Mixed martial artists are some of the toughest athletes in the history of sports. These individuals train as if they were going to war, and technically, they are going to war. An MMA fight will test every aspect of a fighter’s skill; it will test him physically, mentally and, most importantly, it’ll test just how badly he wants to win. Some fights end in the first 10 seconds, while others last every single minute of every round. One thing's for sure, though: Preparation for a big fight is no walk in the park.

Here is a breakdown of the MMA fighter basics and the intensive, grueling workout plan a fighter has to endure just to get into the ring.

training process

When training for an MMA fight, a fighter has to focus on a number of factors. The obvious concerns are speed, stamina, strength, power, agility, and flexibility. Another important point to consider is the fact that most fighters are put on a strict diet during their intense training. Speed, stamina and agility will keep the fighter on his toes, allowing him to dodge an opponent’s attacks, perform successful counterattacks and maintain enough energy to withstand the fight, while also storing energy to make sure he doesn't lose due to exhaustion. Strength, power and flexibility are what the fighter will need to work on to improve his punching and kicking force, while flexibility will also make it possible to maneuver around an opponent who is trying to submit him. Strength is also key among mixed martial arts fighter basics, as it means a fighter will not get thrown down easily when wrestling with an opponent.

MMA fighter basics fall into three main categories, all of them important components of any MMA fighter's training: stand-up fighting, clinch ability and ground game.

Stand-up fighting

Stand-up fighting focuses on training a fighter’s ability in punching, kicking, elbowing, and kneeing in order to go toe-to-toe with an opponent while exchanging blows -- although some fighters might prefer one striking action over others. Any discussion of MMA fighter basics would be incomplete without mention of footwork training, which will help the fighter dodge an opponent’s attacks, and possibly land a devastating attack of his own. Stand-up fighting will train a fighter in a multiple array of disciplines, including kickboxing, full-contact karate, Kendo, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, and even boxing. The disciplines a fighter chooses to focus on will depend on his preferences. Generally, however, MMA fighters will have an extensive knowledge of kickboxing, Muay Thai and boxing.

Best practice: Kickboxing

The most basic way to learn stand-up techniques is by practicing kickboxing. An MMA fighter basic, kickboxing involves all the fundamental actions that an amateur fighter needs to work on, especially punching and kicking, the two main components in stand-up fighting.

The first step is to get into a fighting stance, with one arm up to protect your face and the other arm a little lower to protect your body. In your fighting stance, you will practice your basic fighting techniques. First is a jab, which is a straight punch using the arm on the same side as your lead foot. Next is a cross punch, which is a punch from your rear hand (if you are standing with your right foot forward than your left hand is your cross hand). Then there is a hook shot, a punch thrown in a circular motion with your lead hand, and an uppercut, which is an upward punch with your fist pointed up.

The kicking consists of a front kick -- this is a kick executed with the heel of the foot, and can be performed with either foot. Next is the roundhouse kick, which is a circular kick that can be done on every length of the body, from the knee to the head. It’s recommended that a roundhouse kick be executed using your lead leg so that less stress is placed on the opposite knee. The side kick, the strongest of the three, is performed by keeping your foot flexed as you kick out, and it is meant to strike the body.

The clinch

Clinch fighting is an integral part of the MMA fighter basics, because it allows a fighter to reduce the success of his opponent’s kicks, punches, knees, elbows, or any combination of actions by tying him up and restricting his movements and performance -- not to mention that it makes it possible for fighters to get to know their opponents on an entirely different level. The clinch is also a good way for a fighter to take his opponent to the ground by utilizing a takedown or a throw. Fighting styles trained for the clinch consist of Greco Roman wrestling, Judo, Sambo, and some Muay Thai for striking purposes while in a clinch. A clinch can be initiated either standing up or on the ground.

Best practice: Wrestling

The best way to practice clinching is by learning how to wrestle -- a basic understanding of it will do. The best styles to practice are Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling, which will train a fighter to excel at the clinch. This can best be done by working with a partner because a clinch requires two people to get close and tie each other up by locking arms. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

Ground game

Ground game is an important element of MMA fighter basics, because this is where submissions will take place. Submitting an opponent and submission defenses are very crucial to a fighter’s ground game. If a fighter does not know how to perform a submission and defend against submission attempts, then his career as an MMA fighter will not last very long. The most important discipline for a fighter’s ground game is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as this style’s main focus is on submissions and submission defense, while also promoting training to maintain a dominant ground control position and improvement on ground game altogether. Other disciplines associated with the ground game are catch wrestling, shoot wrestling, Judo, and Sambo.

Best practice: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is arguably the one element that defines the ground game, and this is why virtually all MMA fighters train in it. The mounted position is a basic technique for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This is when, on the ground, one fighter gets on top of his opponent for optimal control; there is also a side mount and a back mount. Submissions are done in these mount positions, so it is crucial to practice your mounting skills along with these other MMA fighter basics in order to succeed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA in general.

the ultimate workout

A pre-fight training regimen usually starts months prior to a fight, and it will put a fighter through an extremely tough workout that tests him in every way humanly possible. An MMA fighter's basic training doesn’t end at just practicing stand-up, clinch and ground fighting, though these are key aspects of any MMA fighter’s training. There is still more work that a fighter must do in order to be a top-notch contender.

An MMA fighter must also avidly participate in strength and fitness training, from lifting weights to maximize strength to performing various fitness drills in order to build up endurance for continued fighting power. Fitness training is crucial, as it will train a fighter to be able to go the distance in a fight and help him maintain his endurance for the maximum number of rounds. If the end result is a win, then all the training and hard work was worthwhile.