It was recently brought to my attention that I should discuss how one becomes a pro mma fighter. Well, first, there are no general guidelines one must follow to get to the promised land known as the Octagon. Most fighters come from different walks of life with different backgrounds of martial arts. Then there is also a select few with virtually no background in anything whatsoever, they just want to beat someone up. And that my friends is the true nature of it all. We all just want to beat people up, legally of course, and get paid to do it.
So here are my steps in getting started to become a pro fighter. Step one is you need to find a gym in your area. Now to the layman this isn’t as easy as it may seem. So what is it that you want to do, is the first thing you need to ask yourself. When calling a gym it’s best to start out going through your yellow pages in the Martial Arts section. This is a good step in the right direction. Start calling up the gyms and ask them if they train fighters for MMA. If they tell you yes, ask them what they specialize in. The reason I am telling you this is because some schools focus primarily on one aspect of the sport like jui jitsu or kickboxing. Both of these styles are excellent and very important aspects of the MMA fighter, but you need to be well rounded so don’t limit yourself. What I mean is, and again this is all based on your location so options will vary, is if one school does a lot of rolling (slang for jiu jitsu) this is good, but you are going to have to seek out some striking instruction. Most towns do have a resident boxing coach, whether that be your area Golden Gloves team or a pro gym. This is good for you to do, especially if there is not a kickboxing school or Muay Thai gym.
I come from a relatively small town, but within that small town we have two MMA schools. One of the schools focuses a lot on jui jistu and on kickboxing. This was very good for me because I came from a very strong wrestling background so I needed to learn both styles. The other school however did not really have focus on educating a fighter, but instead a lot of sparring. Again this is a small town and we don’t have any UFC fighters so the gyms were only open minimal times throughout the week. What I did and depending on your dedication to becoming great is went to both. As I became better than the rest of the members, I searched out other schools in my area. This is what some of you might have to do. Windshield time is very common place among fighters. So please don’t let that discourage your desire to fight.
What I have discovered over my few short years of fighting and many years of competing is two things. You need to analyze yourself before venturing into anything first. Be honest with yourself, if you are the kind of person that just likes to casually do things try it out and see what you like. Or, are you the kind of person that knows what you want and goes full steam ahead in your pursuit of excellence. Please be honest with yourself, I have trained with a lot of people that kid themselves with this delemma. This will help you a lot with your goals. If this is something for fun then fight in amatuer fights. They are not as long and the competition is usually what it means, amatuer. I have know a lot of people that simply love competing and have no desire to fight at MGM in front of millions. They just want to compete and have fun, there is nothing wrong with that. Knowing this is key in your decision.
When you figure out what your reasons for getting into the sport are you will now how much time to dedicate. I am sorry to say but if you want to fight on pay-per view you’re gonna have to pay. This means you might have to travel to several gyms depending on your location, you might have to work a bad job that allows for you to train, and yes you’re going to have to get in shape. If the gym you have doesn’t know how to condition fighters, and believe me most don’t, then get online, find famous fighters’ workouts, call a personal trainer, if they don’t know how then get on xtremecouture.tv and check out our Lifestyles page. Jake Bonnaci is our in-house trainer and probably the best in the world. This website gives routines on getting fight ready.
These are all things that I feel you need to know before leaping into this sport. Whatever your background is or lack there of it’s never too late to fight, just look at my boss and coach, Randy Couture. It is a fun sport that will always push your limitations. And trust me fellas, wether they say it or not, it will impress the hell out of the ladies. Just look at Ralph Machio and Patrick Swayze. I leave you with one last thing, don’t stand on the tracks when the pain train is coming.