The 5-5-5 Approach For Competitive MMA


Are you thinking about training MMA and possibly pursuing a career as a professional fighter? With the rapid rise and growth, it is becoming a more viable option for individuals looking for a career in professional sports. There are multiple weight classes and athletes comes in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a good outline on a path to success for becoming a professional fighter.

First and major key is finding the right gym and Coaches to help guide you on this journey. Make sure to do proper research and to see if they are qualified for the job. Make sure you are ready to invest and commit to this journey. Do not expect Coaches to train and corner you for free.

Pre MMA Amateur Phase:

Participate in at least 5 local Grappling tournaments and Muay Thai Amateur/Technical Bouts. This is where you gain valuable starting experience and Mat/Ring time. You want to make sure you are well prepared to make an impression for your Amateur MMA debut. During this phase is when you find out if the combat sports lifestyle is for you as well as figuring out your weaknesses so you can strengthen them.

Amateur MMA Phase:

Starting off your amateur MMA debut, you should have accumulated a good amount of experience from the previous local tournaments. This is when things start getting a little more serious and having an undefeated record goes a long way. Ultimately your goal now is to go 5-0 against good competition. This phase is when you start building a name for yourself and establishing your mark on the local MMA scene. Promotions and sponsors aren’t just looking for the best fighters - they are looking for the best fighters who can sell the most tickets and bring exposure to their brand. During this phase you should approach training and fighting as a part time job. You need to put in hours to add more tools to your toolbox as you prepare to go pro. If you aren’t seeing yourself getting better and evolving - you need to consider another approach. During this time, you should also approach local business in your hometown to ask for sponsorship opportunity in exchange for increasing exposure for their brand by having their logos on your shorts/fight banner. After amassing a positive record within these 5 Amateur fights, you are now ready to turn Professional.

Professional Phase:

The path to getting into the UFC/Bellator is not easy. You would need to reach at least 5-0 before being considered in either promotion, especially the UFC. There are a few cases where fighters have made it into Bellator with under 5 professional fights. You should be training and taking fighting as a full time job now. If you have established yourself as a marketable fighter with sponsorships, they will be paying you to fight and to represent their brand. Find the most popular Professional MMA promotion in your state and focus on getting that championship belt. Make every fight count and do your best to look at the top of your game. Focus on being marketable and a valuable asset to sponsorships. Make sure you have an active social media feed/following, the more support you have, the more noise they can make. After a successful stint in the local Professional MMA scene, you are now ready for Bellator/UFC. This is where the real journey begins!

Cliff notes:

Find a good gym, coaches and training partners.

Participate in at least 5 local amateur grappling/muay thai events.

Fight 5 Amateur MMA fights with the goal of winning a belt.

Gather local support, sponsorships and build your fanbase/following.

Fight 5 Local Professional MMA fights with the goal of winning a belt.

Make your bid for Bellator/UFC. 

This is just a general outline and will not always work for everyone! Be prepared to be committed and never give up on this journey! 


Steven Han1 Comment