When you take the striking element out of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) you are left with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) or more specifically NoGi BJJ. MMA fighters use a technique borrowed from wrestling or Judo to take their opponent to the ground. If they are successful it is called a takedown. Once on the ground, the fight moves swiftly into submission wrestling where BJJ is the clear leader. With the addition of ground striking, you can see the fundamentals of NoGi BJJ in MMA.
Royce Gracie was one of the early fighters in UFC and proved the effectiveness of BJJ in a mixed martial art fight. Unlike contemporary MMA Gracie wore a traditional Kimono or Gi. Now MMA fighters have left the Gi behind, BJJ has also developed a new sport in which the competitors don’t wear a Gi. This has become known as NoGi BJJ where fighters prefer to wear a rash vest and board shorts, which makes them look a bit like a surfer.
I have noticed a surge in interest in BJJ which may have come from the growth in MMA. MMA may be the fastest growing sport in the world and Conor McGregor has played a huge role in raising its profile. Groundwork is not McGregor’s strong point. Perhaps you have noticed that he tries hard to avoid takedowns, especially with an opponent that is stronger in BJJ. He comes from a striking background and has had to work hard to improve his NoGi BJJ. You can find videos of the UFC champ competing in NoGi BJJ competitions to improve his ground work.
MMA fighters use BJJ fundamentals but also include a number of other techniques that extend the art such as the use of the cage as a defence against takedowns and striking while on the ground.