Are you too old for MMA training?

Are you too old for MMA training?

Is it too late for you to start MMA? To find out, keep reading or watch the video below. 

One of the most frequent questions I get in the comments and also when people inquire about training with me is:

“Am I too old to train MMA or am I too old to complete?”

I’m 19, I’m 25, 26, 32, 42…pick the age… It’s all over the place and everybody’s asking if they’re too old to start MMA. And most of it is by people who want to compete meaning mostly younger guys. For some reason they feel they’re too old to start doing MMA and they inquire about whether they can do it competitively. Can they become UFC fighters one day?

Beginner's group training in Kaizen MMA Academy - Belgrade

Can you become a UFC fighter?

I mostly have bad news for you but hear me out by reading the whole article. 

Most of you will not make it as UFC fighters and I'm not saying this to be an asshole. I'm not saying this to discourage you from training MMA. It’s just the way it is. 

I talked about it before in this video. There I explained what is the process of becoming a UFC fighter and how not many people can do that. In summary, there are so many people that start off training MMA, but very few of them actually make it to the UFC and become professionals that earn money from fighting. Or that make it to the top 10 or top 5. Very few can pull that off, and only one becomes a champion.

So from the perspective of the statistics it’s not going to be very easy for you to become an MMA fighter. Almost impossible because there are not a lot of people that can make it. It takes a lot to become an MMA fighter and I’ve discussed that in this article

As I’ve said before, I’m not saying this to discourage you. By all means, if you want to try it, go ahead and do it. But the probability of you becoming a pro fighter is very low. 

On the other hand, I’m bound to be wrong about some of you guys because some of you will become MMA fighters, some of you will become top 10 fighters and maybe even champions, but most of you won’t.

The benefits of non-competitive MMA training

Does that mean that you should not be training MMA? Not at all.

MMA has so much to offer you. Even if you’re older, even if you don't have any ambition of becoming a competitor at all, MMA can bring much joy to your life. In the future, I’m going to make a video/article purely on that subject. I’m just going to touch lightly on it now.

You get to be healthy and strong, you get to use your body more, you get to feel more confident and secure in yourself. That alone is rewarding enough for you to start doing MMA no matter how old you are.

Of course you have to take into account your talent. Let’s say you want to train MMA either recreationally or you have an ambition to become a fighter. Good.  I don't know how long it will take you. Some people are very talented.

Khalil Rountree's amazing transformation

Take for example Khalil Rountree. I was very impressed by him. I saw his interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast. I think he started Thaiboxing at 19, he was overweight, and he lost weight gradually by training Thaiboxing. He started fighting in that sport and then he transitioned into MMA. So from a guy that was 100 lb overweight and was playing music to one of the most elite fighters today. That’s amazing and there is something special about him. Not all of us are the same.

Khalil Rountree's transformation

Become the best version of yourself

I’ve had students of all ages. I’ve had people start 35, 39, 40-something, 19, 16, 15...any age you can imagine. Except little kids because I don’t coach them. 

One common thing is they all get in the best shape of their life if they continue training. If they’re regular in training. If you're not, of course nothing can help you. You cannot achieve any goal, be it fitness or a martial arts goal. 

But if you do, you are going to become the best version of yourself. And that’s my goal with my students. Either the students I train personally or online. I want them to become the best versions of themselves.  

Can I become Jon Jones? No, I cannot. I don’t have the genetics, talent, techniques, etc.... Or can you become Israel Adesanya? Probably not, but you can become the best version of yourself. And that’s all you can ask from yourself. Or at least get very close to it. 

Mid-forties guy that dominated us all in the gym

I’ll give you an example. I had a guy that started training MMA with me when he was 39. He has very exceptional genetics. Before that he was maybe doing a little bit of weight training in the gym, and he did some boxing. Being that he was very gifted physically, and regular in training, after a few years we couldn’t do anything to him at the gym. He dominated all of us.

Apart from talent, he was present at every training session. He was a very good student who asked questions. How do you do this, how do you do that? He was very attentive in training. 

With two of my students over 40. An ex-NBA player Igor Rakočević (center) and Gazmend "Ćaza" Mazreku. He is in his mid-forties and dominated us all in the academy.

When you combine all those things, you can get pretty good results too. Maybe not everybody can be like him because they don’t have the genetics for strength, endurance or talent for technique. But if you go into an MMA Academy, and you start training, you do all the things that coach tells you, you will become better. And you will become the best that you can be if you apply yourself to training.  

When I say the best version of yourself take this with a caveat. Of course you can be an even better version of yourself if you trained two or three times a day like pro fighters do which is unrealistic for most people. But if you train 3 times a week, maybe do some other exercises on those days that you don't train, you’re gonna get very very far. You can get very good at fighting.

Get into the best shape of your life with MMA training - no matter the age

I encourage you to start training MMA or any martial arts that peques your interests. Start training no matter what age you are. You think you're too old? Too old for what? In 4-years time or 5-years time you’re gonna be a monster if you keep training. If you train regularly for 6-months you will not be able to recognize yourself. Even if you haven’t trained anything in your life. 

I’ve trained people that have previously trained absolutely nothing. And I told them that they’re  going to be in the best shape of their lives after six months. They didn’t believe me but they kept on training and voila - it happened. In two years - even better, in for years - even better. So don't let your age discourage you. It’s just a number on a paper and a state of mind. That’s all age is.

Group photo in Kaizen MMA Academy - Belgrade (2017). Many of the students are over 40 and some close to 50 years old.

You do have to be reasonable about it and avoid exercises that will not do you good. Maybe you have an old injury that you need to train around. Often times it takes a sensible coach to take into account your goals, age, fitness and skill level, so do your research and find a good one in your area.

Tell me, how old are you and how long have you been training MMA? Also, have you ever experienced these thoughts that you're too old to start training MMA? Let me know in the youtube comments.

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