Can Krav Maga Beat MMA? What You Need to Know

Everyone knows MMA, otherwise known as Mixed Martial Arts, as popularized by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). These are often the best of the best martial artists, being experts in several different styles. But I wondered can Krav Maga beat MMA?

Here’s what I know from practicing with an MMA artist:

In most cases, a Krav Maga fighter can beat an MMA fighter who had trained the same length of time. While both are similar, Krav Maga utilizes several techniques banned by the MMA, giving the Krav Maga fighter an advantage over an MMA fighter constrained by rules.

The Krav Maga guy would use anything as a weapon.

Yes, anything. They’re not constrained by rules that an MMA guy knows by heart. The KM guy would “go for the kill,” while the MMA fighter would probably be simply trying to win or achieve a knockout or choke.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions! So in this article, we’ll explore Krav Maga and MMA to find out which one’s better.

Let the fun begin…

Is Krav Maga effective against other martial arts?

Krav Maga is very effective against other martial arts. It’s purely a self-defense system that’s based on other self-defense techniques and martial arts systems. So it employs the best techniques from a variety of martial arts, making it highly effective.

Strictly speaking, Krav Maga is not a martial art, in the sense that Judo, Karate, or Kung Fu are martial arts. It’s a self-defense system; nothing more and nothing less.

There are no other philosophical or spiritual components that are parts of most martial arts.

It’s lean and mean. So, it’s more focused on what you’ll like to use it for: to protect yourself and your loved ones when the stakes are high.

It’ll not only be effective against other martial arts; it can be so lethal that I‘ll suggest you use it sparingly.

One of the reasons why it’s powerful is because it’s actually a combo.

So, it’s a mix of techniques that are proven to be effective in other styles. And, it also incorporates some moves/techniques that are even deemed illegal in some of these other systems.

Another reason for its effectiveness is that, unlike other martial arts, it’s not script-based. It’s not about playing by the rules.

Its motto is “whatever works” and “focusing on a problem until it’s finished.” It’s not rules and time-bound. A KM fighter would use whatever is effective to quickly incapacitate an assailant, to protect themselves.

Considering what I shared above, what do you think will happen if a Krav Maga fighter were to fight a Kung Fu practitioner?

Who’s going to win? I explored which fighting style is better in a recent article of mine. Kung Fu is awesome, and Bruce Lee is the best example of a Kung Fu practitioner. But would he hold his own?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you use Krav Maga in MMA?

Krav Maga is not utilized in MMA competitions as many of the most utilized techniques are banned in the MMA rules. Krav Maga is not designed for sport; it was created for survival in life and death situations.

So, how come you can’t use other parts of Krav Maga?

After all, it’s a combo like MMA? First off, it wasn’t designed for competitions. It’s not a spectator sport. MMA, on the other hand, is a sport that’s rules-based.

Meaning that certain moves aren’t allowed. A fighter could be disqualified or suspended if they use some illegal moves. (Nothing is illegal in Krav Maga).

These MMA rules make a lot of sense since they serve to protect the fighters and provide a spectacle for the spectators.

MMA is not simply about fighting; it’s entertainment. It’s not sustainable if fighters get injured or maimed each time they enter the Octagon!

There are a lot of fouls in MMA.

This is why there’s a referee to ensure that the fighters are playing by the book. (The last time I checked, there were no referees in street fights. So, no rules in KM).

They need to be healthy and fine if they’re going to be entertaining us for a long time. This is not to suggest that they don’t get injured in the Octagon.

But, the injuries are controlled and restrained by the rules.

On the other hand, there’s really nothing entertaining about scenarios where Krav Maga has to be employed! The single rule is: make sure you’re not crippled or killed.

So, you can’t really use Krav Maga in MMA.

That said, it’s not every part of KM that’s illegal. So, elbow strikes, oblique kicks…are often employed by MMA dudes such as Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya.

These are the kind of deadly techniques that are right up a KM fighter’s alley. But really, those moves are from Muay Thai originally anyway. Remember, Krav Maga isn’t a martial art. It’s just a fighting system that incorporates the best self-defense techniques from different martial arts.

Have you heard of Muay Thai?

It’s also deadly. I shared its pros and cons in a recent article of mine. What really surprised me was not only how effective it is, but shockingly, how often practitioners get hurt.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What are the main martial arts in MMA?

The most common martial arts found in MMA are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), wrestling, Judo, boxing, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.

Of course, boxing and wrestling are not technically martial arts.

As its name implies, MMA is a mix of martial arts. And, in almost all contests, we see the fighters employing a couple of martial arts. One moment they’re punching the opponent. Then, they may clinch and throw them. Next, they might be using wrist control (from BJJ) on them.

They stand and fight. And, the next moment, they’re rolling on the ground, perhaps employing a leg triangle!

But based on statistics, BJJ and wrestling are the main styles that seem dominant. In fact, when we study some of the best fighters, such as Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, he relies mainly on the grappling arts.

He’s been wrestling since he was a kid.

He’ll often use grappling to take down his opponent, trap them, to cripple their defense. Then, he’ll finish them off by punching them over and over…until they submit.

Is Krav Maga the deadliest martial art?

Krav Maga is the deadliest martial art as it has no rules or restrictions. The primary goal is to destroy an attacker, so there is no spiritual philosophy to encourage the fighter to go easy on their opponent.

Let’s check the primary things that make it deadly in greater detail:

1. It’s a combo

A person who knows how to fight in 5 different ways will probably crush someone who knows only one way to fight.

Especially if the former has focused on the most effective parts of his 5 different styles.

KM is a living expression of Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy, which is about taking what’s effective, no matter the style, and discarding what’s ineffective. The KM fighter can fight standing or on the ground. They can fight dirty or by the rules.

But, truth be told, they are most likely going to fight dirty.

2. It’s not rules-based

A person who has been conditioned not to strike someone below the belt, for example, is at a great disadvantage when contesting with someone ready to use their knees repeatedly against the other’s face.

It’s difficult to beat up someone who believes that “anything goes.”

3. There is no philosophical or spiritual baggage

Virtually all Eastern martial arts have a philosophical component that affects their practitioners.

Most practitioners are dudes that are exemplary in self-control. They are peaceful. And, this is exemplary. KM, on the other hand, fosters aggression.

It’s about destruction. (To be blunt).

There are no lofty sentiments, such as using leverage to ensure the opponent is not harmed! So, a KM fighter is trained to be ready to fight as efficiently as possible.

All that being said, don’t take the above statements to mean I don’t see value in Eastern philosophy. Quite the contrary. But it’s not present in Krav Maga, and that’s one of the things that makes it an effective self-defense system.

Which is better: Krav Maga or BJJ?

BJJ, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is more well-rounded than Krav Maga and takes several years to master. But it does provide a more complete system than Krav Maga. Krav Maga is better for those looking for a pure self-defense system.

BJJ is also competition-based, at least in some schools.

So, if you’re looking to compete and earn money, BJJ is the way to go. There are no competitions in KM. There are no ranking systems, too. So, first, you’ve got to decide if you’re more interested in a lifetime of training and competing or just learning an effective self-defense system.

If it’s the latter, I’ll again suggest Krav Maga.

As I have mentioned before, KM is not rules-based. Street fights are not rules-based. In a street fight, any and everything can become a weapon. KM prepares you for real-life scenarios. This is not to say that BJJ is a pushover. Not at all.

Most BJJ fighters are awesome if the fight is on the ground and are not so great if they’ve got to fight standing up.

KM is biased toward fighting while standing because you’re more vulnerable while on the ground. It prepares you not really to fight but to “finish a problem as soon as possible.”

So, how much would Krav Maga classes cost you?

Check out a recent article of mine, where I shared the details you need to know. I cover low, medium, and high tuition averages, registration fees, necessary gear, and whether there’s any uniform expense.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Krav Maga vs MMA (Part 1)


We looked at Krav Maga and MMA.

We explored why Krav Maga is the idealist self-defense system, the main martial arts used in MMA, and if KM is effective against MMA. Ultimately we explored everything there is to know about both arts, but we also covered whether Krav Maga can be used in MMA.

MMA is rules-based, and there are competitions, while KM is purely a self-defense system with some elements that are not allowed in MMA.

Photos that require attribution:

Andy Marinos vs Brandon Takahara by and EPO krav maga may 2016-51 by leopoldo de castro are licensed under CC2.0 and the images were cropped, combined, with a text overlay.

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