One of the things I have always loved about MMA – an aspect that keeps the sport so fresh – is the constant evolution of the techniques utilized. Just when you think you’ve see it all, a fighter will pull off a technique that you never thought was possible in actual competition. From spinning heel kicks to flying armbars to a perfectly placed front kick, it always seems like new wrinkles are being added to the fight game.

But as exciting and spectacular as the new and unexpected can be, there is something great about seeing a fighter excel and succeed utilizing the fundamentals. When it comes to fundamentals in MMA, nothing is more important than footwork.

Footwork itself may not excite the masses or get fans out of their seats during a fight, but footwork can be the difference between being an average fighter and being a champion.

Look at fighters like Conor McGregor, TJ Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz and Demetrious Johnson; all champions – or former champions – and all with an exceptional grasp on the importance of footwork and movement.

Just think about it for a minute. Everything a fighter wants to accomplish on the feet – whether it be striking or takedowns – is predicated on taking advantage of angles and creating opportunities.

Granted there are still many fighters out there – and very successful ones at that – who still employ heavy stances, plodding footwork. But as the sport continues to evolve and mature fighters without an understanding of how angles and movement can be a difference maker will begin to be less successful.

As the technical aptitude of fighters continues to increase, it’s the fighters who understand movement and footwork who will find the most success.

Think about it this way; technique beats size but technique does not beat size and technique. If two fighters compete and are equal in terms of technical skill sets the fight’s winner will be the fighter who is either stronger, faster or the fighter who can create more opportunities.

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.