Top 10 MMA Books for Fun, Informative Reading Reviewed
Mixed martial arts have become increasingly famous and visible in today’s day and age, with the UFC being an incredibly well-watched show, and Ronda Rousey becoming a household name. There is something about the nature of the fight that draws people in. Testing your strength and your skill against an opponent to see which of you will be the last one standing is something that humans have been doing since the beginning of time. There’s something in human nature that leads us to compete with each other, to see who will come out on top.
- Got Fight?
- Light-Heavyweight Champion Author
- Tips on Mental Conditioning
- The Way of the Fight
- New York Times bestseller
- Compelling autobiographical story
- The Book of Knowledge
- World Champion Author
- Multiple Methods Covered
You may be wondering how to break into this sport. Watching the greats go toe-to-toe may inspire you to begin a mixed martial arts practice of your own. The only question is, where do you start? How do you even begin to acquire the skills you’re looking for? What is the best system to learn? What techniques will help you win? These are questions that martial arts masters themselves have struggled with for thousands of years. However, nowadays we live in the information age, and all the answers you need are right there at your fingertips. All you need to do is pick up a book and you will find the words, methods, and advice of experts. Whether you want to learn from the life journeys of the greats, or are simply looking for a technical how-to book, there’s been a work written for you.
10 Best UFC Books
1. Got Fight?
Any true fighter knows that a major part of the battle isn't just the body. Victory doesn't just come from the number of moves you know, or how strong you are. Mental conditioning is key, as is developing your willpower. Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat is full of tips for mental conditioning to help you keep your mind in the game.
This former light-heavyweight champion has a slew of experience from his years of fighting. One of the least talked about aspect of fighting, however, is weapons. Most MMA tournaments nowadays focus solely on hand-to-hand grappling. However, weapons are still a very real threat and are rarely written about. Griffin has a healthy dose of advice in this area.
Cost and Value
This product has a mid-to-low cost when compared to other items on this list. The price is even lower if you consider purchasing the Kindle edition. Overall, this book is written by an expert, was an NYT Bestseller, and comes in a variety of formats. This highly-rated volume is a winner.
Author light-heavyweight champion
How to fight against weapons
Vulgar writing style
2. The Way of the Fight
GSP retired from the Welterweight Champion title in 2013. Prior to this, he held the record for most wins in title bouts, as well as having the second longest combined title streak in the history of UFC. He writes about his story, his success, and his failures in his New York Times Bestselling book.
Many MMA books are hand tomes filled with charts and pictures, detailing how to perform certain moves and defeat your opponent. Sometimes, however, the information you need comes from the life stories of legendary UFC fighters. Being able to get inside their head and learn from their lives can give you the edge you need in your next match.
Georges St. Pierre overcame a lot in his life; his stories, both uplifting and challenging, are written about in his book. He's come through a lot to be at the top. You, no doubt, are going to encounter roadblocks on your MMA journey. Sometimes an inspiring story is what we need to overcome our own challenges and push our skills to the next level.
Cost and Value
This is one of the least expensive books on the list in paperback, and extremely inexpensive in Kindle format. Considering the amount of quality of the story and credentials of the author, this low price is well worth the cost.
Reigning UFC welterweight champion
Choppy English in places
3. The Book of Knowledge
Fellow author Glen Cordoza is also a retired professional MMA artist and Muay Thai boxer. Cordoza is one of the most widely published MMA authors. The third author, Erich Krauss is a professional kickboxer and founder of Victory Belt Publishing.
Rarely will such a spectacular all-star cast come together to create such a masterwork. From Jiu-Jitsu to Muy Tai boxing, the variety of their backgrounds and the depths of their experience means that this book has a unique blend of information that others just can't match
The Ground Game
One of the biggest challenges in fighting is what to do once you have your opponent on the ground. Most authors and fighters can tell you how to get your opponent on the ground, but few take the time to detail what to do once you've got them there. This book is full of helpful advice in this area.
Cost and Value
This is the least expensive book on our list. Considering it's decorated all-star cast, you can hardly pass up this amazing deal. For some people, the lack of an electronic edition may be a put-off. But for those who don't mind reading a physical book, this choice can't be beaten... and after reading it, you won't be, either!
World Champion Authors
Covers Multiple Techniques
Talks About Ground Game
Fantastic Introductory Choice
Only Covers Basics
4. Theory and Technique
His brother, Royler Gracie, is also a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial artist. He ran the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school called Humaitá in Rio de Janeiro. Both Gracies are sons to the late Grandmaster of Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu, Helio Gracie, who founded the sport. These brothers and co-authors break out all you need to know about this sport in their informational book, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique.
Few students of martial arts can hope to get wisdom straight from the horse's mouth, aka that of the founder. Most martial arts' founders are centuries dead. However, in this case, the sons of this sport's founder are still alive and can give you tips, tricks, and advice like no one else living.
Charts and How-Tos
Many books will describe how to perform a technique, but that's not particularly helpful if you can't visualize it. If you can't imagine it in your mind and put it to use, what good it is? Luckily this book is full of step-by-step charts and informational photographs to help you master each technique.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive books on our list. A downside of this product is that it does not come in a Kindle edition. This lack of convenience and options, however, may be a tradeoff some people are willing to make. Especially if you are a visual learner, the charts and photographs in this book make it a resource incomparable to any other.
How-to photographic charts
Dozens of techniques
Sons of Jiu-Jitsu's founder
5. A Fighter's Heart
Sheridan is no stranger to fighting, having spent time both as a boxer as well as a mixed martial artist. In addition to these roles, he has been a cowboy, a sailor, a construction worker at the South Pole, and a Merchant Marine. He writes about his career in A Fighter's Heart
For those who enjoy the gonzo style of journalism, prepare yourself. It is incredibly hard to get any useful information out of a boring book. You can't learn if you're bored. In that vein, this author's engaging style will have you on the edge of your seat.
Trained by the world's best
Sam Sheridan was trained by the world's best Muy Tai master. If you're looking for a lineage of excellence, look no further. Sheridan can provide insight that few people can; training under such an acclaimed master transfers not only skill but knowledge. He, in turn, passes it on to you in this book.
Cost and Value
This is one of the least expensive books on our list. Not only is the hardcover cheaper than most other books like it the Kindle edition is also several dollars less expensive than comparable books. Overall, this well-written, highly informed story comes in a variety of formats. Whatever format you choose, you're getting a great deal.
Widely experienced author
Gonzo journalism style
Participatory sports writing
Trained by world's best
style changes after 3 chapters
6. My Fight / Your Fight
Ronda Rousey is known by both followers and fans of the MMA and laypersons alike. She is a household name across the world, but few people know the details or story of her life. This book gives the insider story to a fighting legend with a firsthand, autobiographical take on her life.
Multiple formats available
Not everyone is able to carry a physical book around with them to read. While this book is available in traditional formats such as paperback and hardcover, you can also enjoy it in other ways as well. There is an audiobook available for those who like to listen to books, as well as a Kindle edition so that you can read on your phone or other electronic devices.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive books on our list. However, with fame and quality comes an increased price. If you've been inspired by Rousey's career, this book is a must-read. Considering the wide array of formats available, this great work can be enjoyed anywhere if you're willing to pay a bit extra.
Insider autobiographical story
Undefeated UFC record
Multiple Editions Available
Weak spine glue
7. Mastering the Twister
It is one thing to master a martial art. People have been studying and learning one school of martial arts or another for thousands of years. However, it takes a unique and innovative mind to develop something new. That is precisely what Bravo has done here. Straight from the source, this unique system is yours to learn.
1200+ color photos
This book is filled to the brim with over a thousand color photos. Aside from adding beauty and making this book more dynamic, these photos will also help you visualize the techniques and acquire them quickly.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive books on our list. It only comes in physical format, without an audio or ebook version. This lack of format at the high price may discourage some buyers. However, this visually dynamic and information-packed book has information you won't be able to find anywhere else, for those willing to pay the price.
1200+ color photos
Illustrative move guide
How to overcome opponents guard
How-to on "the truck"
Some vulgar language
8. Mastering the Rubber Guard
It is one thing to use a system that has been passed down for thousands of generations, largely left unchanged. It is quite another to take a look at that system and to have the imagination to think of ways that it could be made better. Discontent with what he had learned in Jiu-Jitsu, Bravo decided to put his uniquely gifted mind to the task of imagining a better way. If you're looking for a new and novel brand of techniques that you can't find anywhere else, this book is the place to look.
Great for Visual Learners
Some learners are able to pick up information by reading. Some learn best by conversation, and some through physically performing a task. Others have a visual style of learning. For the latter, books are often one of their least favorite ways to learn new information. This book, however, contains over a thousand color photographs to help visual learners imagine and acquire the information in its pages.
Cost and Value
This is by far the most expensive book on our list. Again, like many others, and does not have any ebook or audio book editions. If you're looking for a basic book to give you ground-level information, you may want to pass, because other books can get you that information at a lower price. But if you're an advanced student looking for a new kind of technique to take your ability to the next level, this book can give you the edge you need.
Patented rubber-guard system
Author jui-jitsu master
1000 color photos
Revolutionary grappling system
9. Undisputed Truth
A traditional mark of a book's success and readability is how many people purchase it. This book is clearly both readable and much-loved, reaching the New York Times Bestseller list, denoting that it was purchased and read widely all across the world. If you're looking for an engaging, well-written read, this book hits the mark.
You'd be hard pressed in the USA to find someone who doesn't know who Mike Tyson is. He has penetrated every aspect of popular culture and has transcended his original career to live in infamy in the minds of millions across America. If you've always wondered about the details of Tyson's life and career, as well as his original thoughts, now you can learn the story of this astounding man. Knowing his secret to success can help inspire you to up your own fighting skills.
Cost and Value
This book has a middling to low cost when compared to other items on this list. It is available in multiple formats, including ebook and audiobook. No matter how you like to enjoy literature, there is a format for you. This New York Times Bestselling book is well worth its low price.
10. The Voice of Reason
Technical jargon can make it impossible to enjoy a book, let alone comprehend its contents. Dense language can make it impossible to learn. To solve this problem, Sonnen has written his book in easily understood language that the layperson can really sink their teeth into. You don't have to have a graduate degree to dig into this book, which can give you the inside story on an MMA legend, and give you the secrets to his techniques.
Sometimes the best way to learn is to hear from those who have succeeded and gone before you. By virtue of their success, they must have done something right. Otherwise, they would not have risen to the top of their chosen field. To learn from the best, you can read this first-person account of Sonnen's career, ups, downs, challenges, techniques, and hardships. By walking in his shoes, you can learn from his successes and mistakes to become a better fighter.
Cost and Value
This book has a middling cost when compared to other items on this list. It does have two formats available, in print and in ebook. However, there is no audiobook available. If you're looking for a book that strictly has to do with technique, you'll want to pass, as this is an autobiographical story. If you're looking for a first-person account of the fighter's life, this book could be up your alley.
Infamous UFC fighter
Sections of political writing
Few things are as exciting as watching two warriors go head-to-head in the fighting ring, testing their strength on each other to see who will emerge victoriously. Seeing two juggernauts duke it out may inspire you to begin your own journey into the world of fighting. However, before you start walking down this road, it is common to want to acquire knowledge, and to know what you’re getting yourself into. One of the best ways to get the knowledge you seek is to read the biographies of the most successful fighters, which can give you a preview of the struggles that may be ahead for you. Additionally, the technical how-to books can teach you the secrets to success. Overall, books are a wonderful source of knowledge and a great place to begin your MMA journey.
Criteria For Evaluating The Best MMA Books
Type of Book
- Autobiography: Oftentimes, well-known fighters and champions will have people interested in their history, and the challenges they overcame to reach success. In this case, they will write the story of their life to give their fans an idea of what they went through to reach their current level of accomplishment. These kinds of stories are useful if you want an inside take about what the industry is like, and the kinds of mental struggles you will need to overcome in order to become a master fighter. These kinds of books, however, are usually fairly sparse in terms of technical instructions.
- Instructional: These books are generally less about story and more about technique and facts. They usually have a large number of diagrams and pictures, and step-by-step instructions to teach you various moves and techniques. These would be the kinds of books you would want to read if you were looking expand your skillset.
- Experience: Accomplishments are an important thing to consider when you’re deciding between two authors. A UFC blackbelt is more likely to know what they’re talking about than a low-ranking fighter that no one has ever heard of. Do research into an author’s biography before purchasing their book.
- Lineage: Knowing where the author learned their skills can be a vital part of deciding whether or not to trust their writing. The student is only as good as the teacher. If an author was taught by a Grandmaster of Jiu-jitsu, then their learning is generally to be more trusted than someone who self-taught themselves out of their garage.
- Fighting style: There are many forms of martial arts. If you’re looking to learn Jiu-jitsu, it probably wouldn’t be as beneficial for you to pick up a book by an author whose specialty is boxing. Be sure to learn what the fighting style the author has specialized in so that you’re getting the information you desire.
New York Times Seal of Approval
Poorly written books don’t sell well. Well-written, engaging books do. If you see that a book has been a New York Times Bestseller, this is an indication that the writing is superior, and the information is well-delivered and useful. If you’re deciding between two books, if one is an NYT Bestseller, it’s usually an indication of high quality and good writing.
Physical books: There are two formats that physical books are published, which are hardcover and paperback. Hardcover books tend to be more durable for obvious reasons: their cover is made of a reinforced board that is more protective and longer-lasting. Hardcover books, though, do tend to be more expensive. Paperbacks are usually smaller and easier to carry around because they weigh less–as an added bonus, they are also usually less expensive.
eBooks: eBooks, or electronic books, are books that are read digitally via an electronic device. This can be an e-reader, such as a Kindle or a Nook, or a more general-use gadget, such as a tablet or a phone. eBooks are convenient because you can carry them with you wherever you have an electronic device, without having to carry a weighty book around. The only downside is that staring at a screen for an extended period of time can be harmful to the eyes.
Audiobook: For someone who enjoys acquiring new information, but doesn’t like staring at a screen or a page, audiobooks are a great option. They can be acquired as DVDs, and listened to in the car, or as mp3s or other sound file format, and listened to on your phone or another electronic device. The only downside of these books is that they are less widely available. Additionally, instructional books generally do not translate well into audiobook format, where you lose the illustrative guides, charts, and pictures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I put what I’ve read into action?
A: You will need a dedicated space to practice, ideally a home gym or location with mats. If you end up being a serious student, you will want to find a teacher who can show you the techniques you’ve read about in the book.
Q: Is there a way to fact-check the book’s claims?
A: The best way to fact-check the claims in any book is to do some research. This can be done either online, or by asking an expert near you. If you know a teacher of mixed martial arts, they may prove to be a great resource.
Q: How do I know the author is an expert?
A: Reading the author’s biography, located usually towards the back of the book, will give you an idea of their awards, teachers, lineage, and level of accomplishment. Researching an author online is also a good way to get a more extensive list of biographies and accomplishments.
Q: What’s the difference between the various book formats?
A: Audiobooks are sound files that you can listen to on an electronic device. An eBook is a digital file that you can read either on your phone, laptop, tablet, e-reader, or other electronic devices. A physical book will be either hardcover or softcover. Hardcover books are more durable and have protective boards, but cost more. Paperbacks are less robust but are also more lightweight, and cost less.
Q: What do I do if my book arrives damaged?
A: Contact the vendor immediately and explain the situation. Submit documentation (most helpfully in the form of pictures) detailing the condition the product was in when it arrived. After this, you can arrange amelioration with the seller, either via exchange, replacement, or refund.