To be an effective fighter in MMA, athletes must have a varied skill set; they need to be able to strike, wrestle and grapple for submissions. It’s the one combat sport in the world where participants must be as well versed on the feet as they are on the ground.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t specialists in the world of MMA—because there are many—but the truly elite fighters have all weapons at their disposal.

One of the biggest weapons a fighter can have in MMA is an effective double leg takedown. The double leg is one of the major reasons wrestlers have transitioned so well into the sport. It is the most effective technique a fighter can employ to get an opponent to the ground.

When performed correctly a double leg takedown won’t just the fight to the ground, it will put a fighter in an advantageous top position; either half guard or side control.

The fighter that best exemplifies the importance of the double leg is former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre. Even though GSP was not an amateur wrestler, he developed one of the most explosive and effective double legs in MMA history and he used the technique to frustrate and control his opponents. The double leg played a key role in GSP’s reign of dominance.

The Setup

In amateur wrestling the setup is important but a powerful and technical double leg can cover up flawed setup techniques. In MMA, with the striking and submission element, the double leg setup is just as important as the execution.

The two must utilized setups are the juke step and the jab.

The juke step or half shot is a great setup to use when facing on opponent who utilizes kicks and knees. The juke step will make your opponent think that you are shooting in this will allow you to gauge their reaction; Do they throw a strike? Do they shoot their hips back? This should help to solidify timing and could potentially put your opponent off balance if they take the bait and throw a premature knee strike.

The jab is a straight punch with your lead hand and it is the corner stone striking technique of the fight game. While a jab is not the most powerful strike it is the most important strike because it is the tool a fighter uses to set everything else up and the double leg is no different. The jab establishes distance and draws the focus of your opponent making it easier to drop for the shot and take the fight to the ground.

The Technique

1 – The shoot step is the back bone of the double leg. It is one of the first techniques that wrestlers are taught and it is a technique that wrestlers spend their entire careers perfecting.

From a staggered stance with your dominate leg forward lower your elevation by bending your knees and keeping your back straight. Then plant your trail foot and prepare for the shot. Push off with your back foot and take a deep step, shooting your foot forward like a lunge. Drop you lead knee to the mat, rolling over your toes.

2 – Now that you have mechanics of the shot down it’s time to gauge the distance you can effectively cover with a shot. Some guys and shoot in from across the cage but for most you need to be at arm’s length; if you can tough your opponent’s shoulders you are within shooting distance.

3 – To execute the technique in competition it’s very important to pick the right attack point; too deep and you will be off balance, too shallow and you will whiff completely. The key is to have you knee hit the mat right between your opponent’s feet allowing your forward momentum to explode through the target.

4 – As your knee drops to the mat between your opponents leg drive through their body as you roll over your lead leg toes. Your shoulder should be on their belly button and your ear should be on their hip.

5 – Use your arms to wrap up the legs of your opponent pulling them straight back into your chest.

6 – Now drive through with your tail leg to push your opponent off balance and drive them to the mat. The moment your forward momentum stops the takedown has been stuffed; never stop pushing forward.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.

  • Jason Schielke

    For your next Technique Spotlight, may I sugest “The Oil Check” XD