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Step into the cage with the lingo that’ll make you a Mixed Martial Arts warrior in conversation!

Are you game to grapple with the glossary that gets the MMA crowd roaring?

From slick submissions to knockout knowledge, these 30 terms will arm you for verbal victory.

Ready to rumble with words? Let’s throw down.

Must-Know Mixed Martial Arts Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. Armbar
  2. Clinch
  3. Ground and pound
  4. Guard
  5. Heel hook
  6. Kimura
  7. Leg kick
  8. Mount
  9. No-contest
  10. Octagon
  11. Rear naked choke
  12. Submission
  13. Takedown
  14. Tap out
  15. Triangle choke
  16. Underhook
  17. Walkout
  18. Welterweight
  19. Featherweight
  20. GnP
  21. Jab
  22. Cross
  23. Overhand right
  24. Sprawl
  25. Striking
  26. Suplex
  27. TKO
  28. Vale tudo
  29. Weight cut
  30. Cage control

#1 Armbar

A submission maneuver where one fighter immobilizes their opponent’s arm between their legs and applies pressure to the elbow joint, often forcing them to submit. It is a staple technique in both MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

#2 Clinch

A close-range grappling position where fighters hold each other, typically to deliver short strikes or attempt takedowns. The clinch is used to control an opponent when both fighters are standing up.

#3 Ground and Pound

A strategy where a fighter takes their opponent to the ground, secures a dominant position, and unleashes a series of strikes. Ground and pound is a mix of grappling and striking, which can lead to a knockout or referee stoppage.

#4 Guard

A defensive position on the ground in which the fighter on their back uses their legs to control their opponent. It allows various offensive moves like submissions or a reversal to a more dominant position.

#5 Heel Hook

A dangerous leg lock submission targeting the knee, where the attacker uses their legs to entrap their opponent’s leg and twist the heel. It puts severe torque on the knee and ankle joints.

#6 Kimura

A shoulder lock submission named after Japanese judoka Masahiko Kimura which involves isolating an opponent’s arm and applying pressure to the upper arm, causing pain to the shoulder joint. It is both a control position and a submission.

#7 Leg Kick

A leg kick in MMA is a strike delivered with the lower leg (shin) to the opponent’s thigh or calf. It is used to damage the opponent’s leg, impair mobility, and potentially lower their guard, making them susceptible to further attacks.

#8 Mount

The mount is a dominant grappling position where one fighter sits astride the torso of their grounded opponent, facing them. From the mount, the top fighter can deliver strikes or attempt submissions while the bottom fighter is significantly limited in their offensive capabilities.

#9 No-Contest

An MMA fight outcome where the match is deemed null and void due to an accidental violation or injury. No winner is declared, and the fight typically does not affect the fighters’ records.

#10 Octagon

The eight-sided cage that is the trademark feature of the UFC, where MMA fights commonly take place. Its design allows for a variety of fighting techniques while keeping the action contained.

#11 Rear Naked Choke

A chokehold applied from behind an opponent, where the aggressor’s arm encircles the opponent’s neck without the use of the gi. It’s a common submission technique aimed to cut off blood flow to the brain.

#12 Submission

A move that forces an opponent to surrender due to a hold or lock that causes pain or threatens injury. Submissions can involve joints or chokeholds and are a fundamental aspect of MMA strategy.

#13 Takedown

A technique used to bring an opponent to the ground typically involving a combination of wrestling and grappling maneuvers. Takedowns are a key component of MMA, leading to ground fighting and submission opportunities.

#14 Tap Out

A submission signal where a fighter physically taps the opponent or the mat, or uses a verbal indication to concede the fight. It’s a safety measure that communicates an inability to continue.

#15 Triangle Choke

A triangle choke is a submission technique executed from a position where the attacker is typically on their back. It involves wrapping the legs around the opponent’s neck and one arm in a configuration that resembles a triangle.

#16 Underhook

An underhook refers to a grappling maneuver where one fighter places their arm under the opponent’s arm and secures it at the back, allowing control over the opponent’s body. This position can be used to manipulate the opponent’s movement, set up takedowns, or prevent their offensive actions.

#17 Walkout

The moment when a fighter makes their entrance to the fighting arena, often accompanied by music of their choice, it sets the tone for their presence and can be a psychological tactic against their opponent.

#18 Welterweight

A weight class in Mixed Martial Arts where fighters typically weigh between 156 to 170 pounds (71 to 77 kg). It’s known for featuring athletes with a balance of speed, power, and technical skill.

#19 Featherweight

A lighter weight class where competitors usually weigh up to 145 pounds (66 kg). Fighters in this category are often admired for their quickness and agility.

#20 GnP

Short for “Ground and Pound,” a tactic where a fighter takes their opponent to the ground, achieves a dominant position, and then throws a series of strikes. It’s an effective way to damage an opponent or force a referee stoppage.

#21 Jab

A basic, quick, straight punch using the lead hand. It is fundamental in setting up combinations and keeping an opponent at distance while gauging their reactions.

#22 Cross

A power punch thrown with the rear hand, often as a follow-up to a jab. The cross is aimed to travel straight towards the target with the intent of causing significant impact.

#23 Overhand right

A punch thrown usually by a right-handed fighter, looping the arm over the opponent’s lead hand and dropping the punch over the top, often targeting the side of the head or chin.

#24 Sprawl

A defensive maneuver used to prevent a takedown by spreading the legs back and out while thrusting the hips down. This technique prevents an opponent from securing a hold around the legs or waist for a takedown.

#25 Striking

Refers to the use of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows to inflict damage upon an opponent. Striking is a fundamental component of stand-up fighting and requires precision, power, and timing for effectiveness in a match.

#26 Suplex

A powerful throw originating from wrestling, where a fighter lifts their opponent off their feet and slams them onto their back. It is a crowd-pleasing move that can lead to a dominant position or even end a fight.

#27 TKO

Short for “technical knockout,” it occurs when a fighter is unable to continue, often due to strikes, but without being completely unconscious. Referees stop the fight to protect the injured fighter, resulting in a victory for their opponent.

#28 Vale tudo

Portuguese for “anything goes,” it refers to a no-holds-barred combat sport with minimal rules that predates modern MMA. Originating in Brazil, it allowed a wide range of fighting techniques, leading to the development of modern mixed martial arts.

#29 Weight cut

A weight cut in MMA refers to the rapid weight loss process fighters undergo to qualify for a specific weight class before a bout. This often involves dehydration and dieting to meet the weight limit at the official weigh-in, followed by a rehydration period before the fight to regain strength.

#30 Cage control

Cage control describes a fighter’s ability to dictate the positioning and movement of the fight within the cage. This includes using the cage to trap the opponent, controlling the center of the octagon to dominate the striking range, or pushing the opponent against the cage to limit their mobility and execute techniques like takedowns or strikes.


What are some Mixed Martial Arts terms for beginners?

“Armbar,” “Clinch,” and “Takedown” are some Mixed Martial Arts terms beginners should start with. These cover techniques for submissions, close-range control, and changing the fight to ground fighting.

What are some funny Mixed Martial Arts terms?

“Heel hook” and “Rear naked choke” are some funny Mixed Martial Arts terms. Despite their serious application in combat, the phrasing can elicit a chuckle due to their suggestive nature.

What is a famous Mixed Martial Arts phrase?

“Tap out,” is a famous Mixed Martial Arts phrase, indicating a fighter is submitting to an opponent, usually to avoid injury from a submission hold, and is a term widely understood even outside the sport.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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