Difference Between Muay Thai and MMA

Both Muay Thai and MMA are two different fighting styles. Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA as the name suggests, is a type of martial arts. Muay Thai, too, is no different.


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It is part of martial arts as well. This might lead to confusion and a blurry line between the two. However, they have differences in fighting strategies and techniques.

Key Takeaways

  1. Muay Thai is a martial art from Thailand that involves striking techniques like punches, kicks, knees and elbows, while MMA is a full-contact combat sport that allows a variety of martial arts techniques.
  2. Muay Thai has a more traditional approach to fighting, while MMA has a modern, sport-oriented approach.
  3. Muay Thai fighters primarily use standing techniques, while MMA fighters use both standing and ground techniques.

Muay Thai vs MMA

Muay Thai is a combat sport that is also called Thai boxing or the art of eight limbs, and it involves various clinching techniques and stand-up striking with the firsts, shins, elbows, and shins. MMA stands for mixed martial arts and is a full-contact combat sport based on grappling, striking, and ground fighting.

Muay Thai vs MMA

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Muay Thai is a combat style that gets its roots in Thai culture. This resembles kickboxing, and the fighter is required to wear boxing gloves in the tournaments.

This sport is about striking the opponent with the force of knees, elbows and hands. The characteristics of Muay Thai are based on the science of eight limbs.

The full form of MMA is Mixed Martial Arts. It is quite a deadly sport that includes grappling, striking and groundwork. It has many combinations of fighting strategies.

An MMA expert can handle any specialised fighter with the help of combined techniques. Open-fingered gloves are preferred for this fighting style.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMuay ThaiMMA
CharacterizationMuay Thai can be distinct with the use of elbows, hands, knees, and shins while combating.MMA or Mixed Martial Arts does not have any such distinctive characterization.
Fighting styleThe main feature of Muay Thai is striking.MMA includes striking as well as grappling and groundwork.
TechniquesMuay Thai includes many techniques to combat the opponent.Comparatively, MMA possesses more techniques than Muay Thai.
Type of gloves In a fight, Muay Thai needs boxing gloves.MMA needs open-fingered gloves.
RangeIn a Muay Thai fight, both the opponents would stand and exchange blows throughout the fight.In an MMA fight, the fighters can jump in and out.
Foot Movement This fighting style does not include many foot movements.An MMA fight requires a lot of running and defensive movements.
Fighting moveThe kick is known as the basic move of Muay Thai.There is no one fighting move of MMA that can be marked as a basic move.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is considered to be a deadly sport. The strong throw of kicks is the main of this fighting technique. As Muay Thai needs the use of knees, elbows and other limbs, it is called the art or the science of eight limbs.

The whole body gets invested in performing the techniques of the fight. Muay Thai requires fighters to stand straight. And there are no grappling, striking on the ground or submissions in Muay Thai.

As we can get an idea from the name, Muay Thai has a connection with the Thai culture. Muay Thai is regarded as the national sport of Thailand.

The techniques of these combat sports are derived from the rituals and dances belonging to Thai culture. The armed forces of Thailand get trained in the military with Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is regarded to be a variation of kickboxing in which knees and elbows are used to strike. Traditionally Muay Thai used to be taught barehanded, but now boxing gloves are used in order to protect the head from punches and strikes from the opponent.

muay thai

What is MMA?

Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is growing rapidly as a sport. MMA fighter is allowed to execute grappling and groundwork along with striking. Training in Mixed Martial Arts is not easy.

It is much more challenging as there are many combinations of fight styles to learn and ace. The fighters are required to be quick. A lot of running and defensive movements are wanted to win.

As the name implies, Mixed Martial Arts is an amalgamation of many various fighting styles. A fighter using MMA skills will have an advantage over others with his/ her ability to mix different techniques of fighting.

In an MMA fight, the fighters wear open-fingered gloves. These sorts of gloves can easily grapple the opponent.


Main Differences Between Muay Thai and MMA

  1. In Muay Thai, the fighters are taught to use their elbows, hands, knees, and shins, whereas MMA does not have any such distinctive characterization.
  2. Striking is the only mean of combat in Muay Thai. But MMA includes grappling and groundwork along with striking.
  3. In order to fight in Muay Thai style, the fighters need boxing gloves, while MMA fighters need open-fingered gloves. These sort of gloves helps the fighters to perform grappling and submission moves.
  4. This fighting style does not include many foot movements. Bu MMA, on the other hand, requires a lot of running and defensive movements.
  5. Comparatively, MMA has more fighting techniques than Muay Thai. The basic attack of Muay Thai kicks, but MMA has nothing of that sort.
Difference Between Muay Thai and MMA
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KczH05iUOZcC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Muay+Thai+and+MMA&ots=SYWwl9ih6W&sig=isFSZgMoCtDFDT85U4-XJcTgM_Q
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cDbRAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP18&dq=Muay+Thai+and+MMA&ots=L1pSdJ8D0s&sig=06iAXFrf-f8Ax9AdI3MgUHwoi44
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