MMA also known as Mixed Martial Arts, as the name says is a mixture of different fighting styles. How about starting MMA as an older person?
In short, it depends a lot on your goals whether you are too old to start MMA or not. If you want to begin MMA as a hobby, you probably are not too old for MMA. On the other hand, age might be one factor to consider if you want to become a UFC fighter.
In this post, we will dive deeper into the topic of starting MMA as an older person, things to know, and some statistics of typical professional MMA fighters. Let’s get started!
Are you too old to start training MMA?
As mentioned earlier, age is only a factor if you wish to become a professional fighter. There is no age limit if you wish to start MMA as a hobby.
On the other hand, MMA is a violent sport. It is a martial art. Therefore, you should be able to take punches and give them. Roll on the mat, without breaking a few bones while at it.
If you can confidently say, that you are not going to die, if someone punches you while you are training MMA, you probably are not too old. In the end, it is based on your own judgment.
Another way to tell whether you are too old is if you can do a forward roll, without any issues. If you can do that, you probably are not too old.
If you are going to start MMA as an older person, train accordingly. There is no point risking your health over one MMA class. Take things easy and slow, according to your health.
There is no rule, that you are too old to start MMA if you are 50 or 60 years old. Everybody is different, some people might be in amazing shape even if they are 70, while others could not take MMA in their 50s.
Are you too old to start MMA as a professional
So, are you too old to become a UFC fighter? Typically, UFC fighters’ ages vary between 25 and 40 years. It also takes a long time to learn MMA before entering UFC, usually between 5 to 10 years.
The average age of ranked UFC fighters is around 31 years old, while the most common age is 32 years. (Source)
Therefore, the “ideal” age to start MMA if you want to become a professional, is in your early twenties, or even as soon as you turn 18.
However, there are professional fighters who are well beyond 40. Therefore, if you are 30, you still have time to become professional.
The only downside is that your career will probably be shorter. Since it takes time to actually become so good that you can be a professional, if you retire at the age of 40 from fighting, that does not leave too many years of professional fighting.
In the end, it all depends on your physical abilities and skills, if you are too old to become a professional fighter.
If you started your MMA training at the age of 18 or 20, trained for let’s say 7 to 8 years, and became a professional, you could easily have a 10-year fighting career ahead of you, while continuing to progress in your training.
Therefore, the people who start younger have the advantage, to be able to train longer while continuing their careers.
In conclusion, I would say starting before the age of 25 is ideal. Starting after you turn 30 to become professional could be too old if you have no prior experience in fighting.
If you are determined enough, you could become a professional starting at the age of 35. But statistically speaking, that is unlikely, and there are not many cases like that.
Why you should start MMA as an older person
MMA has a lot of benefits, but it comes with risks. Being active as you age can keep you healthier for longer.
Even though I am not a doctor, I can confidently tell that being active and having hobbies, while you age, will have benefits.
It doesn’t take a physicist to tell that water is wet. It comes without saying. MMA is a really fun and rewarding way to stay active as you age.
It comes with mental benefits as well. It can make you more confident and helps you to be able to defend yourself if that ever becomes necessary.
Bad eyesight is not an issue when training MMA. More about things to know if you have bad eyesight and you wish to start MMA in this post.
Things to know when starting MMA as an older person
There are some things to know when training MMA as an older person.
First of all, MMA is a martial art, it is a violent sport, and it comes with a higher risk of injury, compared to badminton, for example.
That means if your body can not handle the pressure MMA puts, on it, it might have more risks than benefits.
On the other hand, if you can handle it, you could stay in better shape and condition for longer. Your body could adapt to the pressure, and develop due to it.
You can lower the risks of MMA by taking things slow and tapping out rather too early than too late. Your fellow MMA practitioners will probably notice if you are older and take things easier. If not, be sure to let them know to take things slow.
Your MMA gym choice can also matter whether your training is too much for your body. Some gyms are more competitive than others. Try to find a gym according to your needs. I have a post on how to choose a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gym, the same principles can be applied when choosing an MMA gym. Check the post here.
Problems that come if you start MMA as an older person
There are some problems that come up when you train MMA as an older person as well.
First of all, the competitions. If you start MMA at an older age, the competitions might be more difficult, as you get matched according to your weight, not by age. (Unless your tournament has divisions according to age as well)
The second is that it takes longer to heal if you get injured. It might even mean the end of your MMA career if you get injured badly. Breaking a bone in your twenties can be a lot different, than breaking a bone in your sixties.
Keep those things in mind when training.
One alternative to MMA is to train Brazilian jiu-jitsu instead. It could be considered safer, since it only focuses on ground fighting, and does not include punches and kicks. More about starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu at an older age in this post.
In summary: You probably are not too old to start MMA as a hobby. It all depends on your physical condition, age is not the factor here.
However, if you want to become a professional fighter, such as a UFC fighter, age might be a bigger factor. In UFC, the typical fighter is around 30 years old, with a lot of training experience. Therefore, the ideal age to start training for UFC is in the early twenties or sooner.
Hopefully this was helpful to you, more MMA-related posts can be found here.
Have a wonderful day!