Boxing vs MMA Who Would Win?

The difference between Boxing and MMA is very simple. In boxing, you can only strike using your hands while hitting above the belt, specifically in the head and torso area. In MMA in addition to striking, there is wrestling, clinch fighting, and ground fighting including submissions.

boxing vs mma


It's more complicated than just that however, and we'll go into every single detail of how so in this page.

Rule Differences


 Boxing MMA
Rounds 12 rounds 5 rounds
Round Duration 3 minutes 5 minutes
Rest in between Rounds 1 minute 1 minute
Being able to hit when an opponent is down No Yes
Striking standing up Yes Yes
Striking in the clinch Yes Yes
Striking on the ground No Yes
Use of elbows No Yes
Ground fighting No Yes
Submissions No Yes
Fight can end in Decision Yes Yes
Back of the head punches allowed No No

Differences - More information

The table does a nice job summarizing the differences of rules.

Boxing has more rounds, but the rounds are shorter, however the rest in between rounds in the same.

boxing rounds

MMA on the other hand, has less than half as many rounds, but the rounds are longer.

Due to this, boxing is typically known for fighters having more cardio due to the amount of rounds in a fight.

A great example of this is Conor McGregor transitioned to boxing to fight vs Floyd Mayweather. McGregor (after the fight) mentioned how the hardest challenge of the fight was always being able to go the extra 9 minutes in the boxing fight (25 minutes in MMA vs 36 minutes in UFC).

Why is Boxing Less Popular than MMA

Competition Levels

Boxing is notorious for not having the best fighters fight the other best fighters, then if and when they eventually do, one of them is already past their prime. Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao comes to





Another aspect that drives fans crazy is that promoters try so hard to keep their fighters undefeated so they keep on giving their fighters 'cans'. Cans are also known as opponents who are not very good.

Tyson Fury who is Tyson Fury's little brother is a 5-0 professional boxer. He was recently scheduled to fight Andy Bishop who is 0-14 as a professional boxer.

tyson fury vs 0-14

Let that marinate for a second, 5-0 vs 0-14.


Mixed Martial Arts | MMA

MMA has many more aspects to fighting than just stand up striking. There is striking and grappling in the clinch, striking and grappling on the floor.

The fights can also end via a submission.

You can find our 3,500+ word guide we've created of What is Mixed Martial Arts.

Knockdown Rule in Boxing

A boxer who is knocked down 3 times in 1 round will be declared 'knocked out'.

MMA does not have a rule like this, as technically a fighter can get knocked down an unlimited amount of times until the referee stops the fight.

No Back of the Head Shots

In both sports back of the head strikes are not allowed for the safety of each fighter.

Ring vs Cage

In the earlier days, MMA fights (not in the UFC) took place in rings. Nowadays, almost every MMA fight happens in a caged octagon.

On the other hand, boxing fights take place in a ring.

Why Does this Matter?

Rings are made up 4 ropes that you can actually go through, where as the octagon is impossible to go through.

Boxers are able to lean against the ropes to avoid punches or 'cover up' until they are able to regain their composure.

Boxers also lean against the ropes when he takes a big punch that knocks him off balance and at times they can even grab the ropes to rebalance themselves.

That happens to be where the term 'He has him on the ropes' comes from.

In MMA, fighters use the cage as leverage in order to implement grappling heavy game plans. They are able back the other fighter's back against the cage and limit their movement.

On the other hand, fighters are also able to use the cage to get up quicker vs a take down (getting up in the middle of the octagon is harder to do).

Glove sizes

MMA has smaller sized gloves which allows for more knockouts to occur as the fighters have less protection and are able to land harder hitting shots with more speed.

MMA gloves are typically 8 oz.

mma gloves

In boxing the gloves can range in size as they depend on weight. Boxers can use 10 oz gloves, up to 18 oz gloves in a fight.

boxing gloves

Having heavier gloves in theory protects the fighter more, at the same time when those punches land, they will hit harder due to how heavy the punch ends up being.

This is an ongoing debate and many people are conflicted on this.

Who Makes More Money

This however isn't up for debate. Boxers make a considerable amount of more money than UFC fighters.

Even a YouTube star Jake Paul who has only had 3 professional fights had made $690,000 in salary alone vs Ben Askren. This means after pay per view he has made millions of dollars off of one fight.




On the other hand more established fighters in MMA such as Jon Jones, who is arguably one of the greatest of all times with a record of 26-1-0 had a salary of $540,000 prior to pay per view.


This is very concerning to all MMA fighters as someone who has seen it all and done it all is getting paid less than a YouTube star who has fought 3 low competition 'fighters'.

What is Better to Know for Real Life Situations

Most fights end up on the ground, so the easy answer to say is MMA. However, it's not that easy.

Boxing is fundamentally one of the most important sports to learn as closed punches in fights has existed since the start of human existence.

If someone who trains boxing is able to keep the fight standing up, there is no doubt that they will have the advantage there.

On the other hand, if someone who trains MMA is well versed in every aspect, striking, grappling, and clinching, he will have the advantage no matter where the fight goes.

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