The Major Differences between Boxing and MMA: A Short Guide

Difference between Boxing and MMA

Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) have always been kept apart. Although they are both combat sports, they are often thought to be rather dissimilar.

Conor McGregor was in for a world of problems when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing battle, and this has brought the question back into the spotlight! What is the difference between Boxing and MMA!

It can be difficult for those unfamiliar with combat sports to discern the difference between a boxing battle and an MMA bout. This piece will walk you through the fundamental distinctions in an easy-to-understand method.

Boxing has been around for a long time. In reality, it has been around since the first human learned how to throw a punch. As far back as 3000 BC, boxing was a part of the Olympic Games, where it competed against other sports like wrestling and swimming.

Unlike other combat sports, boxing is a separate kind of fighting. Your fists are the only portion of your body that you may use to attack your opponent.

Boxing is a two-person sport in which each participant wears protective gloves to protect their fists. To put it another way, the objective of the game is to strike the other player while avoiding being struck yourself. Two boxers face off in a ring for a specified length of time, during which they will exchange blows. To determine a winner, one of the participants must be unable to continue or disqualified within the allotted time. As an alternative, if the judges consider one combatant was more dominant, the bout might be declared a winner after the time restriction has run out.

MMA means mixed martial arts. It’s a sport that incorporates a variety of martial arts, as the name implies. Competitors can employ movements from every major combat sport, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, samurai grappling, kickboxing, and Muay Thai in their fights. As a result, combat in the sport should be reduced to its most basic form.

It’s still a relatively new sport. Only in the 20th century did MMA begin to have organized competitions. In Pennsylvania, an MMA league was formed in 1980, although it was subsequently outlawed in 1983.

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) conducted its inaugural MMA event in 1993, the sport’s popularity skyrocketed.

An MMA battle is similar to a boxing match in that it is fought between two individuals for a defined length of time.

Paddled gloves are used, and the bout is held in a cage, whereas a boxing fight takes place in a ring.

This can be done through knockout, submission, or disqualification inside the time limit. After the time limit expires, if the judges score the bout and believe that one fighter was more dominant than the other, a winner might be selected.


Number of Rounds

Both sports have a different number of rounds. A boxing match can run up to 12 rounds with a minute in between rounds, each lasting three minutes.  According to this, we may expect up to 36 minutes of intense action if the fight goes the distance.

In mixed martial arts (MMA), battles are normally fought over three rounds or five rounds, depending on whether it is a title match, the main event, or anything else. Each round lasts 5 minutes, with a minute of pause in between each round of 5 minutes.



The ring in which the bouts take place is perhaps the most noticeable distinction between the two. The classic square ring is used when it comes to boxing, with the dimensions often ranging between 16 and 20 feet in length. As a result, there may be variations from one promotion to another.

Even though there may be minor variations between different promoters, the octagon is used for all of the fights in mixed martial arts. The conventional octagon is 30 feet in diameter, with a fence that is 6 feet high. It is also available in several sizes.


Glove Size

There is a significant difference in the gloves worn in mixed martial arts and boxing. Boxing makes use of larger gloves since combatants must battle for extended periods.

These larger gloves are frequently viewed as a protective precaution. Each weight category of boxing gloves has a distinct weight of boxing gloves.

A fighter’s gloves can weigh anywhere from 8oz to 14oz, depending on their weight class, weight division, and so on.

In mixed martial arts (MMA), gloves are substantially smaller due to the time fighters spend in the octagon. The normal serving size is 4 ounces. Although amateurs may wear 6oz gloves, professionals should use 8oz gloves.

There may be some variations based on the weight, but it is about 4-6 ounces per pound of body weight on average.



Boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) are controlled by regulations that are completely different. Boxing matches are supervised by the three-knockdown rule, which is applied in all divisions of the sport. This implies that if a boxer is knocked down three times during a bout, the fight will be called off.

Aside from that, when a fighter is knocked down, the 10-count rule comes into effect. If a combatant is knocked down, they must get back up on their feet unassisted within 10 seconds of being down.

In mixed martial arts (MMA), the outcome of a fight is entirely dependent on the referee’s judgment. Even though an individual fighter may be knocked down numerous times throughout a fight, the battle will continue as long as the person is still moving. In the event of numerous knockdowns, certain officials may decide to call a stop to the bout to safeguard a fighter from further injury.


Weight Categories

The weight classifications between the two are different. When it comes to boxing, the weight categories begin with light flyweight, which includes boxers who weigh 49 kg (108 pounds), and end with heavyweight, which allows a fighter to weigh in at any higher weight than the weight class before it.

The weight divisions in boxing range from 108 pounds to more than 200 pounds in some instances. Since 2015, there has been an official total of 18 weight categories that have been recognized.

Weight divisions in mixed martial arts (MMA) are comparable; however, the regulating organizations recognize a far lesser number of weight classes.

Fighting Style


Techniques of combat

The fighting technique that distinguishes MMA from boxing is the most visible distinction. Fighters in boxing are only permitted to punch, and they should only punch above the waist when doing so.

In MMA, on the other hand, nearly everything is permitted. Fighters can punch, kick, and utilize their knees and elbows to their advantage. They have the freedom to integrate wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and any other mixed martial arts techniques they see fit into their fight. However, much as in boxing, fighters are not permitted to hit below the waist.

The one exception is that fighters are not permitted to utilize their elbows in the 12-6 stance. This will result in disqualification from the competition.

Now, to the real question, which one is better! Well, we will not presume to pass any judgments here. It is a matter of personal taste. But we would be remiss if we didn’t back our puritan stance here and declare our preference for boxing. However, we have nothing against MMA, and we enjoy seeing MMA fights just as much as anyone would.

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