Study by Fightnomics shows steady increase in striking output


A recent study done by combat statistic experts and fight science wizards Fightnomics, reveals some very interesting numbers regarding the constantly evolving sport we’ve come to love and know as Mixed Martial Arts.

According to Fightnomics, striking output has more than doubled since the UFC’s debut in 93-94. The statistics for both strikes landed and strikes thrown – which includes all strikes in all positions with all limbs – have consistently climbed incrementally every single year for the past 19 years, but with one exception.

In 1993 when the UFC debuted there was an average of approximately 4.0 significant strikes attempted per minute and 2.0 significant strikes landed per minute – otherwise known as “SSPM” – but interestingly enough, there was a dramatic decline in both the year following. No explanation was given for this, but I’ve come up with my own hypothesis.

I believe that Royce Gracie winning UFC 1 with grappling, changed the entire landscape of fighting soo drastically, that we saw the beginning of a serious philosophy change in the minds of fighters everywhere. That moment in history directly caused an increase in the amount of grappling and grapplers in the following UFC 2 in 1994. Which is also when striking output was at its lowest.

In other words, I think Royce Gracie scared the crap out of everyone soo badly, that they were like “holy crap, the grappling stuff works really well” and changed their entire mindset towards fighting, giving grapplers everywhere a boost of confidence and strikers everywhere something very real to fear. Which would also make sense as to why out of 15 fights at UFC 2, 11 of them were concluded by submission.

And since that moment, the numbers have consistently continued to grow and increase, as you can see for yourself:

You might also be asking yourself, well why and how have the numbers increased soo steadily? And the answer is quite simple. MMA is a young sport that has not yet seen its peak. It is a hyper-competitive sport of immaculately conditioned athletes that is still continuing to grow and evolve.

The scary part, is that the numbers are as consistent as they are and have yet to show any signs of slowing. We’re seeing more fighters throw and land more strikes than ever. As competition and talent increases, so does work ethic, nutrition, training methods and the science of weight cutting. It’s as if everything is evolving simultaneously out of fierce competition causing some sort of crazy Darwinian-based system leading to the survival of the fittest, which in this case could be considered the Champions of each respective weight class.

The only number that has seemed to remain relatively unchanged is accuracy percentage, which has always seemed to hover around 42%. Fightnomics attributes the reason for this as being what I mentioned previously, fighters, trainers and training methods keep getting better. As the offensive striking skills and techniques become increasingly better, so do the defensive striking skills and techniques.

More fascinating than that? All of the statistics are pointing to the scary concluding fact that we have yet to see the very best this sport has to offer. It means that the most talented, fastest and well-conditioned strikers are still out there and have yet to grace us with their existence. WOW. Some mind-blowing stuff here.

But that’s enough from me. I feel like I’m falling into some sort of mind-bending paradox of some kind, so I’m going to give up before I lose my sanity comprehending all of this.

What do you think of all this? Do you find these stats as interesting as I do? Does the prospect of a super-conditioned mega-striker get you all warm and fuzzy inside like it does for me?

Let us know in the comments below!

  • i think that there are just better athletes right now.

    • there is also lighter wheight divisions with guys that dont stop

    • I agree @ thealex, 5-10 years ago it wasn't uncommon to see two guys gassed out, unable to throw more strikes. Now it isn't uncommon to see two guys go continuously for 15 minutes. Plus the Diaz brothers skews the numbers since they came along (just kidding)

  • I believe a lot also depends on what the fans want to see. I am not a grappling fan and would always be more inclined towards watching fighters who strike. On the ground or standing, striking is what appeals to my eyes as I can see the damage caused.

    Lets face it, this is a sport of blood and grappling does not fit in very well. I would agree that as this sport grows we can certainly expect to see more aggressive and accurate strikers.

    • "grappling does not fit very well"? Tell that to Chuck. The reason his overhand right was so successful was that his grappling made it almost impossible to avoid that gameplan. I know he's gone, but the point still stands.

    • Man, you are dumb.

  • @Bryan….you can't argue with statistics, however, this could very well be an evolution of fighters choosing quantity over quality….Quantity leads to points decisions….How many guys have you seen land serious shots and damage only to lose a decision based on lack of volume.

    Guys in the past have complained about delaying tactics, soft scoring rabbit punches from both top and bottom positions. Nick Diaz, rampage and others have complained about the rules and also the inconsistency of refs deciding when its time to stand fighters up….You also have the added pressure of the promotors, bonus money….Sure the athletes may be better conditioned but I think nowadays there are so many attributing factors to the increased volume. Guys not wanting to get cut, guys wanting bonuses, extra point scoring to win rounds…

  • It's because the stand up game of the average mma fighter is getting better, it's the only hole in mma, the gape with thai and kick boxers is getting smaller, therefore the striking percentage in growing!

  • I believe the amount of strikes landed and thrown is directly proportional to cardio/nutrition. Anyone who has ever boxed or done some sort of fighting knows that any fight going more then 2 minutes takes a lot out of your sails. Superior cardio and training has attributed to these numbers rising at an increasing rate IMO.

    The guys fighting now are not just your average bar room brawlers, but legitimate athletes. Didn't Aldo have the option of playing professional soccer in Brasil?

  • @kevin has it right. Although their are many variables at play Cardio fitness is the main reason. Anyone who has trained knows, if i may paraphrase Frank Mir "Cardio pain kills everyone". We all see that cardio is the new "weapon" but it is an old idea. What do you do to train soldiers you make them march march march.

  • Cardio and lighter weight classes continuing to get added to the UFC roster are the two most apparent reasons of this change.

  • We need to see a division by division breakdown of this stat. I think the introduction of the lower weight divisions has contributed significantly to the steady graph. Barring that it would have started tapering slowly to flatline which it will anyway over the next 5 years.

    I did go the site earlier as (thanks for informing us of this site btw) I was curious what other stats they been crunching. the finishing graph was interesting. As expected HWs have highest rate of KO finishes but surprisingly bantamweight had less decisions than featherweight which had 53% of all fights going to decision.