The 19 Best MMA Gyms In Chicago, Illinois

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If you’re looking to get started in the wonderous mixed martial arts lifestyle, or you need a new one to level up your game, finding the right MMA gym can be a painstaking task.

In this article, I’m going to list out the very best MMA gyms in Chicago, Illinois, so you can stop wasting any time, pick a gym, and get straight to learning how to fight!

Chicago MMA

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.9/5

One of Chicago MMA’s most prominent names is Brain Gassaway, who has fought amongst various promotions. He even once reached the UFC at UFC 54 in a fight against Diego Sanchez, but he lost due to TKO.

Chicago MMA has also had other significant names passing through its doors, such as UFC’s Matt Hughes, to provide training seminars to their fighters:

At Chicago MMA, they teach Muay Thai in partnership with Team Sityodtong, which originated out of Thailand and has USA headquarters in Boston and the Ralph Gracie system of BJJ.

This gym is a great place to learn Muay Thai mixed with MMA fundamentals of ground fighting to get a great overall base for MMA.

Mission MMA & Fitness

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.8/5

Mission MMA is a gym environment that focuses on making better, fitter people. They offer a diverse range of classes, including Muay Thai, Kickboxing (Dutch style), and BJJ.

They also have classes for kids and movement & mobility-focused classes led by movement coach Jeremy Liban. Not enough gyms focus on creating strength in different movement patterns to keep healthy joints, freedom of movement in any situation, and free of injury.

The gym setting is of a very high standard with modern padded floors and walls, suitable for both striking and ground fighting, and an array of equipment in pads, heavy bags, weight racks, and barbels to go with them.

It’s undoubtedly an excellent destination to add to your training list with UFC-quality folks like Anthony Smith walking through their doors to train.

This gym focuses a lot on improving the fitness of its students with a range of classes specifically targeted for it, offering month-long boot camps to get in shape. So if that’s what you’re looking for, try this gym out!

TDC MMA + Fitness

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.9/5

TDC MMA + fitness is an MMA-orientated gym with a heavy focus on BJJ. This gym was founded by Dino Costeas, who was trained under Rickson Gracie for his BJJ black belt.

Dino is also a proficient striker in Muay Thai style with ten years of experience.

The Muay Thai classes are led by Matt Johnson, a Muay Thai striker who studied under Trirata Earmsmuth and Kaensak Sor Ploenjit to craft his Thai style and is previously a black belt in Taekwondo.

TDC MMA’s schedule focuses heavily on ground fighting with BJJ, as this is the founder’s focus and other coaches on the team, such as Joon Oh and “J Man.” But there is still an opportunity for learning Muay Thai fundamentals, MMA striking, and even sparring for the aspiring fighter.

If you want to focus on building your strength and conditioning, too, then this gym has two strength classes per day with entire weight racks and barbells especially for it. It makes the value of this gym much higher than having to have two separate gym memberships just for fitness.

The space is open, airy, and of good quality, with a strong coaching team to support your growth.

Renzo Gracie Chicago

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Renzo Gracie Chicago is a BJJ-focused gym that commits to helping its members build confidence, learn new skills and make new friends.

Renzo’s gym teaches the methods of The Gracie Family, which are today’s descendants of the original pioneers of BJJ, Renzo Gracie being one of them.

This gym offers classes throughout every day of the week for adults, kids, and advanced study.

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What’s particularly interesting about this gym is that its founder, Renzo Gracie, was also an MMA fighter who had over 20 fights in his career in promotions like Pride, K-1, One Championship, and even one bout in the UFC against Matt Hughes.

And Renzo’s understudy, Christian Uflacker, had five undefeated professional MMA fights in promotions like Bellator and Strikeforce. Uflacker also runs his BJJ gym, also on this list!

Sam Colonna Boxing, MMA & Fitness

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.6/5

Sam Colonna Boxing gym is primarily a boxing gym founded by – you guessed it – head coach Sam Colonna.

Sam Colonna has coached and cornered fighters for over 30 years, having cornered several world champions, including Angel Manfredy, Andrew Golota, Vaughn Bean, and Angel Hernandez, among many other amateur fighters.

Suppose one of your primary focuses is to learn the beautiful art of Boxing from the best available. In that case, you probably can’t too far wrong training under Sam. His training methods have been around for almost entire generations, with papers reporting his coaching triumphs as far back as 1989.

Sam isn’t the only coach at the gym, as Rita “La Guera” Figueroa also coaches young talent to create Chicago’s next generation of Boxing talent.

Despite the name of this gym, including MMA, their schedule is still predominantly Boxing focused. They allow for other forms of martial arts, including Muay Thai and MMA, to be practiced during their open hours on Saturdays.

Hybrid Martial Arts & Fitness

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.6/5

Hybrid Martial Arts is one of the old-school-looking MMA gyms on this list that combines all aspects of fighting and embraces them under one roof.

Inside this gym, you’ll find coaches with significant experience (10+ years) in different arts like Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, Wrestling, BJJ, and even the entertainment sport of Pro Wrestling.

It’s a strong coaching staff on-site here, with classes running six days per week of all the variety of styles mentioned above. There is something for you here, no matter which martial art you want to focus on.

If you want to focus solely on MMA or Muay Thai, you can do that with the gym’s head coach Josh Bulak. Or Wrestling with Mike Defriso, or even BJJ with Alfonso Dematteo. And Antonio Canas brings over 20 years of experience as a Boxing coach and Pro with a 10-2 record.

Whichever art you want to specialize in, there’s something for you at Hybrid, and you can always pick one place to start and then continue to expand your skills in different classes.

Titan Gym

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.9/5

Titan Gym is one of the rarities on this list. It primarily teaches self-defense martial arts, particularly Krav Maga.

Krav Maga is the military-grade self-defense form developed for the Israel Defense Forces. It was created by mixing the most efficient parts of many martial arts such as Boxing, Wrestling, Aikido, and others.

If you have a strong interest in learning Krav Maga or defending yourself on the streets, then this is an excellent option for you.

But they’re not just a Krav Maga gym as they also present a few other lesser-known martial arts like Savate Boxe (fencing with the hands), Kali (Filipino sword-fighting), and Jeet Kune Do (the art form developed by Bruce Lee).

There are also Muay Thai and No-Gi BJJ classes if you’re looking for the most MMA-relevant training. But on the whole, this is a Krav Maga and fitness-focused gym that is very friendly and open to kids and women who want to learn self-defense.

Warrior Evolution MMA

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Warrior Evolution MMA is located on the south loop of Chicago, where they teach an MMA-focused training method inspired by Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do.

They have several classes throughout the week, all heavily focused on MMA. That means all the striking and grappling combined in a Bruce Lee style to advance yourself as a mixed martial artist.

This is an excellent option for those that want to learn all the skills together for MMA. While sometimes it can be most beneficial to learn martial arts separately (and then bring them together later), it is refreshing to have an entirely MMA-focused gym to go to.

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The gym even has its own belt system for MMA training, like BJJ. So you can earn your 11 stripes for each belt to advance to the next colored belt. It’s an excellent addition to understanding your progress and testing yourself.

EKF Martial Arts

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.7/5

EKF Martial Arts is a more traditional gym that combines modern fight martial arts and historic forms like Sanshou (a martial art developed by the Chinese military) and Wushu (an artistic form of Kung-Fu, though some would debate that!).

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But their schedule doesn’t just focus on these, as there are plenty of classes available to learn modern forms of martial arts with Muay Thai, BJJ, and Boxing.

This gym even has its own MMA cage, custom-crafted by Century Kickboxing. These are pretty rare inside any gyms you’ll go to because they cost a pretty penny to set up and maintain, so it’s a real plus for this gym!

Not only that, but this gym was founded by Anthony Marquez. He has been dominating in competitions since 1989 in Karate and Wushu forms.

Amazingly, Master Marquez has also been digitally imprinted in the legacy books of video games. He played and provided character modeling for the Kung Lao character in several Mortal Kombat games.

The man is something of a legend of modern martial arts, and I, for one, would jump at the chance to train with him.

Northside Boxing and MMA Chicago

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.8/5

Northside Boxing and MMA is a gym that tries to make a comfortable and non-threatening experience for anyone to walk in the door and learn the art of Boxing.

Northside’s schedule focuses mainly on the development of striking (rather than MMA, which usually includes ground fighting) with regular Boxing classes for men, women, and youth. They also have a couple of Muay Thai classes per week – but it’s explicit about a primary focus on Boxing here.

Though, that can’t ever be a bad thing. Securing some serious fundamentals in Boxing is necessary to progress in mixed martial arts. Unless, of course, you’re Ben Askren.

Vianna Brothers

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.8/5

Vianna Brothers began in 2004 as a joint-venture between the two black-belt brothers, Daniel & Pedro Vianna. Sadly, Pedro is no longer with us. Still, the name lives on through the direct instruction of Daniel Vianna and the gym’s additional black-belt instructors.

Daniel Vianna obtained his black belt under the instruction of Carlson Gracie Jr. and Marcelo Alonso. Another one of the Gracie-polished fighters on this list.

If you want to engross yourself into the Brazilian ground fighting art of Jiu-Jitsu, then you can’t go too far wrong here. This gym with black-belts across the room through instructors and advanced students.

Chicago Fitness Center

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.8/5

Chicago Fitness Center is primarily a high-grade functional strength gym. It has all the iron you’ll need to become the best version of yourself, and alongside, you can choose to train in a combination of mixed martial arts.

This gym has Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, and most interestingly, Shidokan.

Shidokan is translated as “The group that lives in the way of the Samurai” and brings together a mixture of Karate, Kickboxing, and Grappling fundamentals to form an influential mixed martial art’ style that has been used to train police units in Chicago.

The Shidokan methods are also adapted for fighting in the octagon by Shihan Eddie, the lead coach of this method.

Back on the fitness aspect, the gym has HIIT, cardio, and the whole gym playground at your disposal to improve your conditioning and reach your optimum.

POW! Gym Chicago

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

POW! Gym Chicago is a fitness-oriented gym suitable for adults, women, and youth with various programs available.

This gym has Boxing, Muay Thai, and self-defense orientated classes with a rich set of equipment for each, including freestanding punching bags and training dummies. It’s well equipped and an excellent place for beginners to learn fundamentals in a welcoming environment.

They also have a unique Parsisi Speed program, which focuses on building maximum endurance and speed, including athlete testing, running analysis, and a functional movement screen. It uses a mixture of sprints, weight pulls/pushes, resistance bands, medicine balls, plyometrics, and even Yoga.

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If you’re a lady or looking for somewhere for your children to learn fitness and skills that are good for their confidence, this is a great gym.

Chicago Muay Thai Kickboxing Club

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.7/5

Chicago Muay Thai Kickboxing Club is a classic Muay Thai/Kickboxing style gym. It’s an ideal place to focus on learning the art of eight limbs; Muay Thai.

Many of the classes on offer here cover Muay Thai and some on Dutch-style Kickboxing to complement the variety of striking.

This gym alone has produced over 17 National Championship Belts since 2019, so if you were to choose this location, then you know you’ll be in good hands.

If you’re ready to put in the sweat and tears to learn all there is in the beautiful art of Muay Thai, you can’t find much better than this. It’s the kind of place where you’ll walk out every session having learned something new.

The quality on offer from the instructors is high and from those that have competed professionally and won belts. Those that have done it and got the belt to show for it! These can be some of the best kinds of people to learn from.

Chicago Thai Boxing Academy

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.6/5

Chicago Thai Boxing Academy is a unique location as it focuses solely on Muay Thai. There’s no doubt that the “art of the eight limbs” is one of the most effective striking systems on the planet, and a dedicated gym like this wouldn’t be the wrong place to set up.

They pride themselves on making great Muay Thai students who embody the teachings deeply in this gym.

As this is a dedicated Muay Thai gym, their schedule includes a variety of classes for different age groups and different levels of experience. So when you’re just learning the basics, and when you want to start punching others in the face, there’s a separate class for each.

Chicago Muay Thai Aiki Training Hall

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

The Chicago Muay Thai Aiki Training Hall has a history going back decades at this point. Its founder, Rick Sollo, trained in Thailand every year since the late 80s and early 90s.

Rick’s continued to teach and coach fighters ever since. The Aiki Training Hall has many locations, though it now has a permanent home in Chicago.

Something unique about this gym is that they are a United States Muay Thai Federation (USMF) gym. They are one of five USMF gyms in the entire state of Illinois. Being part of the USMF means they and their fighters participate in Muay Thai events around the country.

So, if you’re looking to prove yourself in competition, then siding with a USMF member like this gym could be a great place to learn how to prepare for competition at the roots.

Valko Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Valko BJJ is BJJ academy ran by Jay Valko. Here you can learn from Jay and his other black-belt students to become a Jitsu master yourself.

It is predominantly a BJJ gym, but there is the occasional Boxing class. Several of the instructors have even competed in Boxing and MMA competitions.

Southside Knockout Training

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4.0/5

Southside Knockout Training is a boot camp-style gym that focuses on helping members get fit and drop excess weight.

They use Boxing to burn calories, and they run these classes many times a day.

The members here are typically 40 years+ and looking to make new friends and turn their fitness around. You might not learn the ultimate Boxing skills here, but you will get a great workout.

Uflacker Academy BJJ Chicago

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5

Uflacker Academy BJJ Chicago is founded and run by Christian Uflacker and acts as something of a sister-gym to Renzo Gracie’s BJJ center in which Uflacker is also a teacher and understudy.

Uflacker is a respected black belt and teacher of the Gracie methods and has even been a successful MMA fighter.

The gym runs classes 7 days a week for kids of all age groups and adults in their fundamentals program and advanced training.

Training with Uflacker at this gym could be a top choice for you if the location works and you are committed to earning your way up the belt ranks.

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