5 Ways MMA and Boxing Are Similar (And 5 Ways They’re Different)

MMA and boxing will always draw comparisons due to the nature of the sport. It’s pretty easy to recognize the similarities between the two sports when someone lands a punch in the face, and it’s even easier to realize the differences when someone lands a double leg takedown.

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Boxing is a major fighting style used by many MMA fighters. MMA and the cfu also draw their organizing roots from boxing; Current UFC President Dana White was originally a boxing trainer before becoming UFC President. Thus, the roots of MMA and UFC are closely linked to those of boxing. That being said, in actual competition, the sports differ greatly.

ten SIMILAR: Weight Classes


In the early days of the UFC, weight classes weren’t a thing; it was every man for himself. Realizing this limited their competitive pool to those big enough or brave enough to step into the cage with the monsters they had as athletes, the UFC decided to implement weight classes as a model. based on that of boxing.

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Although the weight classes of boxing and MMA are not the same – there are many more in boxing than in MMA – the idea of ​​weight classes in the UFC stems from the implementation of the classes weight by boxing.


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Boxing gloves are intended to protect the fighter’s face and hands. They vary in weight from 12 to 16 oz, they also cover the entire hand of the contestant, only allowing them to form a fist during the fight.

MMA gloves, on the other hand, are very lightweight and only cover the competitor’s knuckles. They allow the opening of the hand to be used when grappling, MMA gloves are only intended to protect the bones of the fighter’s hand cushioning each blow.


8 SIMILAR: Score of 10 points

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Both boxing and MMA use a mandatory 10-point scoring system when judging fights. This is how fights are decided if they go the distance: 10 points are awarded to the winner of the round and 9 or less to the loser of the round. These points are then totaled at the end of the fight and the fighter with the highest score wins by decision. This is a scoring system that was originally implemented in boxing and transferred to MMA.

7 DIFFERENCE: Ring vs Cage

UFC Octagon UFC 249
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One of the most obvious differences between boxing and MMA/UFC is the arena in which they fight. Although some fringe MMA organizations still use the boxing ring, the most famous MMA fighting zone is the UFC Octagon, and it’s a stark difference from the traditional boxing ring.

Boxing rings have ropes to hold fighters down and much tighter corners that fighters use to trap their opponents. The Octagon is rounder and makes circling easier for fighters. It also has cage walls to allow for easier gripping.

6 SIMILAR: Pay-Per-View

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Similar to the 10-point scoring system and weight classes, pay-per-view is also a system originally used in boxing that carried over to UFC and MMA. A pay-per-view is a television service that requires viewers to pay to watch the event. Boxing and the UFC use it for their biggest fights of the year. The UFC will offer approximately 12 pay-per-view cards per year.

5 DIFFERENCE: Reversals

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Knockdowns are one of the biggest differences between MMA and boxing. In MMA, there’s no 10 count, there’s no time to recover, taking a knee can’t bring you to your senses. Although both have a similar impact on a fight’s score, boxing and MMA have a very different approach to what happens after a knockdown.

In English boxing, the fighter is given the count of 10 to recover and then continue the fight. In MMA, more often than not, the opposing fighter lunges at the knocked down fighter in an attempt to push them back with strikes.

4 SIMILAR: Punches

Boxing: Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez
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One of the biggest MMA influences that boxing has is quite simple and true to the form of both sports, punching. The style of throwing punches and the terminology used to describe punches are taken directly from boxing.

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Throwing a jab means the same to an MMA fighter and a boxer. Cornermen even use some of the same terminology when training fighters in the middle of a fight, referring to punches as numbers, for example throwing a 1,2 means throwing a jab then crossing.

3 DIFFERENCE: Boxing Federations vs UFC

Dana White at UFC 246
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UFC is the premier MMA organization across the globe, it has the best of the best in terms of talent. Boxing, on the other hand, has 5 major recognized organizations/associations, each of which holds a world title for each weight class in professional boxing.

Where that has the biggest impact is in terms of big fights, since the UFC has signed the majority of the biggest and best fighters, it’s easier for them to match fighters to have big fights more often. Whereas in boxing promoters and associations get involved which makes it more complex to have a big fight.

2 SIMILAR: 5 minute cool down

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A similar rule in boxing and MMA is the 5 minute recovery period. When a boxing or MMA fighter is hit with a low blow, they have the ability to take up to 5 minutes to recover.

This 5 minute rule is also used for the unfortunate circumstance in MMA of peeks. The 5 minutes are used to allow the fighter to recover and determine if they can continue to fight.

1 DIFFERENCE: Laps and times

Israel Adesanya UFC 230
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A UFC fight has a round duration of 5 minutes and is either 3 rounds or, for championship/main event fights, it will be 5 rounds. Five-minute rounds allow fighters to implement a more intense cardio strategy.

Boxing has 3 minute rounds and between 4 and 12 rounds per fight. Fighters typically start their careers with four rounds, progressing to 12 championship bouts.


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