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What is the best martial art for UFC? There can only be one

Jason Burgos

What is the best martial art for UFC? It is a question newer MMA fans will often wonder about in the formative stages of their cage fighting fandom. However, it is a reasonable question for a combat sport that combines fighting arts from around the world.

But is there one art that stands above the rest as the martial art that wins the most fights in the UFC?

What are the most formidable martial arts in UFC?

MMA is the most unique combat sport in the world because it allows competitors to use whatever fighting style best suits them. Athletes who consider Judo, Muay Thai, Wushu, Sambo, wrestling, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and many more as their base martial art have competed in the sport. However, certain arts have proven to be more effective base styles than others during the UFC’s near 30 years of existence.


Wrestling has two dominant styles that are not only Olympic sports but have been highly potent in cage fighting as well. The first is folk wrestling, which is a grappling art that emphasizes shooting for takedowns on the legs and features a wide array of techniques to get opponents to the mat and keep them there. UFC welterweight great Georges St-Pierre used this style of wrestling to have one of the most dominant championship runs in promotion history.

The other style is Greco-Roman. Unlike folk, Greco-Roman is based around a variety of different trips and throws that start in a standup clinch position. Octagon legend Randy Couture used his elite Greco-Roman skills to become one of the first UFC fighters to win titles in two divisions.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

best martial art for ufc
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The UFC and Royce Gracie helped to make the Gracie family’s version of Japanese jiu-jitsu a martial art that is studied around the world. Like wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling art that looks to get foes off their feet and to the mat. However, where it differs from wrestling is in the cornucopia of options to end fights by making foes go to sleep, break limbs, or tear ligaments.

Muay Thai

best martial arts for ufc
Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

There are a plethora of options when it comes to standup martial arts for UFC fighters to use, but the style that has moved to the forefront over the last 15 years has been Muay Thai. It is a fighting style that makes both fists and feet weapons of destruction, but also includes clinch fighting techniques with a healthy amount of trips. It is a style former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva used to take him to the pinnacle of the sport and become one of the greatest fighters in Octagon history.

Which martial art wins the most fights in the UFC?

best martial arts for ufc
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Wrestling, BJJ, and Muay Thai are all formidable styles that have been used by a diverse group of UFC veterans as a base style on their journey to becoming elite talents and champions. However, the grit, grind, and controlling nature of wrestling is the king of all the arts that come into play during an MMA fight.

Being able to dictate where a fight takes place is the ultimate trump card. A skilled wrestler can decide to bring the action to the floor, pummel opponents, or tie them into a pretzel. However, wrestlers who are well-rounded and like to get into a scrap can shut down any takedown attempts against them and force a fight to be a standup war.

A who’s-who of former champions and elite stars count wrestling as their original base style. Men like Couture, Uriah Faber, TJ Dillashaw, Daniel Cormier, Chris Weidman, Brock Lesnar, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, and so many more. It is the best base martial art in the realm of mixed martial arts.