The 7 Most Effective Martial Arts In The Cage

Every martial art has its benefits, but some fighting disciplines are more effective than others in the ONE Championship cage.

Though ONE allows combatants to express themselves and lets them incorporate any, and every, technique into their respective fighting styles, there are certain martial arts that translate into results better than others.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Made world-renowned by the famed Gracie family, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has become the ultimate submission discipline used to tap people out. Practitioners who use BJJ are dangerous at all times, because they are able to finish their opponents from a variety of positions — be it standing, kneeling or on the ground — and they can utilize a hold targeting any body part from top to bottom.

To succeed in the cage, one must know some level of BJJ because it is the single most important ground fighting discipline available. It is also favored because the style is more technique-based than it is power-based, making it suitable for everyone.

The “gentle art” is undoubtedly on the rise here in Asia, with new dojos being set up all the time. There are also several elite black belts and world champions showcasing its effectiveness in ONE Championship, most notably ONE Light Heavyweight World Champion Roger Gracie, who is also a 10-time world champion in the discipline, and ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov.

Muay Thai

The storied martial art from Thailand has become the foremost striking discipline of choice for cage combatants worldwide, because the discipline’s techniques allow the attacker to impose every punch, kick, elbow and knee strike with absolute power.

Not only will the strikes help keep an opponent wary of being knocked out and at a healthy distance, but it is also crucial for practitioners to develop a decisive clinch game.

Muay Thai has become the standard in striking and there are plenty of athletes who use this style as their primary base. Look no further than former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, who is a multi-time Lumpinee world champion.


Many experts believe wrestling is one of the most crucial martial arts disciplines of them all. Wrestling will allow a practitioner to take their opponent down whenever he or she desires, as well as keep the opponent grounded, dictate the pace of the bout, and switch their positions much easier.

Wrestlers are known for their never-ending gas tanks, and their ability to tire their opponents out. Just ask a former olympian such as undefeated 16-0 ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, who has the ability and the talent to practically take his opponent down at will.


North America and Europe are seemingly missing out on one of the more dominant styles of the Asian scene. Many Chinese, Southeast Asian, and even Russian martial artists practice wushu-sanda, an art form relying on punches and kicks, as well as spectacular throws, sweeps and kick catches, the latter of which is a trademark of the style

Wushu sanda is an excellent base to have, as it has two of the three main important elements necessary for success in the cage – striking, and to a lesser degree, wrestling. All that is needed is a submission game to round out the skills.

Of the many practitioners in ONE Championship are multi-time SEA Games gold medalist and ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, and essentially the entire Team Lakay.

Combat Sambo

Combat sambo may be the closest thing to modern martial arts competition as we know it. A national phenomenon in Russia, combat sambo requires its practitioners to utilize a plethora of takedowns, sweeps, and upper body throws, which is very similar to wrestling. In addition to that, it also incorporates the clinch, submissions, and various strikes.

Several notable practitioners around the world have used combat sambo to devastating effect in the cage, and it is no different in ONE Championship. The likes of Muin Gafurov, Movlid Khaibulaev, Igor Subora, and former ONE Middleweight World Champion Igor Svirid have found great success through the Russian art.


One of the more under-appreciated disciplines in the cage, judo can add several crucial advantages to one’s overall game with explosive techniques. It can provide a new striking mentality inside the clinch, and lead to forceful and unsuspecting throws, as well as help with takedown defense. Judo incorporates a limited submission aspect as well.

Some of the finest warriors in the promotion are longtime black belt practitioners of judo, including former ONE World Champions Shinya Aoki and Narantungalag Jadambaa, as well as former ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship contender Jenny Huang.


Though immensely popular, karate tends to get overlooked when it comes to professional competition. However, there is undoubtedly value in this traditional martial art, as proven by former kickboxing and mixed martial arts world champions the world over.

Karate will certainly help with kicks, and provide another dimension to one’s striking. Also, it will help control distance, allowing the attacker to swiftly jump in and throw strikes before getting out while evading an opponent’s counter attack.

For examples of its effectiveness, look no further than former ONE World Champions Vitaly Bigdash and Narantungalag Jadambaa, or one-time title challenger Mei Yamaguchi.

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