Fighting sports are an integral part of the sports family. This article looks at its six most popular variants.

6 Most Popular Fighting Sports In The World

The year was 648 BCE when the ancient Olympic games included combat-related activities like boxing, wrestling, pankration, and armored foot races in its annual festivals. Fighting also became a core part of global competitive games in the modern era in 1867. It started with the introduction of Marquess of Queensberry rules. The modern Olympics Games adopted Amateur Boxing in 1904, making physical combat attractive.

Fighting sports have now become multi-billion dollar industries, and fighters are as popular as other athletes such as footballers and basketballers. Some have even become movie stars; names like Dwayne Johnson, Jackie Chan, and Bruce Lee come to mind. The physical perfection, excellence, and tension always make the sport engaging, which is why millions bet on sports like wrestling, karate, and judo for crazy rewards.

Fighting games feed into human instinct: defense, even violence. If you’re wondering what these sports are, this article will examine a list of the six most popular fighting sports in the world today:


1. Karate

Karate is a Japanese activity by history but is practiced by millions today, and it’s sometimes considered one of the hardest fighting sports in the world. It is developed from the Chinese martial arts around the 20th century, and the core of the sport is quick strikes and thorough punches through kicks, knees, and elbows. Another intriguing part is the grappling and restraining techniques, which make it exciting and suspense-filled.

Historically, karate fighters used spear hands, knife hands, and palm-heel strikes while fighting. Some even use styles like throws, joint locks, and vital point strikes to outstrip their opponents. Overall, the fighting activity helps the average person harness their mental capacities, improve coordination, develop self-defense skills, and improve stamina. Some known names in the sport include Jackie Chan, Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Martin Kove, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Xolo Maridueña, Bruce Lee, and many others.


2. Boxing

Here is a multimillion-dollar industry, with some of the richest boxers boasting a net worth as high as $560 million. Boxing is one of the most brutal sports with real punches and knockouts, all for the win. The activity is all about strategically hitting an opponent, improving one’s defense, and finding more ways to attack and eventually win a match.

It’s one of the oldest games, which involves two athletes who have already undergone rigorous training to stay in shape. They train to build and maintain their capacity to break their opponent through consistent hard punches or a kick to the neck, leading to a knockout.

Each fight lasts 3 to 12 rounds, during which the athletes punch the other with padded gloves. However, the punches are real, unlike the controversially arranged wrestling. Some stars who have made boxing popular include Mike Tyson, Canelo Álvarez, Muhammad Ali, Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and many others. It’s that sport where you keep fighting until you tap out or are tapped out.


3. Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is often known as a full-contact combat activity because the contact is real and is a mix of all the skills and techniques an athlete can bring into the ring. The athlete can grapple and strike the opponent while standing or lying on the ground, unlike in other sports.

The sport has been in existence for over 3000 years, with origin dating back to Ancient Greece. However, it is an important sport in today’s world where styles from judo, wrestling, kickboxing, and boxing are adopted. It’s also referred to as cage fighting because the athletes are locked in a ring with eight corners. The most popular organization behind the sport today is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which has already become a billion-dollar enterprise.


4. Taekwondo

Taekwondo originates from Korea and has become a part of the Olympics games since 2000. The sport has a free-fighting combat nature, allowing all athletes to use both hands and feet to restrain and defeat their opponent.

The athletes kick the most, which is why the strongest limbed fighters who know how to use their legs well can dominate the game. The kick of the taekwondo artist is always powerful, and blows to the head can knock an opponent out.

It also features spinning jump kicks, fast kicking techniques, and head height kicks, all for self-defense and offense. The philosophy of taekwondo is increased self-esteem, self-defense, physical and mental well-being, and harmony.


5. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Here is a martial and combat-based sport focusing on skill, keeping an opponent on the ground, controlling, and dominating the match. The athletes use ground fighting, submission grappling, and grappling techniques to get an opponent to give up.

It also allows joint locks and chokeholds, which makes it one of the most dreaded types of combat competitive games. Brazilian brothers Carlos, George, and Hélio Gracie modified the sport into what it is today in the 1920s, and it has been distinctive ever since.

Outside the lens of fighting to dominate an opponent, win a match, and earn for it, it’s a great sport for strength building. It’s also famed for sharpening the mind.


6. Judo

Judo was said to have been created in 1882 and is focused on throwing or taking down an opponent to the ground until they are immobile. It’s about subduing an opponent through stranglehold, joint lock, or choking.

Judo involves a lot of attack and defense, and athletes who let their guard down would be the victim of the vicious yet engaging sport. Some athletes toughen their ability to withstand extreme chokes and strangling by strengthening vulnerable parts of their bodies during practice.

This is why some martial artists would be seen breaking bricks or wood with their punches. Judo also uses quick movements to outwit an opponent. It’s all about looking for an advantage to topple an opponent and maximizing it to win the match.



Sports are at the center of the human relationship with the world and are an integral part of global entertainment and relaxation. However, sporting activities go beyond the traditional golf, basketball, soccer, and other common variety.

Fighting is another aspect of competitive sports, and some of the popular varieties include karate, boxing, Mixed Martial Arts, Taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and judo.


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