If you want to be a full-fledged MMA practitioner, you’ll need to establish a good base.
One of the best choices for grappling that gives you an edge in ground offense and defense is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ. However, you shouldn’t count out Judo just yet.
At first glance, BJJ and Judo look similar, but these are two completely different martial arts. You might be interested in getting one of the two.
Before we talk about which of these two grappling arts is better, let’s differentiate them from one another first to avoid any confusion.
Table of Contents
What Is Judo?
Originating in Japan, Judo is an unarmed combat sport that focuses primarily on leg trips, hip throws, and a variety of other takedowns.
In Judo, points are scored if one athlete can pin down his opponent. Alternatively, athletes can also win via submission with joint locks or chokeholds.
Judo is played specifically with a gi. Compared to other combat sports uniforms, the gi in Judo is heavier, thicker, and rougher. The gi also plays an essential role in a competition as most takedowns can be initiated by gripping the uniform.
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What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
For the most part, BJJ is similar to Judo. What’s different, though, is that while Judo emphasizes takedowns, BJJ focuses more on submissions.
As a sport, Judo is more focused on points. While scoring plays a role in BJJ, most fights end when one athlete taps out due to a submission.
Apart from takedowns and submissions, positions also play an essential role in BJJ.
While Judo has been around for a lot longer than BJJ, Jiu-Jitsu has been more popular for grappling enthusiasts and martial artists in recent years. Primarily due to the increasing popularity of the UFC.
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The Key Differences Between Judo And BJJ As Your MMA Base
Judo and BJJ are considerably different from one another regarding how each sport is played. As an MMA base, both are good choices, but of course, each has its own set of pros and cons.
Perhaps the best way to understand the differences between the two is by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of using Judo and BJJ in MMA.
Advantages and Disadvantages of BJJ in MMA
- It Gives You Advantage Even On Your Back – Thanks to sweeps, submissions, and ground positions, BJJ helps you defend yourself even when you’re on your back. In MMA, ground and pound can be dangerous, but BJJ allows you to turn the tide around.
- Helps You Finish Fights In Another Way – Relying solely on knockouts is a recipe for making a one-trick pony in MMA. If you’re knowledgeable in BJJ, you have more tools in your arsenal to finish fights.
- Better Defense Against Grapplers – Wrestlers and other BJJ practitioners can be dangerous for MMA fighters that only strike. BJJ training allows you to defend yourself better against these fighters.
- Lack Of Striking In BJJ – BJJ training is purely grappling. That means you’ll need to have your own striking training if you’ll have BJJ as a base in MMA.
- Makes You Complacent Of Being On Your Back – Being able to defend yourself on your back is a double-edged sword. The downside is that you’ll be more complacent about being on your back. This opens up opportunities for your opponent to take you out with submissions or ground and pound.
- Some Techniques Aren’t Applicable In MMA – Since there’s no-gi in MMA, you can’t do some techniques in BJJ. There are sweeps, takedowns, and submissions that require the use of you or your opponent’s gi.
Advantages and Disadvantages of BJJ in MMA
- It builds up leadership skills since it uses a ranking Judo Takedowns Are Painful – Some liken being taken down by a professional judo athlete to being as painful as stepping on a foot as big as you. If you’re able to execute a good Uchimata, you can inflict a lot of damage to your opponent.
- Explosive Strength Comes With It – Explosive strength is necessary to perform judo throws. This is one of the most important strengths to build in MMA as it helps with your knocking power too.
- Makes Your Clinch Game Stronger – Clinching is a crucial part of MMA. The good news is that Judo helps with this too. Aside from proper clinching techniques, Judo also gives you the strength to better control clinch masters.
- Most karate schools don’t focus much attention on Many Techniques Don’t Apply In MMA – Unlike BJJ, Judo doesn’t have a no-gi version. That means not all of the techniques translate well to MMA.
- Takedowns Are Close-Quarters – While judo takedowns are good, they require you to get close and personal with your opponent. Wrestling takedowns can be initiated from afar, making them the safer option for takedowns.
- Throws Can Be Dangerous For You Too – Many of the throws in Judo rely on centrifugal force instead of your strength. Without proper execution, a hip throw can result in you getting toppled over. Worse, it can result in injuries as well.
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Is Judo A Good Base For MMA?
With Judo as your base, you’re getting explosive strength, a good arsenal of takedowns, and a few submissions for your MMA game.
It lacks a fluid ground game to be considered a good base for MMA as other martial arts offer a better skillset on your end.
There aren’t many successful judo fighters in MMA. However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t benefits to having a judo background for MMA. ‘
The strength you get, as well as the clinch and takedown techniques, are going to be useful for MMA.
Is BJJ A Good Base For MMA?
BJJ teaches you takedowns, submissions, ground control, and more. To put it simply, Jiu-Jitsu it’s a better base for MMA than Judo. In fact, there are a lot of successful BJJ practitioners in MMA.
Almost all UFC, ONE FC, and Bellator fighters rely on BJJ as a grappling base. Ground fighters are very dangerous.
Take Demian Maia, for instance. As one of the more successful BJJ practitioners in MMA, many fighters try to avoid getting into the ground with him. However, when he does take the fight to the floor, it’s entirely his world.
More recently, Charles Oliveira has dominated the UFC Lightweight division with his outstanding grappling.
But let’s take a look at the data. The numbers also suggest that one of the best primary styles among UFC champions is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Is Judo More Effective Than BJJ In MMA?
The answer to this question depends on where the fight is at.
Judo is the more effective martial art, thanks to the wide selection of takedowns from up close if we’re talking about standup and clinching.
The explosive strength also gives you a massive advantage over your opponent.
Once it goes to the ground, however, BJJ makes you more capable of defending yourself. While Judo does come with ground techniques or newaza, you’ll have better tools for ground fighting with BJJ.
Ground techniques are not the main focus of most Judo gyms. Also, the ruleset of the sport makes ground fighting less dynamic than BJJ for MMA.
Do MMA Fighters Use Judo?
There have been a few notable fighters that use Judo in MMA. The most famous of whom has to be Ronda Rousey.
She isn’t just a successful Judoka. She’s also known for putting women’s MMA on the map as well.
As a Judo practitioner, Rousey utilizes judo takedowns well in fights. She often finishes with a submission once she takes the fight to the ground. Another notable Judo practitioner is Karo Parisyan, one of the pioneers in the UFC.
So, Judo could also be an excellent base in MMA with some adjustments. However, Ronda and Parisyan are outliers in the sport. Wrestling and BJJ might be a better base for MMA for a larger sample of athletes.
Is Judo Or BJJ Better For Self-Defense?
For self-defense, it’s a toss-up between the two. Both Judo and BJJ make you capable of defending yourself in precarious situations on the streets.
What’s excellent about grappling arts as a form of self-defense is that you can control your opponent rather than inflict damage on them.
Remember that Judo takedowns are very dangerous to use on the streets. If you aren’t careful, you can severely injure your opponent with a takedown that causes them to land on the pavement.
read more about Judo or bjj for self-defense
Judo Or BJJ For MMA? – Final Ideas
Bottom line, BJJ is the better grappling base for MMA. It’s a more complete art as compared to Judo. It also translates better to the demands of Mixed Martial Arts.
The only advantage that Judo has over BJJ is the explosive strength you develop while training.
In BJJ, you can learn trips and takedowns to help you take the fight to the ground as quickly as some Judo throws do.
If you want more information on BJJ, Judo, and other martial arts, please explore MMAWhisperer even more! We’d appreciate your feedback as well.
What do you think is the better base for MMA? Share your thoughts below.