Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about training, specifically the training and workouts that a top level pro MMA fighter would go through.
I’m talking about the folks fighting at the UFC level. The UFC level is the best of the best. That’s the level all mma fighters want to achieve.
This to me is an interesting topic because so many people out there have no idea of A and B below:
A. What it takes to make it to the UFC.
B. How real pro fighters do their training.
I feel like me (Danny Ives) of all people can give you the real skinny on pro level training.
Lets get started shall we…
How many hours in a day do fighters spend working out? AKA training.
How much time a fighter would spend training depends on whether or not they have a fight coming up.
If no fights are on the horizon then they’ll train a few days a week to keep sharp and stay somewhat in shape.
If they do however have a fight coming up then below is how that training would go down.
Most fighters work out twice a day. They do their strength and conditioning in the mornings and at not they work on different aspects of Mixed Martial Arts.
Aspects meaning some days they train in Muay Thai Kickboxing, others they work on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestling. You get the idea.
All fighters have their own taste and likes as far as time of the day to train. Some like the early morning, like 6am ish and others train at 11.
For me personally I never liked working out super early in the morning. I just didn’t move well in the AM. I guess you could say I wasn’t much of a morning person.
Pro fighters spend a few hours each day training. That time frame is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-4 hours. Not 8+ hours like so many people think. No one can train like that, at least not for very long.
That’s because your body would start breaking down on you and you’d be either burnt out or injury in a matter of weeks.
Remember this; It’s not the amount of time that matters but more the quality of the time you spend training.
So in most cases that means two workouts a day for a few hours a piece.
Now here’s a good question. How many days a week does a pro fight really train? I can assure you it’s not seven days 🙂
The top guys train anywhere from 5-6 days a week. This all depends on whether or not they have a fight coming up. This goes back to the whole fight camp thing I talked about.
Some fighters feel good working out 6 days a week, others like 5 or even 4 days of training. It’s a matter of personal opinion.
The amount of days you’ll train in a week also depends on the intensity of your training. You just can’t train “All Out” every single day. Your body will break down.
Because of that many fighters have what we in the business call “light and hard days”. Light days are easier workouts doing things like drilling or easy running.
Hard workout days involve difficult activities like sparring, rolling, heavy weight lifting and so on.
Good fighters have a mix of hard and easy days. Because lets face it; no one wants to be sore and beat up all the time.
What fighting styles do MMA fighters practice?
I’ve been in this game for 20+ years and I can tell you for a fact that 98% of the fighters in the world today practice three main styles for success.
Those styles are:
Muay Thai Kickboxing
There are others styles that some fighters come from or do like Judo, Boxing and Sombo but overall, the three above are the must have and must train styles.
They work on different styles depending on their needs. What I mean by that is take a fighter like Ronda Rousey.
She’s super nasty at takedowns already. So this area of her game doesn’t need as much attention as her striking skills.
So most likely she spends more time working on her Muay Thai because she needs to fix the weak part of her game.
I think that pretty much covers, at least on some level the pro fighters training routine for a fight.
I could write about more stuff like diet and social habits but that’s something I’ll save for another day.
Please understand this:
There shouldn’t be a doubt that pro fighters work very hard to get to the level of the UFC. No athlete regardless of their sport, gets to the top of the ladder without lots of hard work, training, learning and sacrifice.
If you’re sitting around thinking you’re gonna make it to the top just training 1 day a week I’d hate to be the barrier of bad news but that’s just not going to happen.
If you have what it takes and you’re willing to work hard then by all means, shoot for the stars and get that training in.
Who knows, maybe someone reading this is my next UFC fighter…or even better UFC Champion!
–Coach Danny Ives
PS. Below are some great MMA training videos. Watch them and pay attention to the details!