Wrestling Skills – An Absolute Must for All MMA fighters.

The wrestling skills you bring into a MMA fight will determine some very important things. Whether you are taken down or are able to stuff the opponent’s shot. Whether you can takedown your opponent or not be able to catch him before he sprawls.

It will also play a huge factor in your ability to hold the opponent down when the fight hits the ground and you are on top.

In a nutshell, it will determine where the match is fought and the position of the fighters fighting it.

You can now see why this is one of the most important arts incorporated into mixed martial arts training.

The main skills trained when learning MMA wrestling are…

  • How to dominate the clinch – Through learning the best positions to be in, by practicing specific drills such as pummeling and through competitive sparring, you can become proficient in controlling your opponent in the clinch. Practicing against a skilled and resisting opponent is vital to learning this.
  • How to takedown your opponent – Greco-Roman wrestling is ideal for learning how to takedown an opponent from the clinch with an upper body throw, seeing as that is their specialty. Freestyle and Collegiate wrestling are perfect for learning all types of takedowns, from upper body throws to single leg and double leg takedowns.
  • How to sprawl / Takedown defence – You can be guaranteed that all the takedowns and throws that you attempt while learning how to wrestle, will also be attempted on you. This will give you plenty of opportunity to learn and perfect your sprawl / takedown defence.
  • How to maintain a dominant position on the ground – In wrestling, one of the primary goals is to pin the opponent’s shoulders to the mat. Through practice of this skill you can improve you ability to stay on top of your opponent in a dominant position.

Mixed martial arts competition has seen a large influx of wrestling styles since its inception.

The most widely seen of those styles are…

  • Freestyle Wrestling – A win is achieved by pinning the opponent’s shoulders to the mat or by scoring the most points in the allotted time. The point system is based on takedowns, reversals, penalties and the exposure of a competitor’s back to the mat. The MMA fighters who are accomplished in this art have shown a remarkable ability to both takedown their opponents and stuff their opponents takedown attempts with ease. Some of the well know fighters with Freestlye as their base are Mark Coleman, Mark Kerr and Kevin Randleman.
  • Greco-Roman Wrestling – Similar to freestyle in rules and point system, with one major difference, grabbing the body for throws and takedowns is restricted to above the waist. With their specialty in upper body control and takedowns from that position, the fighters with a Greco-Roman base have become known as the best of the best when it comes to controling an opponent in the clinch. Some of the standout fighters who specialize in this art are Randy Couture, Matt Lindland and Dan Henderson.
  • Collegiate Wrestling – The point system and rules in Collegiate differ in many ways from Freestyle and Greco-Roman. The most noticeable of which is a de-emphasis on throwing. This is to reduce injuries. As you may have guessed from the name, this is the style taught and practiced in colleges and universities. With that as the case, it is very widespread. You could go on and on listing the fighters who have this style somewhere in their training background. To name just a few, you have Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz and Frank Trigg among this group.

Note: The styles listed on this page are those that are not submission based. You can learn about submission wrestling styles here.

If you would like to incorporate one of the above styles into your training regiment, or just get some extra practice in with men who specialize in this field, you are in luck. Due to the widespread popularity of the above listed styles, you should be able to find a local wrestling team to train with quite easily. You could take this as a chance for very targeted training with people who spend all their time perfecting this one area of combat. A great opportunity to improve your game to say the least. And as if that was not good enough, the programs are usually dirt cheap.

By learning this art you are giving yourself the skills that you need to be able to decide where the fight goes. If you are great on the ground, you will be able to put the fight there. If you are a better striker than your opponent, you will be able to keep the fight standing with your takedown defence. You now have greatly increased your chances of the fight playing out in the position that you are most proficient in.

  1. Herman greenstein June 1, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Does anyone remembert Erland van Lidth de Jeude? I met him several times. He was a champion wrestler, opera singer, and computer ‘whiz’ (he went to MIT! (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; a ‘top’ school)).

  2. Dallas June 9, 2008 at 10:24 am

    nice article guys!

  3. Khaled The Judoka MMA August 27, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Great Article guys please remebr to put Judo in here as well i mean they have significant wins over Wrestlers And BJJ guys.
    It has good subs and td.
    please mention judo as well no disrespect to anyone but Judo is very very effective

  4. Bart September 26, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I bet we’ll see more and more fighters coming into the MMA game with collegiate wrestling credentials. Guys with grappling experience seem to pick up striking for MMA easier and do better than guys with striking backgrounds trying to pick up ground skills. What do you guys think?