Of all of the techniques used in mixed martial arts competition there is one that is truly unique to the sport of MMA and that is “ground and pound”. Granted ground and pound, or GNP as it will be referred to throughout this piece, is not a singular technique per say but it is one of the few techniques utilized in the sport of MMA that was created within the sport itself.

Much like the sport of MMA, GNP is artful violence. While it may not be as precise as traditional striking or as technical as submission grappling, GNP has a beauty all its own and it can be executed from every dominant position on the ground.

What is ground and pound?

Simply put, GNP is taking an opponent down and pounding them with strikes.

While it sounds like an overly simplistic technique there is much more to effective GNP than most realize. There are four main components involved in GNP: 1) Takedown 2) Position 3) Posture 4) Strikes.


Without a takedown there is no GNP. The takedown can truly make or break good GNP; if executed sloppily a takedown opens up a fighter to reversals and scrambles. Being able to control an opponent is the cornerstone of GNP and it all starts with the takedown. Sometimes the takedown can be executed by the pounders opponent, but because of poor technique, fatigue, or both they end up getting stuffed, reversed, and/or swept.

There are a myriad of takedown techniques that can be used but the most effective has to be the double leg takedown from freestyle or folkstyle wrestling. The double leg is a powerful wrestling shot that dumps opponents directly to their back while placing the offensive fighter in a dominant and controlling top position.


Now that a fighter has taken their opponent down they need to establish the position in which they want to reign down strikes from. Every fighter is a little bit different when it comes to which position they want to utilize because each position offers different advantages and disadvantages.

The guard can be used by longer limbed fighters because of the amount of distance strikes must travel to connect but it is difficult to control an opponent’s arms from the guard and it leaves a fighter susceptible to submission attempts. Unless a fighter can stack their opponent against the cage the guard is the least advantageous GNP position to work from.

The half guard on the other hand is the position in which most fighters feel like they have the most control over their opponents. By staying in half guard a fighter can control their opponent’s hips making reversals and scrambles more difficult. At the same time though it only allow a fighter to attack an opponent from one direction.

Now the mount, side control and the turtle position are all position where a fighter is sacrificing a little bit of control for maximum damage. All three positions increase the opportunity for an opponent to scramble or reverse position but fighters have a more wide range of striking techniques at their disposal and have the largest range of motion to deliver maximum force.

The best position for GNP though has to be the back mount. From here an opponent is essentially defenseless and they cannot see where the strikes are coming from.


Once a fighter has taken an opponent down and established position they must now establish their posture; the exact body position in which they want to attack from. When most people think about posture they are thinking about sitting nice and straight but in the context of GNP posturing is how a fighter creates distance for striking.


This is where the magic of GNP happens. Now that the fighter has their opponent down, they have gotten into their preferred position and they has established their posture they can begin to batter and bloody their opponent.

Punches, hammer fists and elbows to the head have always been popular methods but as of late many more fighters are going to the body during GNP and it is glorious. Knees to the body from side control or the turtle position are devastating to the opposition while punches and elbows to the body are great for softening an opponent up in order to create openings for finishing strikes for a submission.

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.