Boxing vs. MMA

Boxing vs. MMA

Since the sport of MMA has risen in popularity, the boxing vs. MMA debate has raged on. The boxing camp believes their sport is the best, while the MMA camp thinks their style is superior.

Let’s put our two cents into the boxing vs. MMA debate and break everything about the styles down. Check out everything about these fighting styles below and how they stack up with one another.

Boxing vs. MMA: The Histories

Both boxing and MMA have rich histories and have taken an interesting journey in becoming the top combat sports. Here are the histories of boxing vs. MMA.

The History of Boxing 

The History of Boxing

The sport of boxing is far older than the sport of MMA by about two centuries. Before that, the art of boxing has been practiced for centuries.

Throughout history, numerous cultures have practiced their own style of boxing. It was even one of the original Olympic Games in ancient Greece, along with wrestling and Pankration.

The modern sport of boxing as we know it began to take shape over 200 years ago. Bare knuckle boxing was widely popular throughout Europe and North America, but the sport lacked organization.

That was until Welsh sportsman John Chambers created the official rules of boxing known as the “Queensberry Rules.” With the installment of these rules, the sport of boxing was able to become organized.

Everything from the inclusion of the boxing ring, gloves, weight classes, and the creation of boxer organizations were created. By the 1900s, boxing was an official Olympic sport and pro boxing was watched by thousands of spectators at stadiums.

Over a century later, the sport of boxing remains the world’s most watched and practiced combat sport. The style is practiced and watched by tens of millions on every continent.

The History of MMA

The History of MMA

While the sport of boxing has centuries of history, the sport of MMA took quite a different path. Mixed martial arts or MMA is the inclusion of various styles of striking and grappling into one complete style.

The story of how modern MMA first came to be was mostly started within the country of Brazil. During the 20th century, Brazilian practitioners of different fighting styles fought each other on the street and in arenas.

These fights were called Vale Tudo, which is the no-holds-barred predecessor to modern MMA. One of the styles that fought to prove its legitimacy was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

BJJ was co-created by the Gracie brothers Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie, along with a few other prominent grapplers. The Gracie family is partly responsible for the establishment of modern MMA. 

Rorion Gracie co-created the UFC, which helped create the evolution of MMA. Not only was a new combat sport created, but also the gradual creation of a new martial art.

Thanks to MMA, martial artists realized they needed both striking and grappling abilities to have more complete self-defense skills.

Today, MMA has become the biggest combat sport in the world, right next to the sport of boxing. In some areas, MMA has even overtaken boxing as the world’s top combat sport.

Boxing vs. MMA: The Differences 

There are quite a few differences between boxing vs. MMA. Here are some of the biggest differences between the two fighting styles.


While both fighting styles include striking, the type of striking performed in each sport is different. Boxing is a style that is strictly punches, while MMA’s striking is a bit more complex. MMA also has punching, but it also includes kicks, knees, and elbows within the style.


The other big difference between boxing vs. MMA is the inclusion of grappling within MMA. Mixed martial arts is not only striking, but also ground fighting, which includes grounded strikes and submissions.

Boxing on the other hand is strictly performed on the feet with punches and no striking or hitting the ground.


The uniforms in MMA and boxing are a bit similar as both styles wear only shorts during fights. However, the big difference lies with the type of gloves each fighter wears.

In boxing, boxing gloves are worn that range between 8-12 ounces depending on the weight class and agreed upon fight contract. MMA fighters wear MMA gloves that weigh around 4 ounces and are fingerless for grappling purposes.

Fight Areas 

Fight areas are also completely different between boxing vs. MMA. Boxing matches are strictly held in a regulation boxing ring, while MMA bouts predominantly take place in a cage. Some MMA promotions use rings, but it’s becoming more uncommon to see them used for MMA.


Another big difference between boxing and MMA are the promotions of each combat sport. In boxing, there are various big promotions from Premiere, Goldenboy, DAZN, Top Rank, and Mayweather Promotions. 

All of which have to organize fights according to the main boxing governing bodies to organize title fights. In MMA, the biggest promotion above all is the UFC followed by ONE and PFL.

The MMA promotions also don’t have to go through boxing governing bodies in order to organize title fights. Each MMA promotion has its own champions, who they negotiate fights with directly.

Boxing vs. MMA: The Similarities 

While boxing and MMA seem different, the two combat sports do actually have a few things in common. Here are some of the main similarities between boxing vs. MMA.


Both fighting styles include using and practicing the same punching techniques MMA fighters will even work with boxing coaches and spar with boxers to improve their striking skills for their sport.

Most Watched Combat Sports 

MMA and boxing are both the two most watched combat sports. Fans of both sports fill arenas and stadiums to watch the best fighters in the world go head-to-head.

Scoring Systems 

Boxing and MMA also share the commonality of using the same scoring system. Rounds in both combat sports are scored under the 10 point scoring system. The winner of a round gets 10 points, while the loser of the round get 9 points or lower.

Athletic Commissions

No matter if it’s a boxing or MMA event, both sports are overseen by the same athletic commissions. Fighters from both sports need to be licensed and fight pre-fight inspections before they are permitted to compete. 

Boxing vs. MMA: The Game Plans 

In boxing vs. MMA bout, the two sides would have pretty straightforward game plans. Here are the game plans the two sides must follow in order to achieve victory.

The Boxer’s Game Plan 

If a boxer is facing an MMA fighter in a bout where takedowns are permitted, they have to score a knockout. They have to find the MMA fighter’s chin early and do everything they can to prevent being taken down.

Since a boxer has no formal grappling training, they will have to fight like crazy to keep the match standing. That is easier said than done, but a boxer always has a puncher’s chance.

The MMA Fighter’s Game Plan

UFC Game plan

An MMA fighter has a more complete striking game than a boxer, but it’s still dangerous to stand with a boxer. If an MMA fighter chooses to stand with a boxer, they give a boxer a better chance at winning the fight.

This is why an MMA fighter has to use their leg kicks and look to get the fight to the ground. A boxer is dangerous standing, but their punches have not effect on their back.

Once an MMA fighter gets the boxer on the ground, they’ll control the fight.

The Verdict

We’ve seen how a boxing vs. MMA matches have gone many times and it all depends on the rules. If the match is under boxing rules, it favors the boxer and if it’s MMA rules, it favors the MMA fighter.

In a boxing match, the MMA fighter will be outmatched as we saw in the McGregor vs Mayweather fight. The boxer’s superior boxing skills will take the MMA fighter to deep water.

However, this will most likely be the same outcome if a boxer enters an MMA fight. With no formal grappling training or defense against kicks, the MMA fighter will pick them apart. 

Whichever side you choose in this debate, they are both great forms of self defense and will improve your overall health.

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