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Choosing the right MMA gloves for training and competition

Choosing the right MMA gloves for training and competition

  • Zishan Haider

Many martial arts combined in one: 

MMA gloves must meet high requirements to work in fist fights and grapple simultaneously.

MMA combines many martial arts into one, hence the name: mixed martial arts. The right gloves for this martial art should be as versatile as MMA is. We will show you which gloves suit you and what you should pay attention to when buying them.


What makes an MMA glove?

MMA gloves are fundamentally different from boxing gloves and Muay Thai gloves. While the latter is very similar, MMA gloves are not only designed for fist fights but also for grappling - ground fighting. Therefore, the fingers are free with the MMA gloves to have more movement in the hands for the appropriate grips.

In addition, in contrast to conventional boxing gloves, the back of the hand, especially at the level of the middle hand, is even more padded to absorb blows and, above all, kicks. As the name "Mixed Martial Arts" already suggests, a wide variety of fighting techniques from judo, catch wrestling, sambo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay thai, boxing, and kickboxing are used.

In addition to the ground fight and the clinch, the standing fight is an important area in MMA. Therefore, different gloves are used during training. Normal boxing gloves can be used for boxing and kickboxing training, 4 oz MMA gloves for sandbag and pad training, and 7 oz MMA gloves are best for sparring.   


Info: MMA "Mixed Martial Arts" is gaining popularity.

The combination of grappling and punches has been a martial art for thousands of years. The roots of MMA lie in ancient Greece, where pankration, a mixture of boxing and wrestling, was introduced as a new Olympic discipline around 650 BC. In our day and age, this martial art has been popular again since the 90s, when the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was created and was and is also broadcast a lot on TV.

MMA fights are also broadcast in Germany, but with a temporary ban on TV transmissions in recent years because the sport was classified as too brutal. The risk of injury or the severity of the injury is no higher than in other martial arts. Many ground fighting techniques require skill and technique. This is no different in MMA than in judo.

But if you prefer a milder version of MMA, you will find it in the Shooto. Shooto enjoys an ever-growing audience, especially in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. Shooto, which originated in Japan, means something like "learn to fight" and prohibits attacks that are particularly dangerous during a fight. In addition, thicker fist protectors are worn.


Which MMA glove is the right one? - different types

As already mentioned, different gloves are used in MMA. So 4 oz models are used for competitions, careful sparring, sandbag, pad training, and grappling. On the other hand, 7 oz models should be used for sparring, as they have better cushioning. Hybrid gloves are great for those who don't want to buy multiple gloves.

Especially when you start MMA training, these gloves are well-suited. These all-rounders can be used for sandbag training, sparring, and grappling, whereby hybrid gloves are not as narrow as other MMA gloves, and there are slight limitations here. Hybrid gloves have thicker padding, usually have thumb protection, and a sturdy Velcro fastener that protects the wrist. These slightly more padded models are also worn at the Shooto.


Many associate MMA with being a sport not for the faint of heart, and some mistakenly assume it is necessary to train in competition gloves. However, this is questionable since the padding on these models is very little, and injuries can occur so quickly during sparring and sandbag training. Therefore, using 7 oz gloves when training to prevent injuries is better.

The right size - difference to boxing gloves

In contrast to boxing gloves, MMA gloves are determined by size and not by weight. In boxing, this is intended to ensure that the punches are equally cushioned in a fight by being of a similar size and weight. That's why boxing has no sizes, as you know from normal gloves. On the other hand, MMA gloves should be ensured that they fit perfectly and offer optimal mobility, which is necessary for the grips in grappling.


MMA gloves are, therefore, available in different sizes, and at the same time, the weights are given in ounces to ensure comparability. If you want to determine which size to choose when buying MMA gloves, the hand circumference above the knuckles, excluding the thumb, is decisive.

Here is a side table:

16-18cm = S

19-21cm = M

22-23cm = L

24-26cm = XL

Thumb protection or not with the MMA glove?

When it comes to MMA gloves, you will find some models that have thumb protection and others that do not. Competition gloves usually do not have thumb protection since optimal mobility is the top priority here. When training, however, you should not do without a thumb protector, as this protects against injuries.

Make sure you have good wrist protection.

Good wrist protection should not be neglected, either. This is usually guaranteed with a wide Velcro strip and differs greatly from the MMA gloves. As a rule, the wrist protection due to padding in MMA gloves is lighter than in kickboxing gloves, but in both cases, adjustments have been made compared to the classic boxing gloves to ward off kicks with the hands.

An MMA glove should always stabilize the wrist, but to such an extent that mobility is not restricted despite the stabilization. It is best to try out several gloves in a shop or order several.

How should MMA gloves fit?

An MMA glove should fit like a second skin, as MMA uses various techniques and grips, and good mobility is required to carry them out.

Boxing bandages in MMA gloves?

Some might wonder why you need bandages when you're already wearing gloves. However, a boxing bandage for the glove offers additional stability for the wrists and hands since the pressure from punches is distributed more evenly on the hand, and the risk of injury can be minimized. Even if the bandages can somewhat cushion the blows, they are not comparable to the gloves' padding.

Bandages must be worn during competitions, but bandages should also be worn during training since, as already mentioned, the risk of injury is reduced. It's always very annoying when you get injured during training and have to sit out for a long time.

MMA gloves for women

Women can usually use the same gloves as men. Due to the sizes, it is easier to find suitable gloves than boxing gloves. In most cases, it will be size S or M for women.


Buy MMA gloves

If you have decided to buy MMA gloves, you should consider the following things:


  • Unlike boxing gloves, MMA gloves are not only available in different weights but also in different sizes.
  • Ounces (oz) provide information about the degree of padding in MMA gloves.
  • When training, reach for more padding than the competition glove, which is only 4 oz.
  • Gloves with thumb protection are useful for training.
  • Good wrist protection minimizes the risk of injury but should not restrict your mobility if possible.
  • An MMA glove should fit nicely and snugly.


  • Expert tip:

Finding a good MMA glove is harder than finding boxing gloves. The requirements are so diverse. It is, therefore, advisable to set priorities in training. You can wear low-ounce boxing gloves as you hone your punching techniques. For grappling exercises, you can use very light MMA gloves, which allow a lot of freedom of movement for your hands and fingers. For sparring and competitions, in addition to what conforms to the guidelines, your preference, which you have developed in training with different gloves, also decides...a little more stability of the wrists, something softer or rather firmer material - in the end, it only helps here try out.

  • JOCHEN – UEZH expert


The manufacturer FIghtx has been selling martial arts and fitness sports products worldwide since 2006. Especially in the gloves field, Fightx is characterized by the high-quality processing of these products. Even if the gloves are mostly found in the upper price segment, they are extremely popular in boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA due to their high quality.


MMA - a bundle of martial arts that fascinates you, and you are looking for the right gloves. Then pay attention to the following points:

Don't skimp on the padding when training; otherwise, you risk injuring yourself unnecessarily. Therefore, gloves with 6 or 7 oz instead of the usual 4 oz in competitions are best suited.

A thumb guard is also advantageous during training. The models presented by RDX and Everlast bring this with them. The FIGHTX model still offers very good freedom of movement when grappling.

Make sure the gloves fit snugly. It is best to try on several gloves before you buy them.

A wide Velcro fastener ensures good stabilization of your wrists. However, it would help if you were not too restricted in your freedom of movement.

Boxing bandages offer additional protection for your hands and wrists.