What Is The Difference Between UFC vs. MMA?

MMA Hive is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more ›.

If you are new to mixed martial arts, it’s common to be confused about the differences between UFC vs. MMA—let’s clear things up.

UFC is the most popular promotion of mixed martial arts (MMA). MMA is a type of combat sport that involves a fight between two combatants using a variety of martial arts techniques to win.

In this article, I’ll clear up any further niggling doubts you might have. Let’s go!

What does UFC stand for?

UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It’s the most well-known mixed martial arts promotion, but it is just one of many across the world.

This promotion is probably credited with the major popularization of mixed martial arts globally, especially when they acquired other similar promotions like Pride FC during their growth.

The UFC began in 1993 with UFC 1, where the original intention was to create an ‘ultimate tournament’ of facing off the greatest fighters in the world inside a cage fight, regardless of weight, size, or martial art.

The UFC was founded by Bob Meyrowitz, Art Davie, and Rorion Gracie, a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Grandmaster.

As the organization set foot for the public, other co-founders joined the group, such as John Milius. John came up with the idea of making the UFC ring octagon-shaped and defining the term “the octagon.”

Dana White
Andrius Petrucenia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since 2001, Dana White has been president of the UFC and represented it, successfully growing it into one of the most profitable combat sports promotions in the world.

In recent times, the UFC benefited from specified weight classes between men and women, top-class refereeing, and incredible production value.

Most common UFC fighters

You’ve probably heard of some of the most common names from combat sports, most of which come from the UFC’s success.

These names are some of the most famous UFC fighters:

  • Conor McGregor
  • Jon Jones
  • Georges St-Pierre
  • Daniel Cormier
  • Nate Diaz

Is the UFC real?

The UFC, like most mixed martial arts, is real cage fighting. Two fighters enter the cage and beat each other up for three of five rounds to find a winner by decision, submission, or knockout.

What does MMA stand for?

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts.

Mixed martial arts is a unique combat sport that involves using multiple techniques and disciplines simultaneously from almost any other martial art (barring any illegal moves).

MMA fighter kicking opponent to the body
Maza Fight Gallery, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

MMA pulls from these martial arts most commonly:

  • Boxing
  • Kickboxing & Muay Thai
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Sambo
  • Wrestling

Enthusiasts of the combat sport can learn mixed martial arts at a local fight gym, where many are becoming more adaptive to the popularity of MMA and offering both striking and grappling training options.

The origins of MMA go as far back as the Ancient Olympics with the Colosseum bloodsport of Pankration and, slightly more recently, Leitai which was founded in 1928 by Central Kuoshu Academy.

Vale Tudo is another historic combat sport that has similar rules to modern mixed martial arts.

Is UFC or MMA more dangerous?

UFC and MMA are essentially the same thing, as the UFC is a promotion in the combat sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Pedro Munhoz at the UFC weigh in
MAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though there are probably more strict rules inside the UFC’s matchups and weight classes that makes it somewhat safer than many other MMA promotions.

A lot of MMA promotions might still allow dangerous attacks like the soccer kick or knees to the head of a downed opponent, plus generally a lack of refereeing expertise in small or local events.

Is UFC the same as MMA or kickboxing?

The UFC is an MMA fighting promotion. It involves kickboxing, but it isn’t exclusively this single martial art as it also can involve boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, and many more.

Is the UFC the best MMA promotion?

Many consider the UFC to be the peak of mixed martial arts competition, especially in the United States.

In the USA, the main competitors are the PFL and Bellator—although the PFL has now bought the Bellator promotion to become an even bigger competitor.

There’s also ONE Championship, which is technically the MMA promotion with the biggest international viewership.

Leave a Comment