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How to Handle Bigger Opponents (MMA Q+A)

One of the most common questions I’m asked on the regular is how to handle opponents that are bigger, stronger, or simply weight more than you. Trust me: I know it can seem like an impossible feat to launch yourself against someone twice your size, but I have several tips in the latest MMA Q+A that can help your strategy in dealing with bigger opponents.


Handling Bigger Opponents

As daunting as going up against a “bigger” or (from all appearances) stronger opponent may be, you actually have more advantages as the smaller guy than you think. Below I’m breaking down how speed, wrestling, and movement to the inside can help you come out on top when competing with someone several times your size.


Speed Kills

Believe it or not, there can actually be a drawback in having a longer reach (or a heavier one, if your opponent is bulkier), and that is lack of speed.

Now, this isn’t to say that everyone with a long reach has a slower strike – it simply means that having lengthier, heavier limbs can result in less speed. The lighter, more compact opponent, on the other hand, has to move less bulk through space, which can result in swifter strikes. If you’re the smaller guy, focus on using speed to navigate between your opponent’s strikes, and keeping your own strikes swift, with the aim being to surprise and disorient to open up the opportunity to land that KO hit.


Ground Game 

This may seem extremely counter-intuitive, but wrestling a larger opponent may be a good strategy, especially if they aren’t as well-versed in grappling. This is because any type of grappling or jiu-jitsu relies less on your own total strength and more on using your opponents’ strength against him. Consider an armbar or joint lock, for instance: once you have someone in one of these, it isn’t our strength that defeats them, but the dangerous angle in which you hold their body.

In grappling and wrestling, physics is on your side.


Work Your Way Inside

Move, move, and move some more when dealing with someone larger than you. This not only keeps you out of the line of fire, but also tires out lager opponents faster, so they start moving slower. When this happens, your aim should be to start working your way inside, between strikes, and strike quickly where you can. Once this begins to really wear down the other guy, you’ll start seeing more gaps to land “shock and surprise” strikes, which can be followed with heavier hits to end the game.

An awesome way to train for this is to master the Forward Tyson Drill: one of the most intimidating, confusing (for your opponent!), valuable moves in the industry, courtesy of the legend himself. I break it down step-by-step here.


MMA Q+A: Handling Bigger Opponents and Other Questions, Answered

In the latest MMA Q+A (head on over and subscribe to the YouTube to be notified of new Q+A sessions!) I answer some of the top questions I get regarding technique and also elaborate on handling bigger and stronger opponents.

Along with Q+A, I also share various techniques with examples over on YouTube, like Advanced Boxing Techniques, and diet tips. If you want more in-depth, step-by-step training, definitely sign up for the FREE trial of my Fit and Fight Ready Course.

In the course, you’ll get 100+ HD instructional videos by me to build a solid martial arts foundation and perfect your technique, so take advantage while the trial lasts!

4 thoughts on “How to Handle Bigger Opponents (MMA Q+A)

    1. Yo TJ I have a question I’m 32 years old I used to be able to throw combinations in gym and not get tired as easier I’m told it’s my breath control and punches aren’t in sync what exactly does this mean ?

      1. You’re breath control with punches is like when you’re lifting, breathe out when you punch (the energy expending move) and inhale as you reset. Also, at 32 you may have to kick your training into a higher gear to avoid fatigue, that’s just something that happens to everyone with age! Take care and keep crushing your training!

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