Today we are talking about two of the most popular disciplines: MMA vs BJJ. There are 170+ disciplines of martial arts available, it’s understandable to have a tough time choosing one to study and master. 

When deciding between MMA vs BJJ, first, you must know the difference. Mixed Martial Arts is a sporting event in which participants have the same ability to compete, both strength, dexterity, experience, etc. They try to defeat the adversary in a controlled fight with the sole purpose of determining which is the best fighter. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, is an oriental self-defense martial art.

Discipline Design

When talking about MMA vs BJJ for self-defense, we must admit that mixed martial arts didn’t even exist as we know it today when jiu-jitsu first came into this world. So get your best running shoes for treadmill and prepare for hardcore training sessions.

MMA is a very new sport, and it is evolving very quickly. The difference between fights and competitors are enormous compared to a couple of years ago. If, at first, it was a mix of wrestling, BJJ, boxing, and muay thai has become an independent martial art. And yes, BJJ has changed too.

A typical positive outcome is that in MMA or BJJ weight loss is imminent, and 1 month of training in either of the disciplines will make you fit for sure. The sport of jiu-jitsu seems to be increasingly removed from MMA.

If you are asking yourself „should I learn MMA or BJJ?” you should be aware that, at the core, jiu-jitsu was explicitly invented for David to beat Goliath. It is a sport for smaller or weaker individuals to be able to defend against a bigger and stronger aggressor by using leverage and tactics of awareness. This gave a Buddhist monk the means to successfully defend against a bully who out-weighs him 15 or 20 kg.

Fighting a clumsy, unskilled guy is not the same as controlling a fighter who lifts weights daily and trains in boxing and Muay Thai several times a week.

The Guard In MMA or BJJ

In the sport of jiu-jitsu, an impressive percentage of 60% of the fight takes place on guard, so this position naturally became one of the main focus points of any sparring session. Here we would like to point out a couple of reasons why this will not help you fight in a cage. First of all, before answering the question „should I train in MMA or BJJ?” know that little to no time is being spent on training guard, so don’t focus your entire training session on this position.

In the academy, they can freeze, look for grabs and look for openings, but in MMA they allow the referee to tell the fighters to stand up if he thinks the situation is tied up and there is no progress. Second, when fighting in MMA your guard is not so useful.

When you are sparring with your partner and friend, you have a controlled environment. It’s something else entirely trying to fight with someone who is throwing punch after punch down on you. Another big difference about going into MMA or BJJ is the cage, which can stop you from recovering your position by using your hips.


The main BJJ strategy is to maneuver your opponents after you have brought them down on the floor. But for a strange reason that we cannot understand, there isn’t much emphasis put on takedowns, although this might be a secret ingredient to perfecting the art even more.

Another important aspect to keep in your mind if you’re asking yourself „should I do MMA or BJJ?” is that, in jiu-jitsu, fighting on the floor is everybody’s main focus and strategy. This is not always what happens in mixed martial arts. A common occurrence is when one fighter has their striking skills more developed than his other one, and they will do their best efforts to not go down to the floor. If you are fighting a professional thai-boxer, you will have a tough time getting them on the ground.


Learning martial arts is not comparable since it offers you a safe environment where you learn to identify, analyze and manage physical conflicts. It teaches you to manage and control the emotions related to a physical conflict in a short time. By learning and acquiring the ability to control emotions during a physical struggle, you can control and manage emotions during a conflict that is not necessarily physical with remarkable clarity and grace.

What discipline attracts you the most, MMA or BJJ? Feel free to share your experiences with these martial art disciplines.