMA heavyweight fighter of all time and one of the greatest fighters in general. He has defeated many legendary UFC fighters, including Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, Alistar Overeem, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, and others, and his resume speaks for itself.
Brock Lesnar is most likely the worst UFC champion of all time. He is, however, one of the most well-known fighters to have ever competed in the octagon. So the promotion excited him a lot, which he partially justified by defeating an old Randy Couture and surviving a carnage to choke out Shane Carwin.
The fan-favorite was always BJ Penn. He always provided us with some of the best, bloodiest, and most exciting fights in MMA history. He is also the first fighter in UFC history to win championships in multiple divisions. Several fighters followed in his footsteps, but he was the first to demonstrate that it was possible.
Chuck was the UFC’s biggest star for a long time and is still a fan favorite among MMA fans. Unfortunately, he’s one of the legends who should’ve retired sooner, having lost six of his last seven fights. However, despite being over 50 years old, he still has nearly a million Instagram followers and is a well-known member of the MMA community.
Georges St. Pierre
The Canadian superstar has only suffered two losses in his career, both of which he has avenged. He’s one of the UFC’s longest-tenured champions, with a 13-fight winning streak at the end of his career.
There’s a lot of debate surrounding Jon Jones, but one thing is sure: he’s one of the best MMA fighters of all time, as well as one of the most popular. There isn’t a single casual MMA fan who hasn’t heard of Bones, his prolific fighting skills, but also his cocaine addiction, doping violations, hit-and-runs that led to his arrest, and so on.
Even if you started watching MMA after his prime, you’ve heard of Anderson Silva and what he’s done for the UFC and MMA. Spider is one of the greatest fighters, a true icon of great sportsmanship, and even more excellent skills.
Nobody comes close to Conor McGregor as the most famous UFC fighter in history. Despite being relatively inactive over the last several years, Notorious has over 40 million social media followers, a couple of losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier, and a first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone.
Wax On! Wax Off!
There you have it! You now have the MMA fighting definition, the different MMA disciplines, and the famous female and male MMA fighters. So, if you were looking for one more sport to add to your favorites, MMA is an excellent option.