Before marching into battle, it helps to know your enemy. There really are no “enemies” in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), but researching your opponent is a successful tactic in all realms of combat.
Some fighters assert that scouting opponents is counter-productive because it makes you over-analyze and doubt yourself. This position is untenable. If you view a video of your adversary’s most recent fight, learn that he is primarily a wrestler then work on your takedown defense, how could this research be counter-productive?
Although athletic commissions now regulate MMA in many states, it is possible for opponents to lie about background, experience, fight record and weight. Fighters will often use deception to gain an unfair advantage.
Here are a few tips for researching your next victim. It is tricky sorting facts from rumors, but arming yourself with knowledge is better than walking into a fight totally blind. Remember to do your homework but also enter the cage prepared for chaos.
Ask coaches and training partners if they know anything about your opponent. Perhaps they trained with him, observed him at a show or watched him on video. Maybe they witnessed his mat skills at a Jiu-jitsu tournament. Also interview his former opponents to get their assessment of his strengths and weaknesses.
Ask the promoter to provide videos of your opponent from previous shows. Inquire about his school affiliation, background, experience, etc., but always be skeptical of the promoter’s input. Promoters rarely have your best interests in mind.
There are several online MMA databases that provide statistics for amateur and professional fighters, such as mixedmartialarts.com and sherdog.com. They sometimes post photos and even videos.
Search social websites such as facebook.com and myspace.com. Your adversary may have posted his exploits on youtube.com or other video sharing sites. Information might also be displayed on his school’s website. Temporarily take down your fight videos posted on the internet so that your opponent cannot scout you.
On the day of your fight recruit a friend to stakeout your opponent. Maybe he can observe him warming up or going over tactics. If your spy can record this on his cell phone camera, all the better, but remind him not to risk his life doing it. When you warm up and drill with your coaches, do so in a secluded area.
Once you gather as much information as possible, formulate a strategy. Train hard, get in shape and go to war.
For more tips on how to prepare for an MMA fight, check out: