MMA is a tough sport, possibly the closest there is to Gladiator combat.
Once that cage door is locked shut, it is a case you will not leave unless you are the winner or loser. The latter might result in an injury, a knockout or being put to sleep.
When faced with this prospect the legs start to go like jelly, our hearts race and we suddenly feel light headed. This is fear messing with you.
After all, you have told everyone you know about this fight, many of your friends and family have purchased tickets, you might even be featured on a live stream over the internet, and then there is YouTube to think about!
This is pressure like never before!
Ok, but this can be fixed by having a strong enough game so that your first MMA fight goes as planned and this article is a roadmap to winning your first fight.
1. Be Fighting Fit, Not CrossFit
I see this a lot. Fighters go to gyms like CrossFit and others to get fit to fight. This is a major mistake. If you are training for general fitness, you are not training for your fight.
Most MMA gyms have all you need to get fit for your upcoming fight. Sure, we know that CrossFit people are super fit, but that is not fighting fit. This is because fitness is specific for the activity that you are training for.
Now that is not to say that cross training is not useful. Activities such as swimming, running and weight training all help, and yes CrossFit style training can also help.
But that is not the same as fighting. It will not matter how many pull-ups you can do if you just need the energy to do one more high-quality takedown to win the fight!
Make sure you spend more time in the gym training than you do outside it.
2. Play To Your Strengths
I have a friend who is a top class Judo player. He fought in an MMA fight and guess what he did? He played to his strengths.
The result was that he picked his opponent up and tackled him onto the mat and the opponent broke his outstretched arm as he went down.
If you want to watch that happen here is the fight (it is gruesome, it happens at the beginning of round two):
The moral of this story is that you should know what your strengths are, my friend used his grappling throughout and never turned this into a striking match.
If you are tall for your weight, your coach needs to build your game around using that to your advantage. Or you may have a brutal Thai kick or perhaps you were a top wrestler.
The point is, do not try and be too generic at this time. Stick to what you are good at. Now if you have only ever trained MMA and have no individual standout skill, use this to your advantage.
If the opponent is a better striker take him down, if he is a better grappler make sure you keep him standing.
3. Learn How To Cancel Out Skill
If you spend any time watching MMA, you will see a few positions that spell the end.
Taking the back is one of them, the mount can be too, side mount and of course leg locks and arm bars.
Unless you know how to escape these positions, then you might want to rethink your fight. There is so much that you cannot control in a fight, your technical know-how is something you can control in advance.
Learning how to escape a position will give you more confidence, and if things are going wrong you always have a chance!
4. Look After Your Health
Sounds simple enough but so many neglect their physical well-being. Just because you are fit, does not mean you are healthy.
Being healthy means that you are looking at your diet, watching the types of foods you eat and making sure you get the right nutrients into your body.
This is key! You will have to stop partying, stop drinking and get your body ready to be most explosive it has ever had to be.
5. Keep It Simple
I have seen a lot of fighters lose trying to look amazing!
It is your first fight, and you want to win. You can experiment later in your career, but the aim is to get the first W in the win column.
It takes seconds to lose a fight, so you need to concentrate on winning. So your first fight is not the time to start using that sweep you saw last week on the UFC.
Use the things you can do well!
When it comes to your first fight it is easy to become overwhelmed. Instead, focus on what you need to do to achieve your desired result; a win!
If you are prepared in advance, then you should be successful, and preparation is the key.
You will not be able to control a wide variety of aspects of the fight, but you can control the condition you enter the cage, both skill wise and physical conditioning.
Sure, everyone wants to say they fought in a cage and won, just make sure the odds are stacked in your favour and do all you can and you should succeed.
Thanks for reading
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