People stay up late at night to watch boxing and MMA alike. For those in the West, both sports are often done in the late hours especially when they are live in countries that bend the time zones. Although both sports are a huge part of many people’s lives, and similarly, are martial arts – they are entirely different in a few aspects.
Another contributing factor to MMA’s popularity is the cross-over boxing bouts outside of the organizations, between top names, such as Conor McGregor and retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. YouTube-celebrity, and amateur boxer Jake Paul faced former UFC long-time champion Anderson Silva in the boxing ring and won. Paul also faced UFC-fighter Tyron Woodley last year, which he also won.
In this article, we’ll check out some notable differences in the rules and formats of both of these sports.
Differences in ring and gloves
A different set of rules and martial arts are allowed in both variations of fighting sports. The glove size and type are the first sign of distinction between the two.
The knockout rule in boxing means the fight is called off if a fighter gets knocked down three times. Whilst in MMA, the referee has it all down to his own judgement when to stop the fight. This has led to much controversy of late.
In boxing, you are more likely to see a bigger and softer glove in order to minimize the damage given to the other opponent and at the same time shield the attacker’s hand from any injury. Unless it is kickboxing, kicking is certainly not allowed.
In MMA, we’re talking about shorter bursts of battles, which means the gloves are much smaller than in boxing. There are more ways to fight as the term “MMA” stands for mixed martial arts. It allows fighters to innovate and create their own fighting style to conquer the opponent.
A square ring is used in order for boxing matches to take place, with four corners and strong ropes to garrison around the fighters.
While a boxing ring is square, the octagon is used for MMA fights – a high fence surrounds the octagon, enclosing the fighters and referee, and is referred to as “the cage”. This is also the reason MMA-fights are sometimes called “cage-fights”.
The boxing ring and octagon each have a big impact on how the fighters can utilize their environments for attack and/or defense.
Taking a closer look at MMA
MMA is one of the most anticipated fighting sports out there, with many people wanting to check out some of the immense drama it has to offer. There have been countless reports and studies that show that MMA has been the fastest growing sport in the last couple of years and is projected to keep growing in years to come.
The popularity does not only live within the fights but the hype that the sport and athletes has created on social media, through the various organizations and the strong global media presence.
The pre-fight trash talks and drama building up to each bout can be episodes of entertainment in itself too.
The late-night shadows often burn up and the fighters put on some great shows for the people watching, with mass media coverage.
However, most active, and top-tier MMA fighters seek to become champions and break records in an organization such as UFC, Bellator or Pride – The number of title defenses, or becoming champion in more than one division, is a sure road to legendary status in the MMA world.
UK betting company bwin demonstrates this in an infographic post released earlier this year, listing all double champions and upcoming UFC events in 2023.
Big names in MMA
Some of the best MMA fighters of all time include Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Khabib Nurmagomedov, along with pioneers like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.
Current names that could cement their legacy as best fighters of all-time, would be Jon Jones in his comeback in a new weight class in 2023 and Amanda Nunes, the most dominant female fighter of all time.
Taking a closer look at Boxing
Boxing, as much as it is compared to the MMA sport, some athletes have crossed over from one sport or the other to help cross-train for competitions and build up different techniques. It is useful as one sport might have something that the other does not work on by default.
Big names in boxing
The household names in boxing’s rich history far exceed that of MMA in older generations. Muhammad Ali transcended sport, even taking on political and cultural significance. George Foreman, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Joe Frazier, and Rocky Marciano catapulted the sport into a global event.
Through the 80s and 90s, Mike Tyson became one of the greatest of all time. He became synonymous with raw punching power. His exhibition fight in 2020 against veteran Roy Jones Jr garnered a lot of attention once more, proving his name recognition. There have been rumors surrounding Iron Mike to face various MMA fighters and Jake Paul, as this would be a big draw and a lot of money offered to the fighters. Others like Oscar de la Hoya, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield also left their mark.
Perhaps the greatest of all time dominated much of the 2000s. Floyd “Money” Mayweather, like Ali, transcends the ring. His personality, showmanship, and out-of-the-ring antics have made him a household name. Manny Pacquiao and current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury have also become synonymous with the sport.
Boxing or MMA – Which is most difficult to learn?
There is always talk of which of the two, MMA or boxing, produces better athletes. It isn’t a simple case of “this one or that one” but it is more about how one fights. One thing is clear – it does take many years to work up the speed and techniques required in high level boxing, not something one could learn in boot camp.
When looking at MMA you must build up standing and ground techniques in grappling (wrestling), punches, kicks and adapt to the game as it is still evolving.
Boxing and MMA differ in many ways and can today be seen as true art forms in sports and both draws some of the biggest audiences over the world as the excitement of that anything can happen in the ring or octagon is always there.