Expert's Guide to Choosing the Best MMA Gear

Overhead view of the MMA ring known as the Octagon

Looking to maximize your mixed martial arts potential? A great coach will tell you to always go for the knockout, control the fight, and choose the best MMA gear. Mixed martial arts is one of the toughest sports in the world, and you need gear that can keep up with you.

With the success of the UFC and other mixed martial arts organizations, the sport has rapidly grown into a spectacle, a pastime, a fitness craze, and a serious pursuit for many. The competition is fierce, so any advantage you can gain over your opponent should be considered.

You might be asking yourself “How do I choose the right MMA gear?” You’ve come to the right place, champ. Let’s get right into it. Here are a few traits to look for when choosing your MMA gear:

Comfort

You will spend hundreds of hours on the mats, in the ring, in the cage, and around your gym, wearing your MMA gear. So if you’re going to spend all that time wearing it, it should definitely feel comfortable on you. The last thing you want is to have to adjust poorly fitting gear while you're in the ring dodging your opponent. Make sure that you find the right sizes and that your equipment is made with quality materials that don’t cause any skin irritation, etc.

Durability

While saving a few bucks by buying cheap gloves might seem tempting, think twice about it. Seasoned MMA athletes can hit hard so your gear needs to be able to stand up to a lot of impacts. From pads and athletic cups, to MMA gloves, they should all be built to last. It’s better to spend a bit more money on a high-quality product that’s built durably than it is to shop at the bargain bin and constantly need to replace the cheaply constructed item.

mma fighters in ring

Protective

There are very few items of protective equipment that you can wear during a traditional mixed martial arts bout—so choose them wisely. In MMA, gloves are worn to protect the attacker’s hands, not necessarily to protect the target. Choose the right gloves to avoid hand injuries. Don’t end up like former WEC fighter Urijah Faber, who broke one of his hands in the first round of a 5-round championship fight and endured every subsequent round!

When choosing your gloves, you want to go for gloves built with multiple layers of foam to protect your knuckles. Let’s not forget about your fingers, either. That protective layer should extend to the fingers and cover them, too. Dense foam is the key here. Avoid the bulkier gloves; you want a slimmer design with very dense padding.

Groin protection is also important. Also known as an athletic cup, you want to be sure that your groin protector is built with sturdy material, there’s not much room for error in this case. Even more important than the cup itself is the garment you choose. There are compression short and athletic cup combos that work well, also. Compression shorts with moisture-wicking fabrics are the best way to go. Look for a cup that doesn’t move on you during training or competing; if your cup gets stuck in the wrong spot at the wrong time, it could cost you dearly when you need to be focused on the fight.

Sanitary

Whether you like it or not, MMA gyms are a bit of a cesspool for bacteria and germs. Finding equipment that can be cleaned easily can help you avoid bacterial infections, etc. You’re not going to be tapping anybody out while laid up with a staph infection, to say the least, so make sure that your equipment is washable.

There are certain options of MMA gear that are constructed with anti-microbial technology that helps combat odor and infections. When you have the option, definitely lean toward antimicrobial materials, as these can save you plenty of headaches.

mma fighter kicking opponent

Last, Don’t Be Stingy

The phrase “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. When searching for MMA gear, you might see a wide range in pricing on most items. Learn to read up on the descriptions of each and what goes into making a more expensive product because in most cases, paying a little extra will be worth it, especially when it comes to your overall safety.

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