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Why BJJ is Still Important in MMA

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It seems that there has been a few comments recently about how Brazilian jiu jitsu is not so relevant in modern mixed martial arts any more. People seem to forget how the Gracie family brought their brand of jiu jitsu and the sport of mixed martial arts to the world’s attention when they devised the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament in 1994. It was in UFC1 that Royce Gracie took on and beat the top fighters from various martial arts using his families jiu jitsu. But we often hear how some fighters say how training Brazilian jiu jitsu is not so important and essential as it once was. They are making a big mistake, as they may find out to their cost.

If you are neglecting your BJJ training and specifically training in the gi, you are opening up yourself to all kinds of trouble. Training in the gi will definitely have a good cross over into mixed martial arts training. Many of the top mixed martial artist in the world have a background that has included Brazilian jiu jitsu training in the gi. Fighters like George St Pierre, BJ Penn and Anderson Silva have all gained black belts in BJJ. Even light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has now started to work on his ground game more and has started training in the gi.

Many of the fighters that are rising up through the ranks in the UFC and other mixed martial arts promotions are coming from wrestling backgrounds, especially in the US. Wrestlers that come into MMA have great skill sets, like powerful takedowns and ground defences, but they are often still lacking when it comes to offensive skills on the ground. A skilled jiu jitsu fighter will try to expose any mistakes a wrestler will make and when they are continuously have to try to defend off submission attempts, mistakes will happen.

Many of the gyms that now offer MMA classes may seriously neglect the ground game, you may have a couple of 1 or 2 hours sessions a week where you will be instructed on the various components that go up to make up the mixed martial arts, but the submission grappling training they do will more than likely be no-gi. If you are training like this, try to start training BJJ in the gi as well. Brazilian jiu jitsu is a very complex fighting art and you need more than just the bit of time you spend on the mat in your average MMA class.

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