15 Best MMA Gyms in the World (2020)


15 Best MMA Gyms in the World (2020)

In today’s article, we will – once again – discuss MMA gyms. This time, we are going to bring you a list of the best MMA gyms around the world. MMA gyms are very specific and they prepare you for a lot of stuff, but not every gym you find is really good. Certainly, if you have no ambitions of becoming a professional, then this issue is really not that important for you, but if you actually want to start a professional career, it is of vital importance that you pick a good gym that offers the best training programme according to your abilities. So, let us see some of the best MMA gyms out there. 

Note: The gyms are not ranked by their quality, but are just listed in alphabetical order.

Also, if you are interested in best Muay Thai gyms, here is our top 20 list of best Muay Thai gyms in the world.

Alliance MMA

Location: San Diego, CA, United States

Alliance MMA is an MMA organization offering promotions and one of the best and most famous MMA gyms in the world. Alliance MMA’s mission is to identify and develop the next generation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and other leading MMA promotion champions including The World Series of Fighting and Bellator. It was founded back in 2007 by UFC star Brandon Vera and coach Lloyd Irvin. Since then both Vera and Irvin have departed the team, but the gym continues to be one of the most prominent in all of MMA under the guidance of the current head coach Eric Del Fierro.

Its headquarters is in San Diego, California, and Alliance MMA enjoys the reputation of one of the best MMA gyms in the world today.

Famous fighters: Dominick Cruz, Jeremy Stevens, Alexander Gustafsson, Angela Hill, Phil Davis

American Kickboxing Academy

Location: San Jose, CA, United States 

The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) is a martial arts gym based in San Jose, California. It is one of the best and most famous schools of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the world. The AKA has its headquarters located in South San Jose. In 2014 AKA opened the AKA Thailand Gym in Phuket, Thailand, thus becoming a multinational franchise. Prominent trainers include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Leandro Vieira, Bob Cook, Derek Yuen, Javier Mendez, and Andy Fong. Within the gym, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling and Boxing classes are taught. Additional programs include conditioning and circuit training with TRX Suspension and Combat Circuit. The American Kickboxing Academy is one of the top professional MMA training camps. As of 2020, the AKA roster includes both the #2 and the UFC Lightweight Champion (Khabib Nurmagomedov) and #6 ranked fighter Daniel Cormier in the official UFC pound-for-pound rankings. 

Famous fighters: Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Cain Velasquez, Leon Edwards

American Top Team

Location: Coconut Creek, FL, United States

American Top Team (ATT) is one of the most famous and best MMA gyms in the world. The gym was founded in 2001 by Dan Lambert, who brought in former members of Brazilian Top Team Marcus “Conan” Silveira, Marcelo Silveira and Ricardo Liborio, but there is no formal affiliation between the two teams, despite the similarities in their names. ATT’s main academy is in Coconut Creek, Florida, and there are affiliated academies throughout the United States, meaning that ATT is a national franchise gym. ATT features professional fighters who have competed in many major promotions, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), PRIDE Fighting Championships, DREAM, K-1, Strikeforce, and Bellator. 

Famous fighters: Dustin Poirier, Amanda Nunes, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Yoel Romero, Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Location: Pleasant Hill, CA, United States 

Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training facility located in Pleasant Hill, California and is home to numerous highly ranked mixed martial artists who compete in organizations such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The academy was opened by Cesar Gracie, one of the members of the famous Gracie family, the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Despite its name, the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu gym (academy) is actually an MMA academy. 

Famous fighters: Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Dave Bautista, Jake Shields, Joe Schilling

City Kickboxing

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

City Kickboxing is a mixed martial arts training academy based in Auckland, New Zealand. The gym features professional fighters who have competed in many major promotions, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator and ONE Championship. Eugene Bareman and Doug Viney founded City Kickboxing back in 2007. The duo hoped that having their own premises would allow them to focus more on their training but soon found the economics of running a gym was all-consuming and soon after transitioned to training professional fighters.

Famous fighters: Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski, Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France, Shane Young

Evolve MMA

Location: Singapore, Singapore

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts (which is not connected to the similarly named, but different Evolve Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy) is a chain of martial arts academies and home to one of the leading teams in mixed martial arts. Founded by Chatri Sityodtong, it started working back in January 2009. 

According to Yahoo Sports Singapore, Evolve MMA has the largest roster of world champions across multiple martial arts sports. It has world champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Wrestling and No-Gi Grappling among others, which shows its diversity and the width of its training programmes. There are currently four Evolve MMA academies: Evolve Far East Square, Evolve Orchard Central, Evolve KINEX, and Evolve Clarke Quay in Singapore. There is also Evolve University, the largest online university for martial arts. Evolve MMA is affiliated to Sityodtong Muay Thai. Chatri Sityodtong has stated that he wants to open an Evolve MMA camp in every major Asian city.

Famous fighters: Rafael dos Anjos, Angela Lee, Shinya Aoki

Jackson-Wink MMA

Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States

The Jackson-Wink MMA academy was founded back in 1992 as Jackson’s MMA academy, but later changed its name to Jackson-Wink MMA. It is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is arguably one of the most important landmarks in the city. The academy put the city on the map back in the mid-2000s, as they sent a crazy amount of fighters into the UFC – names like Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine and Rashad Evans – with the majority of them seeing instant success. That instant success shone a new spotlight onto coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, and soon some of the best fighters in the world rushed to New Mexico to train with Jackson and Wink. 

Names like Georges St-Pierre, Andrei Arlovski, Nate Marquardt and Jon Jones flocked to Albuquerque for their training and their in-fight game-plans, and while the success continued and Jackson’s reputation soared, some of the originals – such as Sanchez and Evans – were pushed away from the team, changing it massively from its early days. It is today considered to be one of the best and most respectable MMA gyms in the world.

Famous fighters: Jon Jones, Andrei Arlovski, Carlos Condit, Cub Swanson, Diego Brandão, Holly Holm, Michelle Waterson, Ali Baguatinov, Magomed Mustafaev

Kings MMA

Location: Huntington Beach, CA, United States

Kings MMA is a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym located in Huntington Beach, California, led by coach Rafael Cordeiro. A successful mixed martial artist in his native Brazil, Cordeiro decided to move to United States in 2008 and in 2010, he founded the Kings MMA gym. 

Coach Cordeiro and Kings MMA have been nominees for the 2014 World MMA Awards “Best coach of the year” and “Best gym of the year”, respectively. Cordeiro had won the 2012 and 2016 coach of the year awards. Kings MMA is one of the top professional MMA training camps. The gym has attracted several famous and important MMA fighters from around the world.

Famous fighters: Fabrício Werdum, Wanderlei Silva, Kelvin Gastelum

Nova União

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nova União is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) academy and mixed martial arts (MMA) gym located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their BJJ black belts have participated in BJJ, submission grappling and MMA competitions all over the world. This is an example of a BJJ-orientated MMA academy that has a lot of programmes it offers.BJ Penn’s victory at the Mundials marked the first time a non-Brazilian native won gold in the black belt category. Since 2008 Nova União has become a familiar name in the Mixed Martial Arts scene as a result of stabling the former #1 ranked featherweight fighter in the world, Jose Aldo, as well as Renan Barão, the former UFC Bantamweight champion, and another top ten ranked featherweight in Marlon Sandro. Nova União is one of the top professional MMA training camps.

Famous fighters: Jose Aldo Jr, Renan Barão, Junior Dos Santos, Leonardo Santos, Ketlen Vieira

Phuket Top Team

Location: Phuket Thauland

Phuket Top Team is an MMA gym based in Phuket, Thailand, the centre of Thailand’s martial arts. It was founded back in 2012 by Boyd Clarke and has since gained the reputation of one of the best gyms in the world. It offers a varied programme based on several martial arts and has managed to attract some of the most competitive fighters from around the globe. Phuket’s fighters have fought in promotions organised by the UFC and Bellator, which is proof enough of its good reputation. 

Famous fighters: Vaughan Lee

Roufusport

Location: Milwaukee, WI, United States

Roufusport Martial Arts is one of the best MMA academies in the world; it is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the headquarters of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Roufusport has a long heritage of top fighters from around that world that choose to train with master Duke Roufus. The Roufusport academy also offers an online training academy so that is something to definitely look into if you’re interested in an online academy that is top of the line.

Famous fighters: Anthony Pettis, CM Punk, Paul Felder, Belal Muhammed, Sergio Pettis

Sanford MMA

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

What is now Sanford MMA, was once known as Hard Knocks 365 and is still formally known as the “Blackzilians”. It is a great, no – a top MM gym located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The academy itself is has over 30,000 square feet of space and the total amount of professional fighters that train out of Sanford MMA is truly amazing. Sanford MMA also has some of the top MMA coaches in the world, like Henri Hooft.

Famous fighters: Kamaru Usman, Michael Johnson, Luke Rockhold, Volkan Oezdemir, Stefan Struve

SBG Ireland

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Straight Blast Gym Ireland (or SGB Ireland) is a mixed martial arts academy and professional team based in Dublin, Ireland. It is run by John Kavanagh, and is part of Straight Blast Gym International. The team has produced several Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters, most notably being Conor McGregor. The gym was founded in 2001 by John Kavanagh, who was a black belt in karate. Later that year it became part of Matt Thornton’s Straight Blast Gym International (SBGi), a worldwide association of over 35 gyms, after Kavanagh met Thornton at a tournament in Africa. After partnering with SBGi, Thornton awarded Kavanagh his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) purple belt in 2002. Three years later, Kavanagh won gold at the 2005 European BJJ Championship. In 2007, he was awarded his BJJ black belt, making Kavanagh Ireland’s first ever BJJ black belt in the process.

Famous fighters: Conor McGregor, Gunnar Nelson, Artem Lobov, Dillon Danis

Team Alpha Male

Location: Sacramento, CA, United States

Team Alpha Male is yet another famous MMA gym based in the United States. It was founded by Urijah Faber, a famous American mixed martial artist, back in 2004. The team trains primarily out of Ultimate Fitness located in Sacramento, California and has produced professional fighters such as Sage Northcutt, Josh Emmett, Joseph Benavidez, Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo, Chris Holdsworth, Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins, Song Yadong, and former UFC Bantamweight Champions, T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. Members of the team played an integral part of Team Faber during season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter. From December 2012 to May 2014 the head coach of Team Alpha Male was the 2013 MMA Coach of the Year UFC veteran Duane Ludwig. Long-time UFC contender Martin Kampmann began serving as coach for the team in September 2014.

Famous fighters: Cody Garbrandt, Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins, Cynthia Calvillo, Clay Guida

Tiger Muay Thai

Location: Phuket, Thailand

Our last gym on the list, Tiger Muay Thai is practically a martial artists heaven, also located in Phuket, Thailand; Tiger Muay Thai has one of the most diverse MMA gyms in the world. With beginner, intermediate, advanced and even pro level classes offered, Tiger Muay Thai is without a doubt one of the best MMA gyms in the world. In addition to MMA, TMT also offers daily fitness classes with some of the best instructors in the world, so you can imagine how good and respected it is.

Famous fighters: Valentina Shevchenko, Tarec Saffiedine, Dan Hooker, Ben Nguyen, Israel Adesanya

Well, that covers our list of the 15 best MMA gyms around the world. If you want to know more about the world of martial arts, please follow us and see you next time.

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