Bodybuilding vs MMA – Who will emerge victorious?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: December 12, 2023
Bodybuilding vs MMA

In competitions that test physical strength, different skills and physical strengths can help decide who wins.

For example, in a fight, an MMA fighter would probably beat a bodybuilder. This is because the MMA fighter has a lot of different skills they can use.

In a strength contest, a bodybuilder would likely win because they’re super strong and have big muscles.

The difference between being good in a fight and being strong starts an interesting discussion about hard work and training.

Think about this: famous MMA fighter Conor McGregor made a huge $180 million in 2021. But Big Ramy, who won the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition, only made $400,000.

Why is there such a big difference in how much they made? Do both sports require the same dedication? Or, does one have more fans, unique talents, and excitement, leading to a bigger paycheck?

Is MMA More Effective Than Bodybuilding?

When we ask which is better, MMA or bodybuilding, we have to remember that “better” can mean different things to different people.

MMA fighters usually make more money than bodybuilders. However, not everyone cares most about how much they earn.

If we think about health and safety, MMA might be the better choice because it trains both your body and your mind. On the other hand, bodybuilding mostly focuses on getting big muscles. This might not make you fit overall.

In the end, the best sport for you depends on what you love the most. If you like figuring out how to beat your opponent using your mind and your body, MMA could be a good fit. But if you want to be the biggest and strongest you can be, bodybuilding might be the way to go.

Can Bodybuilders Compete in MMA?

Bodybuilders are very strong and could compete in mixed martial arts (MMA). However, it might not always be a smart choice.

MMA requires many skills, not just strength. Bodybuilders usually focus on strength.

So, bodybuilders might have trouble when they fight against people who are good at planning and have lots of fighting techniques.

Mariusz Pudzianowski has won 16 fights and only lost 7. He is a bodybuilder who switched to MMA and did really well.

This shows that even though it might not seem like a good idea for bodybuilders to compete in MMA. However, they can still do well if they try.

Are Bodybuilders Effective Fighters?

Fighting needs both strength and smarts, so it’s hard to say if bodybuilders would make good fighters.

Even though bodybuilders are really strong, they can be slow and not as quick to move. This might make them not as good in a fight.

On the other hand, mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have trained to be both strong and fast. This makes them better at fighting for a long time even when they’re out of breath.

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In the end, being a good fighter depends on being strong and skilled, but also being tough and smart. So, it’s difficult to say for sure if bodybuilders naturally have what it takes to be good fighters.

Should MMA Fighters Bulk Up?

MMA fighters are always trying to figure out the best way to keep their bodies in shape. They need to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of gaining muscle mass.

On one side, muscles help your body move. They’re an important part of both actions you choose to do and those your body does on its own.

MMA fighters will become stronger if they get more muscles, which can make them better fighters.

But it’s important to remember that having too many muscles can make you slow and make it hard to move quickly.

Even though losing fat might also make a fighter better, the best way to be the best in the ring is to have a good balance of muscle and fat.

So, MMA fighters need to be careful and smart when they’re thinking about how to get their bodies in better shape.

Do Bodybuilders Punch More Powerfully?

You might think that bodybuilders, with their big muscles, would naturally throw the strongest punches. But that’s not always true.

For example, Francis Ngannou, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, threw the hardest punch ever recorded in 2017. It was as strong as a small family car!

Even though MMA fighters don’t lift as much weight as bodybuilders, they usually can punch harder.

This is because how you train and your form are just as important as strength when it comes to throwing a really hard punch. If you work on your technique, your punch could be stronger than a bodybuilder’s.

Are Bodybuilders Strong?

Bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman, Dallas McCarver, and Jordan Peters, are often known for being really strong.

You can see their strength in the amazing things they do, like squatting 800lbs or lifting 845-lbs. Being strong is important in bodybuilding, because they need to lift heavy weights to build their big muscles.

But it’s important to remember that some training styles don’t just focus on being the strongest.

For example, Phil Heath, another famous bodybuilder. He used a type of training that focuses on growing muscles, not just getting stronger.

Still, there’s no doubt that bodybuilding shows off some amazing physical strength.

Can Bodybuilders Do Pull-ups?

Some people might not think so, but pull-ups are a favorite exercise among bodybuilders. They’re really good at working out the back and bicep muscles.

Pull-ups are often included in these athletes’ workouts, especially on days when they’re working on their backs.

Some people find it tough to keep getting better at pull-ups, which is why many people choose pulldowns as an easier option.

Pulldowns work out the same muscles as pull-ups. It’s easy to track progress. Lots of bodybuilders choose pulldowns to get stronger and grow muscles.

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Can Bodybuilders Go Running?

Running is a fun exercise that many kids and adults love to do, and it helps make you stronger and healthier.

Even though some people might not think so, bodybuilders can run too. Even if they look funny while running, it’s important to remember that bodybuilders can get just as much out of running as anyone else.

However, they need to think about whether running helps them with their bodybuilding goals. It might not always be the best fit for what they’re trying to achieve.

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Is Bodybuilding Beneficial for MMA?

There’s a big debate about whether bodybuilding is good for MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters. Some people think it helps, but it’s important to know that bodybuilding and MMA training don’t have the same goals.

Bodybuilding is about growing muscles and looking good, which can make you bigger. But MMA training needs to focus on being strong, fast, lasting a long time, and being flexible.

Because these goals aren’t the same, bodybuilding might not be the best way for MMA fighters to be their best in the ring.

Instead, they should find training programs that are made just for their sport. This will help them be the best they can be and beat their competition.


The main difference between bodybuilding and mixed martial arts (MMA) is what they’re trying to achieve and how they train.

MMA fighters work on many different skills to get stronger and do better in the ring. Bodybuilding is all about building bigger muscles and making your body look nice.

Even though they’re different, both sports need you to be really dedicated and work hard to do well.

Both bodybuilders and MMA fighters train by working really hard and always trying to get better.

In the end, these different but tough sports help athletes build their strength and become mentally stronger.

Dave Moffat

Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.