The Importance of Amateur MMA
One of the biggest problems I see with aspiring fighters is that they are in too much of a rush to fight Pro. If you intend to have a successful long term fight career it is essential to gain as much experience as possible as an amateur. Generally, you will only get one shot at a contract with a major promotion such as the UFC so it's important that you are close to being the finished product when you get there rather than hoping you'll improve once you get there.
If you look at the most dominant UFC champions of the modern era you will see that they were all championship level by the time they made their UFC debut. If any fighter has serious flaws or holes in their game they will quickly be exposed and will have their contract cancelled then its back to fighting the next batch of UFC hopefuls as a gatekeeper on the local shows.
I encourage all my fighters to gain experience in amateur MMA, amateur boxing, kickboxing, muay Thai, compete in BJJ and grappling events. The time and money you spend on these smaller competitions will pay off in the long term because you will have a more well-rounded skill set.
MMA is a young sport which is changing and evolving all the time. In the past, it was possible for fighters with limited experience to walk straight into the UFC and do well but I believe we are at the end of that era. If you look closely at the previous champions you'll see that they actually had 100's of matches in other combat sports such as wrestling or BJJ before ever stepping into the cage.
Professional boxing is the biggest and most established combat sport. It is unheard of for any Boxer who wishes to become successful to fight professionally without first having an extensive amateur career. Floyd Mayweather fought over 90 amateur matches before turning pro, Muhammed Ali fought over 100 matches including winning an Olympic Gold medal and Roy Jones Jr fought over 130 amateur bouts before turning pro.
If you want to be a successful professional MMA fighter make sure you get as much experience as possible as an amateur first.
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