MMA vs. Strongman

In Strongman Mastery by admin4 Comments

The following is a heavyweight bout from May 23, 2015 where former five-time world’s strongest man Mariusz Pudzianowski quickly knocks out Rolles Gracie, a 4th degree black belt in BJJ and 3rd degree in Judo.

In the beginning of the UFC Royce Gracie grabbed everyone’s attention by taking out much bigger opponents with Brazilian jiu-jitsu effectively putting that style on the map.

The Gracies and others have relied mostly on technique in taking down bigger opponents. Of course technique is very, very important.

…And so is strength.

I’m reminded of when Royce Gracie came back to the UFC to fight against Matt Hughes. I would say that Gracie had better technique than Hughes, but Hughes didn’t lack for technique in the same way some of those earlier fighters did. Here Hughes strength is what helped to deliver a TKO on Gracie.

UFC 60

And in this above fight, you could say it was a fluke to some degree. There is definitely something to be said for the luck component in a knockout. But certainly having the strength and power behind that is a big thing.

Overall, Pudzianowski’s record is 9 wins and 4 losses.

For a long time martial artists were afraid of lifting weights for fear of becoming muscle-bound. Few believe that anymore, though there are still some.

And of course bodybuilding (unfortunately all the masses know of when it comes to strength training, including many MMA guys) is a far cry from the many other strength building options.

If you are a martial artist, competing or not, then technique is hugely important. The majority of your time should be spent on that. That skill component simply can’t be built any other way.

AND building strength and the other qualities of movement are critical too. This can be done in a fraction of the time if you do it right.

A great resource on this subject is Deceptive Strength. This book specifically addresses becoming strong in many ways without needed to bulk up in order to do it. Very popular for anyone that is working to stay in a certain weight class.

Deceptive Strength for Martial Artists


  1. Thank you, not sure if you noticed the technique the strong man himself used..
    Before that well photographed huge right hand was thrown watch what he did prior with his left..

  2. I agree that strength is the real key to fighting success. The thing is, that everyone is working on skill, so one needs an edge. I trained in Wing Chun, where at least in the early days (1980s), weight training was said by the sifu to make one “stiff.” I trained in power lifting and Dino training and could easily beat opponents in sticking hands. I had a private sparring match with one of the grandmasters. This was the lesser skilled but strong versus the peak master of skill. The result was a draw.
    It is obvious that the unskilled strong guy can be cut down by the skilled fighter. But skill advantages can be reduced and eliminated by adding more strength. Hell, more muscle means that he can take more punishment.

  3. good ole’ Bruce often talked about improving one’s overall combat attributes; these were not limited to any one specific area. He lamented that many martial artists limited themselves to improving pet-areas, such as skill, and neglecting the rest.(in general)

    women(in general) for example, would do well to improve the ability to take a hit & overall physical strength, when it comes to self-defense.

    men(in general) neglect hand strength.

    and that is NOT taking into account mental and other “borderline” aspects that make up the whole person. 🙂

  4. But he also has martial arts training. He had a black belt in Kyokushin Karate before he won his first WSM competition

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