MMA Punching Techniques: How To Punch Like A Mixed Martial Artist

MMA punching techniques in the old days (I’m talking a decade ago, so it’s not really that old, mind you) were very similar to bare knuckle punching techniques. Or, I should say, the punching techniques used by successful MMA fighters were…

I say that because there were a lot of unsuccessful MMA fighters who tried to use the same style of punching that boxers or kickboxers use. And this was a huge mistake. Because it’s virtually impossible to punch bare-handed in the same way you punch when you have your hands wrapped and covered by padded gloves.

So this brings me to my point: MMA punching techniques have evolved from bare-handed strikes to a new, hybrid style that works perfectly with MMA gloves.

MMA punching techniques are similar to boxer’s punches, but with some additional strikes included

All the basic boxing punching techniques are included in the MMA repertoire. If you can find it in boxing, odds are it’s in common use during MMA matches too.

But in addition to these boxing punches, there are other strikes used by MMA fighters that you’ll never find in a boxing ring.

These are not exactly classified as punches, but they’re striking techniques that involve the hand and/or fist, so it can’t hurt to list them here.

  • Hammer fists use the fist, but you strike with the base of the palm instead of with the knuckles. Basically, you’re turning your fist into a hammer.
  • Backfist strikes use the knuckles, but they use the back of the fist instead of the full knuckles. This move used to be legal in boxing, back towards the turn of the 20th century, but it has since been made illegal because it causes cuts. It is still legal in Muay Thai (kickboxing popular in Thailand and some other areas).
  • Open hand strikes usually use the palm heel. This is illegal in boxing, but still seen in MMA. It is falling out of favor in MMA because it has less range than a regular punch, and because it carries with it the risk of eye-gouges.

Those are the most common MMA punching techniques that are used regularly during matches.