MMA vs Boxing: Which Is More Entertaining To Watch?

Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Boxing and MMA are incredibly popular combat sports enjoyed by many. You might be a fan of exclusive boxing or MMA, but both feature a variety of combat styles that are unique to their sport and take incredible amounts of training and practice to pull off.

Regardless of which combat style you are a fan of, or you might be a complete newbie to the world of combat sport altogether, surely both boxing and MMA are the same? Not really! There are some big differences between both sports, and you might find a divide in your friend group as to who prefers which sort. It’s definitely more fun to watch MMA fighting or boxing as a group, perhaps even increasing the stakes by checking MMA Odds of winning vs. boxing odds. So if you are trying to decide which sport to watch for your next get-together and want to settle it once and for all, then keep reading below! We’ll help you decide which of the two is more entertaining.


What is MMA?

You might be a big fan of boxing, in which case you might have only heard about MMA in passing. So let’s take a closer look at what it actually is. MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and was something that was developed around the 1990s, so it is still a relatively new sport. As the name suggests, it features a blend of self-defense and fast-paced combat with inspiration from other fighting styles.

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The combat style ranges from boxing, striking, grappling, and wrestling and can take place both on the ground as well as standing up. Fighters are encouraged to use a range of skills they are proficient in to knock the other player out, with a few rules in place.

What is Boxing?

On the other hand, boxing is a sport that has been around for literally centuries. The main goal is similar to MMA, which is to knock your opponent out. However, in boxing, it only counts by throwing punches at your opponents and scoring points. The player with the most points wins!

Kicks and takedowns are off-limits in boxing, and no other fighting style is allowed to be used, and both players are required to wear a mouth guard for protection as well as heavy gloves, which they use to help them land accurate punches.


What Are The Main Differences?

Now that we’ve had a brief look at the two combat sports on their own, it’s time to consider the main differences between them.

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One of the first and major differences is the sort of equipment used in both styles of fighting. Some of the equipment is the same across sports for the sake of protection. The boxing gloves, mouth guard, and groin guard are the same for both. 

In MMA, however, fighters must compete barefoot and also wear shin guards so that they are protected against kicks from their opponent. Their gloves also vary from boxing gloves, and they may also use additional rash guards due to grappling sessions.

In boxing, the athletes train with boxing shoes, and their gloves are a lot more heavy-duty, thanks to the fighting style focusing on punches instead of kicks.

Combat Techniques

Another main difference is the difference in technique when it comes to combat. Boxing has a more rigid structure because its primary focus is on punches, which can range from uppercuts, crosses, jabs, and hooks. Because of these, a lot of the training is not just about how to land these, but also things like footwork and movement of the head to maximize chances of gaining leverage over your opponent. 

MMA on the other hand is a lot more fluid in its fighting style because it has borrowed techniques from pre-existing styles and blended them into one. These include judo, karate, muay thai, taekwondo and more. The rules are, therefore, a bit more open because it is about trying to utilize all moves and body parts as effectively as possible in a way your opponent might not expect.

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Another difference is the popularity of both sports, and there are a number of factors that impact this. As we mentioned before, boxing has been around since at least 688 BCE, when it was first officially considered an Olympic sport, but even before that, fist fights were very common. So it’s safe to safe that boxing has been around for a lot longer, and therefore, more people are familiar with it, thanks to legends such as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

In contrast, MMA was first developed in 1985 in Japan, but it took off in the early 1990s, with the first official MMA fight taking place at UFC 1. That’s not to say that MMA isn’t popular! It just hasn’t had the exposure that boxing has had. Still, arguably it is more interesting to watch because of the blend of fighting styles, making it an unexpected and always fresh sport. Names such as Conor McGregor have only increased its popularity amongst fans.