Why do MMA fighters use Muay Thai so much?

I know that BJJ is great when getting someone to the ground, but why do most MMA fighters (at least the ones I’ve seen) also use Muay Thai more than any other fighting style? What makes it so much better than the other styles?

13 Responses

  1. That's what she said Says:

    cause its all about demolition!! devastating leg kicks, elbows and knees!!

  2. Tertullian Says:

    They do a lot of close in fighting techniques with short kick to the knees and thighs, and their use of elbows along with the knee strikes. To match this up with wrestling or jujitsu is a good combination.

  3. timmyocean Says:

    Usually people use what works einstein

  4. Tao J Says:

    Muay Thai training covers a few vital areas of standup – punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and clinch tactics (aka dirty boxing). Because of the rules of MMA, Muay Thai is a great match.

    Many other arts also use these weapons, but what sets Muay Thai apart is the stance – the stance is pretty square (both legs closer to parallel, rather than one leg in front of the other). This is vital in MMA because of the likelihood of takedowns. If you have a leg way in front out it’s easier for your opponent to shoot and grab the leg – if the legs are parallel, the sprawl you see so often is quicker.

    On top of this fundamental practice, Muay Thai is relatively simple to train in – the art is very straightforward – simple cover for defense, and direct striking tactics. This means that a grappler can pick up the essentials of Muay Thai quite quickly and be relatively effective. Conversely, a striker trained in another art can quickly adapt to the Muay Thai stance and training methods.

    Many athletes who claim to practice Muay Thai actually come from other backgrounds, but because they modify their training TO Muay Thai they list it on their biographies or the “Stat Sheet” before a fight.

    So Muay Thai is no more effective per se, it just lends itself very well to the rules and conditions of MMA.

  5. Desk3Bound Says:

    The MMA guys quickly switch to any successful RING FIGHTING STYLE.

    Judo, BJJ (basically just Judo), western boxing, and Muy Thai are all proven mat/ring fighting styles that have techniques allowed under MMA rules.

    For some odd reason MMA forbids: pressure points; small joint locks; eye jabs; spear hands; neck cranks; leg-breaking methods; groin kicks; skin ripping techniques; vein yanking techniques, or any other technique effective in a street fight/self-defense situation. And yet MMA has the gaul to call itself a Martial Art?

    So Muy Thai Kick Boxing, with all its ring style, ceremony, and audience appeal $$$$$$ segues perfectly with MMA’s spectator sport mentality $$$$$$$$$$$.

  6. Elbowz Says:

    The reason MMA fighters use Muay Tai so much is because knees and elbows are the best for striking. They are much more powerful then regular punches. Now add in the clinch so that the spacing between you and your oponent is small, it makes for a very powerful shot. Also nice cuts to!

  7. shakes Says:

    in close elbow strikes, knees and kicking with the shins.

  8. claude Says:

    Because Muay thai is the most complete fight system for striker. Good boxing, kick, knee, elbows and when you beginning to learn muay thai you began to fight very soon that give you a very good experience of what is fight and how to fight. Kick-boxing is very good also, just add knee et elbows and you have the same system.
    Muay thai or kick-boxing for striker and jujitsu for ground and you are a very complete fighter.

  9. judomofo Says:

    Not much to add other than what Tao J says.

    Except I would says that what you see isn’t necessarily someone trained specifically in Muay Thai. (other arts have knees, elbows, etc).

    In fact many guys doing MMA, having “striking” coaches who aren’t necessarily Muay Thai specialists.

    Tao is pretty dead on with the stance to a degree, I would say MMA further modifies a Thai style stance, as it is wider apart, and does have some element of lead leg/dominant hand stances to it.

    As far as Deskbound… who is on some weird trip today…

    As far as Deskbound… who is on some weird trip today…

    Hold on let em get this right..

    First a reference: http://www.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=LearnUFC...

    Here is my point by point debate about what MMA allows.

    MMA forbids…

    Pressure points: Umm no they don’t. Show me any place in the rules that prevent pressure points. MMA uses pressure points (that little spot on the outside of the leg they are kicking =pressure point, that little spot on the inside of the thigh they are digging their elbow into to open up guar = pressure point. That spot on the side of the jaw where they are digging their elbow to get the guy to turn his head.. = pressure point… I could keep going, as a MMA fighter I actually use a lot of pressure points.. not in the mystic finger jab and someone supposedly will poop themselves type of way. But in the having solid control and using a pressure point or pain compliance to force movement…(also use em Judo).

    Small joint locks: Correct here, I will point out how often people break fingers, and various bones in their hand throughout a fight without slowing down an iota, including hitting with said broken hand. The argument for the effectiveness of small joint manipulation doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me. Good for cuffing a guy you have controlled, not good for an adrenaline based person out to do you harm, who won’t pay attention to a broken finger…

    Eye jabs: yup, you’re right here. Guilty as charged. However how often do YOU practice eye jabs? I mean have you ever gouged an eye? I bet the average MMA fighter has been jabbed in the eye more than the average eye jab proponent…

    Spearhands: Umm spearhands are not illegal. You can spear hand till the cows come home, the subsequent finger breaking that will occur however might be a problem.. that is if you believe that small joint locks are very effective.. breaking your own fingers somehow doesn’t jive well with that.

    Neck cranks: Umm wrong here too, I will point you to the Crucifix, the Can Opener, The Twister (spine crank even more dangerous), and about a dozen other neck cranks used in MMA fights. Anyone who spends any time with me, or any No GI Submission guy (especially 10th Planet guys) will spend a good bit of time in some neck crank or another, if for any other reason then to make someone uncomfortable and affect spinal alignment to sap strength. And on the streets, I’ll take a choke over a crank ANY DAY.

    Leg breaking methods: Umm, last time I checked ankle, shin, knee, and all other joint locks on the legs are used heavily, as are various cranks on the bones themselves. also including kicking the inside of the knee the outside of the knee and the front of the knee… which exact “leg breaking” method are you referencing here.. again check the rules, show me which “leg breaking method” is illegal. (please see achilles lock, heel hook, straight knee bar, toe hold, shin cranks..)

    Groin kicks: Umm yup, they are illegal. Also not entirely effective with a cup. As far as their use in real life.. they are helpful but not fight enders.. I’d point out that in most arts they are meant to be the ending of the fight but something that sets up a distraction to continue with further attacks.

    Skin ripping: Wow, so MMA doesn’t allow scratching or pinching, they causes superficial cuts on the skin.. but allows massive lacerations on the face and head from fists and elbows…(which coincadentally bleed much more than anywhere else, due to the capilllaries) yet somehow that makes it “less effective” not sure about you, but I would rather put my elbow into a dude’s head in the street then rely on scratching, pinching, or any other thing that causes small superficial cuts on a person… seriously, you brought this up? Honestly tell me the effectiveness of skin ripping.. other than small annoying pain that gets blocked out with adrenaline. I see some ghetto females with 3inch long nails “skin ripping” all the time, it never seems to remove one from the fight or help them… hell I have had some asian girls use “skin ripping” techniques down my back… of course we weren’t fighting, but I can’t imagine the effect being too different… and wait, I know you are going to say I have never had my skin ripped by a “master.” My question would be “Have you?” “How much skin ripping have you done?”

    Vein yanking: Honestly this stuff makes me laugh… it is taught by guys who have never yanked out a vein, passed on by guys who themselves have never ripped out someone’s vein, and then talked about by students of generations of guys who have never used it in a real situation ever. . Seriously, how do you know that it even works? Much less how do you propose to grab a hold a vein against someone moving around, and punching at you? I mean sometimes trained medical practioners miss my veins when trying to draw blood, and it is what they do all day! How are you, (or anyone likeminded) going to grab a hold of a vein, (which is pliable and flexible by nature) and rip it. And again, provided you are able to do this, being that there are no nerves attached to veins, and they close up rather quickly, not to mention they deliver blood back to the heart, messing with them will not affect the blood supply to an extremity. Is the hope that it will somehow be so painful that a person will immediately stop what they are doing? Seriously? Try just keeping a hold of a wrist or an arm against a resisting opponent, much less something as small as a vein.

    Are you going to tie up the arm, tap the veins to get them to pop out, then ask the person to hold still while you grab a hold of them and yank.. honestly, educate me via Email about the effectiveness of this technique.

    Yes, for some reason I can’t imagine why they don’t have that in MMA. Though to be honest, it isn’t against the rules, aside from the fact I imagine it requires pinching.. (which unfortunately as street effective as it is, is prohibited).

    Yes sadly the most effective street techniques available.. the purple nurple, the titty twister, and indian rug burns are illegal in MMA… how dare they…

    Seriously, if you define a Martial Art as being highly versed in vein yanking, skin ripping, spearhands, and leg breaking methods other than joint locks or strikes, then you have an AMAZING limited view of Martial Arts… which is sad because I have agreed with many of your answers (aside from the crazier ones today such as a women shouldn’t be allowed in Martial Arts).

    Also I would point out that MMA doesn’t call itself a Martial Art. It is a crossing and mixing of styles to use what works for you in the sport of MMA. Some even go further and do show “illegal” techniques in MMA for self defense knowledge.

    But you don’t see Grandmasters of MMA, and you should never see “MMA black belt”: anyone who does so is marketing something.

    MMA isn’t a Martial Art. It is just a philosophy of combining arts to be well rounded.

    I would have serious problems with an art calling itself “street effective” and talking about skin ripping and vein yanking as viable means of self defense.

    Sorry for the book, I have to crawl out of the woodwork with a novel like this every now and then to present another side from the so called “hard core” “Martial Artists” who have neither the skill, or audacity to test themselves or their techniques out, yet blindly adhere to them being effective.

  10. firecat719 Says:

    Because Muay Thai and Krav Maga are all the rage right now. 10 – 15 years ago, everyone thought Aikido and Stephen Seagal was really bad @$$. Before that, you had all the ninja craze. At the time, a ton of guys where running around claiming to be masters at ninjutsu. Before that was Chuck Norris, and everyone wanted to be a professional kick boxer for the IKF or something like that. Before that, the rage was all about Bruce Lee and Jeet kun Do.

    You wait, in a few years, if someone new comes on the scene, using a completely different art and is really impressive, you will find that popping up everywhere too. Let’s say some movie comes out where a guy uses the Russian Martial Art, Sambo and, in those movies, he really rips up his opponents. The public flocks to his movies – like they did to Seagal, Speakman, Van Damme, Norris and Lee. Give it a year and you will see a lot of the new MMA fighters using Sambo.

    It really isn’t that Muay Thai is so much more effective. It is the style that is currently more popular as being so. The truth of the matter is, regardless of the style, it is the fighter, not necessarily the style.

    I’ve been around the martial arts for a very long time and have lived through each of these eras. It has happened in the past, and it will continue to happen in the future.

  11. Ray V Says:

    because muay thai and kickboxing cover the standard strikes and techniques needed to fight standing up. it does not mean they are the best to use but it is easier to learn especially for mma. if you are a real fan of muay thai, you can tell that a lot of fighters of fight in mma who classify themselves as a muay thai striker, are not essentially a muay thai artist. they are more like a kickboxer who is trained to do leg kicks, knees, and elbows.

  12. Bluto Blutarsky58 Says:

    because its a good solid style and the basic learning curve for most of the basics is not so high-

    however, like boxing its one of those things that falls under “quick to learn, lifetime to become an expert”.

    ok 10 people with quality answers got here first, so there isn’t much more to say that is not lesbian related.

  13. jls1znv9999 Says:

    It’s also called the “art of eight limbs” some of which don’t get used outside of traditional Muay Thai tournaments.

    The foremost that is attractive is the fluid and high speed and powerful blows. Being that you don’t have to be 250+ to be good at it.

    Originally it used the knees, legs, fists, elbows, and sometimes your head. Basically the only art that traditionally teaches the use of elbows and knee’s (which are known to either KO or give a nasty open cut, which result in official ending the fight.

    Muay Thai as it is taught in Thailand is nonstop running the am, kicking banana trees to build up the bone to resist breaking, and constant teaching and drilling. Also the humidity in Thailand in the summer feels like a 140-150 day here in the states.

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