QUESTION: If it’s true that a pro boxer punches harder than an MMA fighter, what’s the major difference in their (punch) training?
It really depends on how you define the phrase “punch harder”.
- In terms of more FORCE OUTPUT CAPACITY, I would say boxers are about equal or 10% better than MMA fighters. Since our bodies are similar with more or less equal athletic ability. With the difference being from having more specialized-training and because people who are more naturally-built for boxing will tend to go towards boxing.
- In terms of ACTUAL FORCE OUTPUT, boxers are 10–35% better (better technique and muscle memory due to increased experience). If you’re comparing punches on a heavy bag, boxers and MMA will be about the same with a small but clear edge for boxers. Boxers are also far more efficienct which would increase the disparity over a bout’s duration.
- In terms of ACTUAL DAMAGE CAUSED, boxers are or anywhere from 25–200% better.
So why do boxers cause more damage? Because of TIMING and ANGLES. What makes a punch deadly is not only because of the force output but because you throw it at the exact time when your opponent is committing momentum into his own attack. Boxers have incredibly-refined timing that allows them to catch you at the very right moment. It’s not just about landing a clean shot on an open target (like the chin), but to land it right as your opponent’s chin is turning into his own punch…which further maximizes the impact and damage caused.
Secondly, boxers are deadly from more angles since that’s all they do. MMA fighters will tend to avoid punching or evading punches from certain angles because they don’t want to get grabbed or kicked. They also don’t have time to learn all the possible angles (as well as their nuances) because they also have to focus on all the other skillsets in MMA.
For the basic 2–3 punching angles in fighting, boxers are 10–25% more powerful than MMA fighters. But for all the other 15–20 punching angles in fighting, boxers are infinitely more powerful because MMA fighters don’t even train at those angles.
Copied from my original answer on Quora.
A great example of this is the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather fight.
Conor McGregor is arguably one of MMA’s top pound-4-pound superstars, carrying his punching power up in weight and knocking nearly everybody down or out. But when a prime Conor McGregor faced a 40-year old Mayweather with hand problems (and didn’t punch hard anymore), AND OUTWEIGHED HIM BY 15 POUNDS (or more), what happened?
Conor couldn’t even earn (the much smaller) Mayweather’s respect. Mayweather walked him down behind a simple guard taking some of his best shots for 8-9 rounds and then knocked him out in the 10th without breaking a sweat. So while I do think MMA fighters can box to some degree (they all have boxing trainers in their gym), they just aren’t competitive against boxers who spend many more hours just punching.
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I also believe the same. I don’t think MMA fighters can punch harder. They have speed and fatality, but boxers are strong enough to knock down an MMA fighter. Thanks for the answers.
Ronald Van As
With all due respect, boxers tend to punch harder due to that their gloves are heavier and have more padding compared to an MMA glove, as well as the fact that the hardest recorded punch is held my UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou.
In MMA, the skillsets required to be and stay at the top are far more demanding than in Boxing, where at least 90% of your opponents have the same martial arts background vs in MMA you’ll encounter everything from Brailian Jiu-Jistu, to Muay Thai, Karate, Kick-Boxing and an array of others just t name a few.
MMA fighters overall are more versatile and adaptable in a fighting situation. Take an MMA fighter to the ground and he will meet you there, take a boxer to the ground and he loses immediately. True, boxers are athletic, but not as athletic as MMA fighters as they don’t train for kicking or take downs or groundwork. That said one cannot compare the two as they are very different, put an MMA fighter in a boxing ring, he’ll lose, put a boxer in an mma bout, he’ll also lose. For ages we’ve basically been comparing apples to oranges, they’re the same, but also different.
Take a boxer to the ground and his friend punches you. BJJ doesn’t work in a practical situation. The most practical version of wrestling is Greco-Roman.
Vlad "Haze" V
All comes down to specialization. Much like the way that a dedicated pianist will play better than a composer who can play a bit of everything. At the end of the day neither is truly superior, both are sports: a form of entertainment. Although MMA is closer to “combat” than boxing, it still isn’t close at all. Boxers only train their hands and skills related to throwing them because that’s the rule set for their sport, MMA fighters train all forms of hand to hand fighting because their sport allows for more. Regular soldiers rarely train hand to hand because by the rules of their job, they can shoot and bomb, but even they have rules to follow while fighting, the Geneva convention. All fighters train to do their specific task (Beat someone unarmed with only your hands, beat someone unarmed by nearly any means necessary, kill your opposition without torturing them, ect). Some fight to entertain others, or make a name for themselves, or because they find joy in it, other do it because it puts food on the table. The difference between a warrior and a fighter is that a fighter fights so that others can see him and can stop fighting at any moment, a warrior cares not for recognition, a warrior can fight in more than one, not only with his body but with his mind. A fighter will use violence because he knows how, or because he was told to, a warrior doesn’t turn to violence unless it is necessary. By destroying things one does not create peace, unless what they are destroying is the cause of chaos. One can simultaneously be a fighter and a warrior, but just because you are a fighter or a soldier, does not mean you are a warrior.
Mamudu Mohamed Marah
I really learned new idea about punching.