Different Fighting Dimensions
The biggest difference between MMA and Boxing has to be that they’re fought in different dimensions. Boxing in one and MMA in three
Striking: The sport of boxing involves all punching strikes to the front of an opponent’s body from the beltline and up. Legal punches allowed must be with your front knuckles.
Striking: MMA also involves striking, but it includes punches along with elbows, knees, and kicks. These strikes can be done standing to every part of your body, except the groin, back of the head, and spine.
Clinch: The next fighting dimension in MMA is the clinch. Fighters may instigate a clinch to open up strikes, submissions, or takedowns.
The Ground: On the ground, MMA fighters work to do two things. Either control an opponent to set up a submission or land strikes.
Boxing matches: Legal boxing bouts take place in a ring. The standard size of rings that commissions allow are from 16 and 20 feet (4.9-6.1 Meters). The number of ropes varies by commission usually with 2ft (.61 M) of the ring between the ropes and floor.
MMA Cage fighting: While an MMA fight can also legally take place in a ring, they usually take place in cages. The cages vary from octagons to circles. UFC’s Octagon has a diameter of 30ft (9.1m) with a 6ft (1.8m) fence on a 4ft (1.2m) platform
Boxing: A Boxing bout consists of 4-12, 3-minute rounds with a minute rest between each round. Championship bouts are 12 round fights.
MMA: MMA rounds consist of 3-5, 5-minute rounds with a 1-minute break in between. Championship matches or main events are 5 round fights.
Rules of Boxing: In Boxing, you are only allowed to strike the opponent to the front of their body above the beltline. There are no kicks, knees, elbows, biting, groin shots, headbutts, or holding allowed. A dropped fighter is given to the count of 10 to get up or the fight is stopped.
After getting up, they’re given a standing 8 count and checked by the referee if they can continue. If they show they’re able to continue, the fight resumes. Depending on the commission, there may be a 3 knockdown rule in place.
Rules of MMA: The rules of MMA allow a fighter to strike their opponent to their body, head, and legs. Illegal strikes include eye gouging, any strike to the groin, back of the head or spine. In the UFC, there are no knees or kicks allowed to a downed opponent.
There are no count-outs in MMA. If a fighter is not intelligently defending themselves from strikes, then the referee will step in and stop the fight. In a chokehold, the ref can also stop the fight if the fighter is unresponsive to the ref’s check.
Ways To Win
Boxing: To win in boxing, you must either knock out your opponent or win by decision. If the fight goes to a decision 3 judges that scored the fight will tally their points for a decision. The decision can be unanimous, split, or a draw in which there is no winner.
MMA: In MMA, you can win by stopping your opponent with strikes, a submission, or a judge’s decision. The judging structure is similar to boxing.
A major difference between MMA and Boxing is the number of weight divisions in each sport. Boxing has over double the weight classes that MMA has. Here is a list of the men’s divisions in each sport.
Boxing Weight Classes: Heavyweight, Cruiserweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Middleweight, Welterweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight, Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight, Flyweight, Super Flyweight, Light Flyweight, Strawweight
MMA: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, Featherweight, Bantamweight, and Flyweight
They both have some of the same divisions' names, but the weights are different.
Both sports consist of multiple promotions, but each has around 3-4 promotions that really control the sport.
This just about sums up the major differences between MMA and Boxing. Both are great sports full of talented athletes that put it all on the line when it’s fight night. Which fighters are better, however, is a matter of opinion, but that can be a breakdown for another time.