5 Best MMA Headgears For Protection & Comfort | Explained
A great headgear can last you a long time, while you achieve your dreams. Just ask Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib would famously wear the same MMA headgear for over 8 years during his unbeaten UFC streak.
In this page, we will cover the best MMA headgears on the market, the pros and cons of each headgear, and why a headgear is beneficial during training.
Table of Contents
1. Venum Elite Headgear - Best Overall
This ultra lightweight made of 100% skintex leather, contains triple density contoured foam for maximum protection and contains an open top design to best deal with perspiration (your sweat) and moisture.
On top of this, it is made my Venum.
Why is this a big deal?
The UFC inked a deal with Venum meaning they're now in the world spotlight, and have extremely high standards to adhere to (and maintain). For these reasons the Venum Elite MMA Headgear made the top of our list as the best MMA headgear.
- High Quality & Long Lasting
Pros: High quality, great design, maximum protection, ventilation, compact, light
Cons: One size
Higher End of Price With Very High Quality
Featuring a patented T-cross closure that allows the user to have minimal shifting, maximum protection for the cheek bones, chin, and ears.
This MMA headgear is made of Vylar engineered leather, the strongest material for great durability and an open top, to keep you cool while you push your body to the limits.
If you have experience with lower quality MMA headgears, you know that it is very frustrating to know that you can't push yourself to the level that you want.
This occurs due to lower quality MMA headgears having a poor ventilation system, that can quickly overheat you.
This MMA headgear eliminates that concern.
The compact design allows for more protection without the added bulk that other MMA headgears come with.
3. Everlast Everfresh Headgear - Best on a Budget
Pros: Best if you're on a budget looking for protection, contains all of the essentials
Cons: Not the highest quality but will work, may wear down faster
Maybe you're starting out, or maybe you're on a budget?
This MMA headgear will give you everything that you need in order to be safe and on the mats training.
This MMA headgear contains an adjustable chin strap to adjust the tightness of your fit, cheek protectors. It is a one size fits most, and it comes in black (black tends to be less noticeable as it starts to wear down over time).
Something to note: The outer layer of this MMA headgear is synthetic leather.
4. Venum Challenger 2.0 Headgear - Larger Heads
Pros: Great brand, solid protection
Cons: One size fits all. If you have a very large or very small head, these one size fit all heagears may not work for you.
Venum as a manufacturer focuses specifically on MMA.
This ultralight headgear is very popular, as it still offers top of the line protection vs contact with its triple density foam.
When it comes down to protection and movement this headgear is fantastic.
The velcro strap allows them to get away with a one size fits all approach.
As mentioned above the Venum brand has now inked a deal with the UFC, and their products will be under watch in the world spot light.
They have to keep producing high quality products and improving their high quality products.
5. Cliff Keen F5 Tornado Headgear- Grappling Headgear
Pros: Grappling headgear, easy to use, lightweight, ear protection
Cons: Can't be used for all Mixed Martial Arts
You should notice right away this is a different headgear than all of the other ones. This is a grappling based headgear.
A normal headgear doesn't always make sense when grappling and in this case is when a grappling headgear makes sense.
This headgear provides a lightweight frame, great ear protection as well as a ventilation system.
Due to this it has quickly become one of the most popular grappling headgears on the market.
Two straps on the top of your head, and one on your chin. It is relatively easy to adjust within seconds and it stays at the adjusted size throughout contact as well.
This means: Less focusing on adjusting your headgear during your training/match, and more focusing on winning.
Why Wear A Headgear During Sparring?
Headgear is an extremely important piece of equipment used by MMA fighters of all ages and all levels.
A good top level MMA headgear can prevent and reduce many different risks associated with MMA.
1. Exterior Injuries - Face
Headgears are fantastic to prevent superficial injuries such as cuts, black eyes, and bruising.
Not only can these three injuries keep you out of the gym for a period of time, but having to walk around school/work with cuts or bruises after every training session will have others concerned for your well being.
Something else to consider is your nose.
Your nose is one of those features on your body that once broken, is easy to break the next time, and the time after that, and so forth.
2. Cauliflower Ears
A cauliflower ear is now known as the universal sign for "I've wrestled, do MMA, do Jiu Jitsu", or all of the above.
Some people want them, as they show the person sporting them has put in the time on the mats, others do not want them.
If you are part of the latter, you'll be pleased to know that MMA headgears can prevent cauliflower ears.
If you enjoy putting airpods in your ears, get a decent MMA headgear!
Jaw injuries can be some of the most devastating injuries you can experience. A hit to the face can injure, dislocate, or even break your jaw.
You never realize how much you need a part of your body until it gets injured! Everyone uses their jaw on a daily basis whether to talk or eat.
MMA Mouthguards can also help with preventing injuries
Oftentimes accidental headbutts are the ones who end up doing the most damage.
Whether it is an accidental head to head headbutt, or accidentally headbutting an elbow or knee when level changing, the list goes on.
You may laugh at these examples but you'd be surprised at the amount of silly injuries that occur at a gym on a weekly basis.
Why Not Wear a Headgear During Sparring?
There's no denying there's an adjustment period when wearing a headgear for the first time. Some fighters don't wear the headgear for enough time in order to adjust to it, and quit using it after a few practices.
For fighters who especially rely on their speed, bulky items will affect their top speed in a negative way. They may not be able to move the way they want to during their training and it can also make you a bigger target, in terms of your opponent being able to land as this is a game on inches.
A headgear can have an impact on your peripheral vision while sparring, and can affect being able to see punches or kicks coming from the side.
Another aspect is having a false sense of security. You may purposefully absorb additional shots that you typically wouldn't without a headgear, as the effects of being punched aren't as severe, and you feel that you can walk through more punches.
Features to Look for When Purchasing a Headgear
If you're comfortable with MMA headgear, you will be confident when training or fighting. This is the reason why comfort is number 1 on our list.
It is just like purchasing clothes, it has to be the right fit for you, as you're the one that's going to wear it.
What is Comfortable?
It should not be too tight around your head, or too loose. When you move around, whether jumping, striking, wrestling, it should be tight enough to stay on your head and not impair your vision in any way (something that can happen when the headgear moves around).
Tight enough where it can at times leave a mark, but not tight enough where you get a headache from it.
This is extremely important to performance. If a headgear does not possess this top quality, it will cause the user to become very hot quickly.
When this happens, performance can plummet and your body will be too busy focusing on cooling down, instead of sharpening your skills!
The best high quality sparring gear is made from real leather.
The old saying 'What you pay for is what you get' still rings true especially in this combat world. You can save a couple of bucks by getting a lower quality headgear, however you run the risk of not being as well protected as you could have.
You also will notice the lower quality material will deteriorate faster, causing you to have to purchase your next one quicker than a higher quality one would.
Is this worth saving a few bucks? That is up to you.
Although there are many top quality headgears available in the market today, there are a multitude of low quality headgears available as well.