MMA Equipment for Beginners: 8 Items You Absolutely Need

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mma equipment for beginners

Getting into mixed martial arts (MMA) is an awesome way to improve physical strength, enhance mental resilience, and develop disciplined focus. And having the proper MMA equipment for beginners is essential if you want to set yourself up for success.

This comprehensive guide is designed to serve as a beginner-friendly primer, providing you with clear, concise, and helpful information about the essential fight gear you’ll need to get started.

Glove at First Fight: MMA Gloves

When stepping into the world of MMA, one of the first things you’ll notice is the unique gloves that fighters wear. Unlike the bulky boxing gloves you’ve seen before, MMA requires different type of glove that are smaller and more flexible.

MMA gloves serve dual purposes: they protect your hands during high-impact strikes and allow your fingers to perform grappling maneuvers.

As a beginner, consider training gloves, which typically offer a bit more padding than competition gloves. They’ll offer protection while you learn the ropes and hone your technique. And using the best MMA gloves can help ensure that your introduction to the sport is safe and effective.

Here are some reliable and suitable gloves for anyone thinking to get into MMA:

1. Everlast Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves: Everlast is a reputable brand in combat sports, and their Pro Style MMA Grappling Gloves offer excellent protection, durability, and comfort. These gloves are particularly beginner-friendly because of their full wrist wrap strap for that crucial extra wrist support.

2. Venum Challenger MMA Gloves: Designed to deliver optimal impact protection, which is critical for beginners. They feature layered foam for better shock absorption and a wide Velcro closure for a secure fit.

3. RDX MMA Gloves: Known for their quality and resilience. These gloves are built with robust Maya Hide leather and offer excellent padding. They also feature a Quick-EZ hook-and-loop closure for a snug and comfortable fit.

4. Combat Sports Pro-Style MMA Gloves: Combat Sports Pro-Style MMA Gloves are another solid choice for beginners. These gloves are designed with ample padding (3/4 inch thick) and robust construction made with synthetic leather for maximum durability and safety. Because of this, they can take up to a week to break in, but then you’ll be good to go.

5. Sanabul Core 7 oz MMA Hybrid Sparring Gloves: These Sanabul gloves are a hybrid between training gloves and MMA gloves, making them perfect for beginners who may want to dabble in other martial arts as well. This piece of training equipment is designed to be versatile, offering the padding needed for heavy bag workouts and the flexibility required for grappling.

Keep that Lovely Smile: The Mouth Guard

MMA is a contact sport; like any contact sport, safety is paramount. A quality mouthguard is an essential piece of MMA equipment for beginners and veterans alike. It protects your teeth and jaw during training and competition.

Finding a comfortable mouthguard is critical, as it can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a severe injury. 

You should wear a mouthguard whenever you do even the lightest of sparring because one accidental movement from a training partner could result in some serious dental damage. 

Some good options for this important piece of MMA equipment for beginners can be found below:

1. Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouth Guard: This mouthguard from Shock Doctor is a popular choice in the MMA community. Its gel-fit liner and exoskeletal shock frame provide a good fit and excellent protection. Plus, it comes with a case for hygiene ;).

2. Venum Challenger Mouthguard: Designed to offer a perfect combination of comfort and protection, the Venum Challenger Mouthguard features an advanced gel frame for better adjustment and increased cushioning for both upper and lower teeth, reducing the risk of injuries.

3. SISU Aero 1.6mm Custom Fit Sports Mouthguard: This mouthguard is unique because it’s a slim, custom-fit mouthguard that allows you to talk and breathe comfortably during training. It’s made from a non-compressible, perforated, high-quality material that distributes impact force over a larger area to protect your teeth. Just know it’s made for contact sports but not combat sports!

4. OPRO Power-Fit Mouthguard: The OPRO Power-Fit mouthguard offers a highly personalized fit with its unique self-fit system. This makes it more comfortable to wear while ensuring maximum protection. It’s suitable for all combat sports and comes with an anti-microbial case.

5. Safejawz Mouthguard Slim Fit: Safejawz offers a unique design that makes it easy to mold for a personalized fit. It’s designed to provide excellent protection, and its slim fit design is more comfortable for those who find bulkier options overwhelming.

And after you choose a mouthguard, make sure you mold it correctly! This video will help.

The Importance of Hand Wraps

Hand wraps might seem like an afterthought, but they are an integral part of your safety equipment in MMA. They are used under your gloves to support your wrists and hands, drastically reducing the risk of injuries like sprains and fractures.

handwraps are important mma equipment for beginners

Hand wraps are easy to use – they’re wrapped around your hands and wrists before you put on your gloves.

Some great options are below:

1. Fairtex Elastic Cotton Hand Wraps: These wraps from Fairtex, a well-respected brand in combat sports, are made from elastic cotton for a snug, comfortable fit. They are 4.5 meters long, which is ample length for most users.

2. Sanabul Elastic Professional Hand Wraps: Sanabul is known for its quality combat sports gear, and its hand wraps are no exception. They’re made from a blend of cotton, polyester, and elastic for a good balance between comfort and support. At 180 inches, they’re a great length for beginners.

3. Meister MMA Semi-Elastic Hand Wraps: The Meister MMA hand wraps are designed to offer a good mix of elasticity and rigidity. They provide excellent wrist support, are easy to wrap, and at 180 inches, offer enough length for ample protection.

4. RDX Hand Wraps: RDX Hand Wraps are made with a blend of carbon fiber and woven cotton that offers both durability and comfort. These 4.5-meter wraps feature a hook and loop closure for easy application and secure fastening.

5. Venum Boxing Hand Wraps: Venum Boxing Hand Wraps offer 2.5 meters of hand and wrist protection. Made from elastic cotton for a tight fit and excellent support, these wraps also include a thumb strap for added security.

Designed for the Fight: MMA Shorts

The attire you wear during training and competition must be functional and comfortable. That’s where MMA shorts come in. These shorts are designed to be lightweight, durable, and allow a full range of motion, which is crucial for performing an array of moves in MMA.

From high kicks to takedown maneuvers, MMA shorts offer the flexibility and comfort you need to perform at your best.

Some good recommendations include:

1. Venum Gladiator 3.0 Fight shorts: These shorts are designed with mobility in mind, making them ideal for MMA. They’re lightweight, durable, and feature side slits for adequate movement and range. The design is simple and comes in various colors.

2. Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts: Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts are an excellent choice for beginners due to their blend of comfort, durability, and affordability. They feature an athletic fit, reinforced stitching, and a secure hook and loop closure system.

3. Hayabusa Hexagon Mid-Thigh Fight Shorts: Hayabusa’s Chikara Fight Shorts are known for their durability and comfort. They feature a tie system for a secure fit, split seams for flexibility, and are made from a polyester and elastane combo that resists wear and tear.

4. RDX MMA Shorts: offer excellent comfort and durability. They’re made from a breathable fabric, which helps to keep you cool during training. The shorts also feature a stretch panel and split seams to ensure full range of motion.

5. Anthem Athletics Resilience MMA Shorts: These shorts from Anthem Athletics are designed to focus on mobility and comfort. They’re made from tear-resistant fabric, have an adjustable waistband for a comfortable fit, and feature large side slits for increased flexibility.

Headgear: Safeguarding Your Head

Although not always used in professional MMA competitions, you can’t wrap your head around MMA training without a proper headgear. Headgear is important MMA equipment for beginners during training sessions. It serves as an extra layer of protection, helping to reduce the risk of cuts, bruises, and other head injuries.

Headgear covers crucial areas such as your forehead, ears, and often your cheeks, ensuring you can train safely as you learn the basics of MMA.

Here are some options worth considering:

1. Venum Giant 3.0 Headgear: This bad boy is popular due to its high-density foam construction, which offers excellent shock absorption. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and gives full coverage, protecting your temples, chin, and cheeks.

2. Everlast Boxing & Martial Arts Headgear Elite Rtl: Everlast is a trusted name in combat sports, and their Everfresh Headgear Elite Rtl lives up to its reputation. It provides full coverage and is designed with an adjustable chin strap and back padding for a secure and comfortable fit.

3. RDX Headguard for MMA: is a durable, lightweight headguard suitable for MMA training. It features a quick EZ hook-and-loop closure for a secure fit and is designed with multi-layered gel padding for optimal shock absorption.

4. Sanabul Essential Professional Headgear: Sanabul’s Essential Professional Headgear offers great protection and comfort at an affordable price. It’s made from synthetic leather for durability and features full-face protection, including a padded chin and cheek guards.

5. Hayabusa T3 MMA and Boxing Headgear: The Hayabusa T3 is designed for both MMA and boxing, offering a high level of protection. It features multi-layered padding, and a large field of vision and is made from odor-resistant, anti-microbial, high quality materials to keep it fresh and clean.

Essential Defense: Shin Guards

MMA incorporates elements of Muay Thai and kickboxing. For that reason, your shins and feet are regularly exposed to high-impact contact. 

A trustworthy pair of shin guards are an essential piece of protective gear. Shin guards offer optimal protection when you’re delivering kicks or defending against them. As a beginner, choose a shin guard with extra padding. They’ll provide the additional cushioning needed while developing your technique and tolerance.

If you need any proof that shin guards are essential MMA equipment for beginners, take a look at the video above.

Here are out top recommendations of some suitable types of shin guards:

1. Venum Elite Shin Guards: This shin guard from Venum is a great choice because of its lightweight design, effective protection, and Velcro closure system for a secure fit. They’re suitable for both striking and grappling sessions.

2. Fairtex Competition Shin Guards: Fairtex is a well-known brand in the combat sports world, and their competition shin guards are well-suited for MMA beginners. They offer good coverage and excellent padding and are known for their durability.

3. Hayabusa T3 Striking Shin Guards: Hayabusa’s T3 Striking Shin Guards are designed with a pre-curved form that fits naturally to your shin. They offer a dual-strap system for a secure fit and have excellent padding for additional protection.

4. RDX Shin Guards: RDX Shin Guards are made with resilient Maya Hide leather and feature a QD-1 sweat-wicking lining to keep you dry and comfortable during your training sessions. They’re designed with a dual-strap system for secure fitting.

5. Sanabul Essential Hybrid Kickboxing MMA Shin Guards: Sanabul’s Hybrid Shin Guards are perfect for beginners due to their secure fit and adequate protection. They feature hook and loop closure for easy adjustability, and the neoprene backing ensures comfort and durability.

And you might also want to further protect your shins with some shine conditioning exercises.

Suitable Martial Arts Apparel: Rash Guards

rashguards are important mma equipment for beginners

A rash guard is an important piece of MMA equipment for beginners who will be grappling or rolling.

The type of attire you wear in training can depend on the specific disciplines incorporated in your MMA curriculum. A rash guard is going to be an important piece of MMA equipment for beginners, if your training includes no-gi BJJ or submission wrestling (and it’s usually worn under wrestling singlets).

It’s a fitted athletic shirt that protects against mat burns and potential skin infections like staph. It’s designed to be robust yet comfortable, supporting your performance during intense grappling sessions. And some in the BJJ community like coach John Danaher has been known to wear them at all times.

If you’re looking for some recommendations of rash guards that will keep you comfortable even when you find yourself in a rear naked choke, check our list below:

1. Sanabul Essentials Short Sleeve Compression Rash Guard: Sanabul Essentials Rash Guard is ideal for beginners with its affordable price, durable fabric, and UV SPF 50 protection. It features reinforced stitching and a comfortable compression fit.

2. Hayabusa Fusion Long Sleeve Rashguard: Hayabusa’s Metaru Charged Rashguard offers excellent durability and comfort. It features a silicone waistband to keep it in place during training. It is made with anti-microbial technology to keep the skin safe from bacteria.

3. Elite Sports Rash Guard: The Elite Sports Rash Guard is lightweight and durable, providing optimal mobility. It’s made with multi-panel construction, high-density stitching, and anti-microbial and anti-itch material.

Groin Guards: Protecting the Family Jewels

It takes balls to train MMA and so you’re going to want to protect yours. In fact, keeping your groin safe is an absolute necessity in combat sports and we’ve written about this before.

A high-quality groin guard (also known as a jock guard or cup) can make all the difference in determining whether you have a positive or very negative experience training. Here are a few options ideal for beginners:

1. Shock Doctor Core Compression Short with Bio-Flex Cup: Shock Doctor offers a great combination of compression shorts and a protective cup. The Bio-Flex cup is designed to shield and transfer shocks away from areas where protection is most crucial. And the cup placement is designed to provide the most comfort possible.

2. Diamond MMA Athletic Cup Groin Protector: The Diamond MMA Athletic Cup is known for its excellent protection and comfort. It’s been designed with a co-molded elastomer design coupled with a polycarbonate core to provide uncompromising comfort and protection.

3. RDX Groin Guard: RDX provides a high-quality groin guard once again made from Maya Hide leather. It’s designed to offer maximum protection without sacrificing comfort or freedom of movement. But just consider getting a slightly bigger size than what you’re used to as it can feel quite small on the gonzadz.

4. Venum Competitor Groin Guard & Cup: The Venum Competitor Groin Guard & Cup is designed with a double-layer shock absorber, and a rubber gel shield for comfort and protection. Its design offers a perfect balance between comfort, mobility, and protection.

5. Meister Carbon Flex Groin Protector Cup: Meister’s groin protector cup offers a lightweight yet strong design with flexible edges for maximum comfort. The vent holes provide ventilation, while the carbon fiber finish offers enhanced protection.

Final Word on Essential MMA Equipment for Beginners

Venturing into MMA can seem like a daunting challenging but it’s not actually a big risk and has lots of great rewards. With the right gear for beginners in your corner, you’re on your way to becoming a skilled MMA practitioner.

Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and finding the gear that fits you best is an essential part of the process. Welcome to the world of MMA. Here’s to embarking on a journey of physical prowess, mental toughness, and disciplined growth.

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We're a team of fight fans and martial arts practitioners. Many of us have been involved in martial arts our entire lives.