There are so many popular sports in the US right now, but I think the most exciting one has to be Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The growth of the sport over the last decade has been tremendous and it continues to rise at a meteoric rate. Now that Fox Sports has made a serious commitment to the UFC, I think it’s only a matter of time before the sport becomes completely mainstream.
Will MMA reach the levels of other US sports like Football, Basketball, Baseball and Hockey? I don’t think it will reach those levels, at least not while the biggest shows are on pay per view. But I think it has a real chance to be a serious contender at the #5 sport in the US within 5 years and possibly even get bigger than sports like Hockey in 10 years.
MMA blends so many different styles of fighting together. Unlike traditional martial arts, MMA fighters need to possess a wide range of skills from wrestling to boxing to Jiu-Jitsu. Fighters now are trained in various disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Boxing, Kickboxing and more. These wide range of skills make every fight interesting and different from the next.
The sport is also completely unpredictable as certain fighters styles can neutralize the advantages their opponents have. For example, if two wrestlers go into a match you may expect a wrestling bout. However, because both fighters are good at wrestling, it often can turn into a striking match with heavy punches and kicks being thrown. This makes MMA fights so fun and exciting.
Even women are getting involved in MMA now. The UFC has added a 135 pound division for women and its champion, Ronda Rousey, is arguably one of the top 3 biggest stars in the sport. The UFC also is discussing adding another 115 pound women’s weight class, which continues to demonstrate how popular the sport has become.