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Technique and Athleticism: Which is more important?

To be a better athlete…or a better technician? What is really the deciding factor? Find out here! {googleAds}


Some fighters don’t do well in MMA because they aren’t great athletes, they’re technicians. Athleticism can make all the difference.

Let’s take a look at the first round of the Pride WW Grand Prix for comparison. Look at how Lombard did against Gono, who is a 12 year MMA veteran with nearly 50 fights. Then look how Takimoto did with 20 year old Mousasi who has like 2 years experience. Lombard was able to survive with strength, power, speed. Obviously it isn’t SOLELY athleticism, but it is a big part of MMA which sometimes isn’t demanded in their respective sports with guys who are very technical judoka, wrestlers, strikers, etc.

You can see the same thing with elite BJJ guys. Contrast a guy like Nogueira, who was never an elite Gi or no Gi player, but look what he can do in MMA with his speed, flexibility, stamina. Then contrast world class Gi (and to some extent, no Gi players) like Napao and Pe De Pano. They aren’t athletes, they’re just very technical grapplers. Their game is somewhat hampered in no gi, and more so hampered in MMA.

There is obviously technique necessary in MMA, but it isn’t a sport about being the most meticulous technician sometimes. It is about being strong, powerful, fast and nimble. Many guys from singular grappling arts like BJJ and Judo, especially those who are most effective with the gi, lack this quality. It is masked in their respective gi competitions because they use their technique to mask it, but in MMA, that advantage is erased to an extent, and they suffer.

In conclusion, technique is a huge part of winning in the MMA game, but if the athleticism is lacking, you are looking at a long and hard road to excel in.


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