why isn t there more judo in mma

why isn t there more judo in mma

Judo, a martial art originating from Japan, is known for its effective throws and grappling techniques. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), on the other hand, is a combat sport that combines various martial arts disciplines. While judo has been successful in the Olympic Games, it is not as prevalent in MMA. This article aims to explore the reasons behind the limited presence of judo in MMA.

Limited Rule Set

why isn t there more judo in mma

One reason for the lack of judo in MMA is the limited rule set. MMA allows strikes, kicks, and submissions, but judo primarily focuses on throws and groundwork. The absence of specific rules and scoring criteria for judo techniques in MMA discourages fighters from specializing in judo. The sport’s emphasis on striking and submissions makes other martial arts more appealing for fighters.

Moreover, the rules of MMA often favor fighters who excel in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) due to its extensive groundwork and submission techniques. As a result, many MMA fighters prioritize training in BJJ rather than judo.

Training Adaptation

Judo training primarily focuses on throws and controlling opponents on the ground. While these skills are valuable in MMA, the training methods and strategies in judo may not directly translate to the cage. MMA fighters need to adapt their training to include striking, takedown defense, and a wider range of submissions, which may require additional time and effort.

Furthermore, judo training often discourages striking techniques, as they are not allowed in competitions. This limitation can hinder judo practitioners from fully transitioning into MMA, where striking is a crucial component.

Grappling Emphasis

While judo is known for its grappling techniques, MMA has evolved to include a broader range of grappling styles. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, and Sambo have become dominant grappling arts in MMA due to their effectiveness in both offense and defense. These styles have gained popularity and are more widely practiced and taught in MMA gyms.

Additionally, the scoring system in MMA often rewards fighters who control the fight on the ground. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with its focus on submissions and positional dominance, aligns more closely with the scoring criteria, making it a preferred choice for many MMA fighters.

Stand-Up Game

MMA places significant emphasis on striking techniques, including punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. Judo, while incorporating some striking techniques, does not prioritize them to the same extent. This discrepancy in training can put judo practitioners at a disadvantage when facing opponents with strong striking backgrounds.

Furthermore, the stand-up game in MMA often involves clinching and dirty boxing, which may not be extensively trained in judo. Fighters with backgrounds in kickboxing, boxing, or Muay Thai have a natural advantage in this aspect of the sport, making it harder for judo practitioners to excel.

Marketing and Exposure

The popularity of martial arts in MMA is influenced by marketing and exposure. Certain martial arts, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, have gained significant recognition and promotion through successful fighters and media coverage. Judo, despite its rich history and effectiveness, may not have received the same level of marketing and exposure in the MMA world.

As a result, potential fighters and trainers may be less aware of the benefits and applicability of judo in MMA, leading to a lower participation rate and limited representation of judo in the sport.


While judo has proven to be effective in self-defense and sports like the Olympics, its presence in MMA remains limited. Factors such as the rule set, training adaptation, grappling emphasis, stand-up game, and marketing and exposure contribute to this phenomenon. Nonetheless, the potential for judo in MMA should not be underestimated, and efforts to bridge the gap between these two disciplines can lead to a more diverse and well-rounded sport.

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