The similarities between boxing and mixed martial arts are so great that they obscure the fact that they are, indeed, two very distinct sports. Yes, they are both rooted in combat and they are both about disabling and/or knocking out opposition, but they really are more dissimilar than similar. Those differences become even more obvious when Mayweather vs. McGregor talk generates debate as to how certain UFC stars would do in the boxing ring.
Those who engage in UFC betting online like to study styles and assess the nuts and bolts of the fights, but all of that flies out the window when trying to do a “how would they do” analysis about UFC fighters deeply immersed in the boxing world.
Here’s a look at five skills a UFC warrior would need to hone for success in the squared circle:
Smart movement and proper control of distance are essential elements in an elite-level boxer’s skill set. A fighter with master’s level footwork can completely shut down and utterly nullify an opponent. In order for a UFC star to succeed in boxing, he/she would have to learn to master correct footwork for the ring.
Because of the grappling and take down element of mixed martial arts, standing in the pocket too long, throwing too many consecutive shots is frowned upon. In boxing, however, the ability to string long series of punches together for maximum effect is considered the epitome of successful offensive fighting. A five or six punch combination , thrown with perfect balance and fluidity, is a boxing trainer’s dream. In the UFC, though, it’s an invitation to be taken down and choked out.
Working twelve three-minute rounds in world championship bouts requires much different pacing than the UFC’s five five-minute rounds. Boxers must always be prepared for a marathon even though their intention may be to make a mad dash for the finish line. A mixed martial artist has to learn to pace himself and not blow his entire load in the first couple of minutes of the fight.
For the sake of mobility and defense against take downs, mixed martial artists can’t afford to be too firmly rooted to the canvas. In boxing, though, proper punch technique demands a full body approach to punching– one where a punch’s power come from everything from the tip of the toes to the top of the shoulder.
In boxing, a good defense trumps all. And defense entails very specific skills based on everything from proper footwork, to angling of the body, to head movement and ability to parry with their gloves. What works in MMA won’t necessarily work in boxing.