How Important is Cardio for MMA?

In an MMA fight that goes the distance, cardiovascular endurance can play a big role for whichever fighter gets their hand raised.Many of the top MMA fighters in the world have excellent cardio to go along phenomenal technique.

Rodney-Wallace-Title-HK47Rodney Wallace is a former UFC fighter and the current Hard Knocks light heavyweight champion, and he describes cardio as being “just as important, if not more important than technique.”

“The most elite fighters already have a lot of technique,” said Wallace. “Instead, they work mostly on endurance, whether it’s muscular or cardiovascular.”

Wallace spends 18 hours per week on cardio when he’s training for a fight, and 12 hours when he’s not. Although there are hundreds of cardio exercises to use, there are certain types MMA fighters find more beneficial.

Peter Grajcar vs Roman Dubinski_021_webPeter Grajcar is a Hard Knocks fighter in the welterweight division, and he said training and sparring is one of the best ways to improve cardio.

“Lots of sparring rounds are good because it’s applicable cardio to MMA, said Grajcar.

Other cardio workouts Grajcar finds beneficial are circuit training, sprints, and jogging.In a fight that goes the distance, Grajcar said 90 percent of the time the fighter with the best cardio will win. Cardio is very important to an MMA fighter because the intensity level of a fight is so high.”

Noah Ali is a Hard Knocks fighter in the bantamweight division and he described cardio as being “extremely important because if you run out of gas, they’re beating on your face until it’s over.”

Ali said the emphasis a fighter puts on cardio varies from fighter-to-fighter.

“I personally believe the more martial arts the better. “Martial arts is the best way to get comfortable doing martial arts.”

Although Ali keeps his focus primarily on martial arts, some of the cardio workouts he recommended were running, sprinting, and riding a speed bike.

Noah Ali vs Sean Quinn_016_webAli, Grajcar, and Wallace are all slated to fight at Hard Knocks 51 on October 14, and will be putting their cardio workouts to use all the way up until fight night.

“Anything you can do to make your body exhausted is beneficial,” said Wallace. “The main goal is to still function in a fight when you’re tired.”


You can get the tickets for HK51 here or Pay-Per-View here

Article written by: Joel Griffith

Follow Joel on Twitter @joelgriffith88 and visit his website at


Nicole Livingston

Hard Knocks Ring Girl – Nicole Livingston

model: Nicole Livingston