Does Height Matter in a Fight? | Simply Explained

In this page we will cover whether height matters in a fight, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of being a taller fighter.

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Table of Contents

Does Height Matter in a Fight?

Height does matter in a fight, and being the taller fighter in most cases leads to having a longer reach. A long reach impacts a fight directly, as the fighter with the longer reach will be able to hit their opponent from a longer distance away. A taller fighter with a longer reach will be able to hit their opponent and get out of their opponent's range without being hit back.

punch mma 

However, a taller fighter with a longer reach has a glaring weakness. Due to their longer arms, their arms will take longer to reset back to their 'blocking position' than it would for a fighter with shorter arms. Additionally, from a shorter distance, they will have problems generating any type of meaningful power.

This means that if a shorter fighter is able to get inside of the range of a taller opponent, they can have massive success.

Taller Fighters Countering Shorter Fighters

Taller fighters that understand their own weaknesses due to body type will have a plan to counter the shorter fighters who get inside of their range.

elbow strike

This is why you'll see fighters like Jon Jones who is 6 ft 4 and has an 84" reach, routinely use elbows. In fact, he uses elbows so often that at times it almost seems like he is 'spamming' them.

Jones's elbows are devastating and he often even uses them in mid-distance range as a replacement for a jab.

Is it Better to be Taller or Shorter in a Fight?

What is the Best Height For Fighting?

You can have success being a taller fighter or a shorter fighter as long as you adapt your style accordingly.

There have been many short UFC fighters who have found massive success, and almost all of them added wrestling into their arsenal.

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Why? It's simple. A shorter fighter has to close the range versus a taller fighter, and besides punching once they're in range, they have to be able to have another plan if their opponent is able to neutralize their strikes.

By having the threat of a take down from the clinch (or just taking down from a shorter distance in general), shorter fighters can take the fight to the mat, and eliminate their opponent's reach advantage. Reach advantage on the ground matters minimally compared to when striking standing up.

Is Height an Advantage in a Fight?

Height can be a massive advantage in a fight as long as it is coupled with another skill such as striking. Israel Adesanya has had enormous success in his MMA career due to using his elite striking to complement his height. The Last Stylebender has been able to rack up 21 wins while only losing once.

However being the taller fighter doesn't guarantee success. Take for example Stefan Struve who is the tallest fighter in UFC history at 7 ft tall.

Struve would at times baffle analysts as he would not throw a jab in his fights despite being the much taller fighter, and just have a game plan that would not tailor to his physical strengths in many of his fights.

He would retire after losing 5 of his last 6 fights in the UFC.