While MMA offers fighters an opportunity to utilize a variety of fighting skills, there is no doubt that boxing is a big part of the sport. A strong punch requires less energy with more potential impact than other MMA skills. Many of the sport’s top fighters have strong boxing skills and a few have professional boxing records. Here are a few MMA fighters with major boxing skills.
While Georges St.-Pierre never competed as a boxer, he takes his boxing skills very seriously. His trainer, Freddie Roach, is one of the best trainers in the world. St.-Pierre has won many fights using boxing techniques, including UFC 48 where he downed his opponent, Jay Hieron, at just 1:27 in the first round by knockout. Obviously, St.-Pierre did not earn his 22-2 record and welterweight title by boxing alone; he also holds an impressive array of black belts in three martial arts, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kyokushin kaikan.
When you think about the best MMA fighter of all time, Anderson Silva’s name is always up for consideration. However, he also fought two bouts as a professional boxer back in Brazil, winning one of the fights by knockout. Silva obviously sees the importance of having a wide arsenal of skills. In addition to boxing training, he is one of the top Muay Thai fighters in the world, holding a black belt. Of course, he also has a black belt in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo, as well as a yellow rope in the Brazilian art of Capoeira.
Brazil has given us no shortage of exemplary fighters, and Vitor Belfort is no exception. In addition to his black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, Belfort has a purple belt in Shotokan and a short career as a pro boxer in which he won his only fight by knockout, defeating Josemario Neves in less than one minute.
Of all of the MMA fighters with boxing records, K.J. Noons has perhaps the most solid record in the ring. From 2004 to 2009, he participated in 13 professional boxing fights, losing only 2. Of course, he also holds a 12-2 professional kickboxing record and an 11-5 MMA record. He is a highly versatile fighter with a black belt in Kenpo Karate, as well as being an expert in Muay Thai and Sanshou, a form of Chinese hand-to-hand combat.
Learning essential boxing skills will improve the overall performance of any fighter, so if you are currently working toward a career in MMA, make sure you add boxing classes along with your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling classes. Select a professional-level MMA gym that offers a variety of classes, including boxing, for one flat monthly fee.