What Equipment Do You Need to Start MMA Training?

Mixed Martial Arts is a merger of multiple styles and forms, allowing participants to utilize a wide range of techniques in competing with an opponent. It combines striking arts such as karate, kickboxing, muay thai, and boxing with grappling arts such as judo, wrestling, and jiujitsu. MMA is a legitimate full-contact sport that has risen from an underground status becoming one of the most prominent and preferred spectator sports globally. Today there are multiple organizations supporting MMA fighters and MMA competitions, including UFC, Bellator, and One FC to name a few.

If you are here on this page, it is because you want to start training and need to know what equipment you need to start MMA.


Why Training Mixed Martial Arts?

It is a fantastic way to get into shape, but then again there are many easier roads to that end. It’s great for those who enjoy competing in physically rigorous sports, for those interested in self-defense, and for those seeking physical hobbies.

Are you highly motivated and willing to be pushed both mentally and physically?   Then MMA might be in your wheelhouse.  If you want to train to compete eventually, great!  But do not get tricked into thinking that you have to compete if you train MMA. The overwhelming majority of people who train MMA do it as a hobby and as a form of exercise, and never step into the ring to compete in an organized event.

If you are looking to build mental toughness, want to build functional strength, increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and have fun, then MMA is right in your wheelhouse.

What You Need to Get Started Training in MMA

Training with the proper equipment is vital for anyone especially those new to the sport. Motivation and mental toughness are also absolutely necessary. The right mindset will take you far. If you’ve never noticed, athletics are as much a physical sport as they are a mental activity and in MMA this is even more the case. If you don’t have the wherewithal, the mental stamina, to push yourself the extra mile, then you surely do not have what it takes, even if you have the technique and the muscle-power. Training mixed martial arts is equally a mental game as much as anything else.

Protecting your physical self will help keep you fighting when the chips are down. Obtaining the necessary gear is a first stop once you have committed to the unconventional demands that MMA will require.

MMA Gloves

MMA gloves are also called grappling gloves. They are lighter weight than standard boxing gloves. Furthermore, the fingers are opened for clinch maneuvers, and for submissions. At least 4 to 6 ounces of padding is a good idea, and it can offer some degree of protection. The added padding provided on the 6-ounce glove is good for beginners. Professionals often wear the 4-ounce version. The lighter glove offers more speed but at the cost of endurance and vice versa, the heavier glove offers greater endurance but the additional weight will mean less speed.

The heavier glove can be used in training to help build-up greater endurance and adjust to increased weight. When purchasing a decent glove, look for one that isn’t too stiff and preferably one with double-stitching, so it will hold together for the duration.

The Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves are a great choice for starting out.  However, if you want something a little more sturdy, try the Hayabusa Ikusa or the the Venum Challenger.

Boxing Gloves

MMA training is often broken up into working on two separate parts of your game, the striking and the grappling. 12-16 ounce gloves are good for training your striking exclusively. If you are boxing and sparring, you most definitely will need a decent pair of gloves. Leather gloves may last much longer but they are more expensive. Gloves that allow sparring will need to be at least 12 ounces. If you are planning to do hard sparring though, I suggest getting 16 ounce gloves. Protect yourself and your sparring partner. Anything less and you risk compromising your hands and your partner’s head. A comfortable fit will also make the difference.

The Everlast Mixed Martial Arts Sparring Glove is available in a 12, 14, and 16 ounce version. It has a thumb lock and a piece that wraps-around and closes with Velcro. The foam padding is thick and cushy.


Rough and tough sparring should always be accompanied by proper headgear. Generally, headgear will cover the top and sides of your head. But, for tougher training, the jaw and cheeks should get coverage. For particularly rough sparring you might consider more head protection. Keep in mind that adjustable headgear will allow you to adapt to most circumstances.

The Everlast Everfresh is a good entry-level but reliable headgear that offers protection without obstructing peripheral vision.  How much vision your headgear obstructs should be a consideration given when shopping for headgear.  The Venum Elite headgear is a little bit more on the expensive side and is meant for people who want to do some hard sparring.


The mouth guard is very important and should not be compromised at any cost. If you think otherwise, try sparring without one for a while and when you chip or break a tooth you may decide otherwise. Better yet, speak with another who has dislocated their jaw for the same reason and reconsider.  The best option is to get a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. Otherwise, it is better to spend the money if you can.

A modestly priced mouthguard with good value and available online is the Shock Doctor GelMax Flavor Fusion Mouth Guard.

Shinguards/Instep guards

You may have noticed what can happen when the shin is used to block a kick. Thank goodness for shinguards. They will protect your shins from the heavy kicking that goes on in MMA. Some cover both the shin and the calf, the back of the leg. Others only cover the shin, usually the Muay Thai shin guards just cover the shin. They are typically lighter weight and less of an encumbrance, but surprisingly the Muay Thai version is usually more expensive. This is based on brand name.  Covering the shin and the top part of the foot is important for protection. Equally important is comfort.

Shinguards that are also lightweight with moisture wicking technology are available from RDX, the RDX Shin Instep Pads Brace Guard Support Protection.

Additional Equipment

Although the more important training equipment may have been mentioned there are several additional items that are worth consideration. MMA rashguards are made to keep you cool, distinct from the surfer rash wear which traps heat. Not only do you want to minimize the loose fabric your opponent can grab, you want to stay cool and maximize bodily protection.

Once you begin moving forward with MMA training additional equipment will become more important. Focus mitts are great for training in striking and building reflexes, incredibly portable, and many are modestly priced. Ringside Super Guard Panther Punch Mitts are available online and are in the mid-price range.

The grappling dummy and Thai kicking pads are useful equipment additions for working on your ground grappling and kicking respectively. Venum, Everlast, Combat and Contender are just a few of the many MMA equipment manufacturers available.

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