MMA Training Numbers for Combination Strikes

MMA Fighter Practicing Combination Strikes

If you want to progress in MMA, you will need a high quality trainer and a system you are comfortable with. What normally happens is that a trainer calls out a number or action and the trainee is expected to follow it while on the pads and during a fight. The result should be a smooth and fast combination that helps the trainee learn how to throw the most devastating strikes at the right moment.

Beginners that don’t use a number system are in for a frustrating time. In most cases, a newcomer will not be able to do a great deal so lack of a system; a relatively inexperienced pad holder and pad work that is freestyle will end in agony. The more advanced the pad holder, the more likely you are to progress. As you gain experience, you can follow more complex combinations. There are as many number systems as there are trainers it seems and certainly, there is no uniform pattern. However, we will look at a couple of systems below.

Number Combinations

  1. Jab
  2. Cross
  3. Left Hook
  4. Right Hook
  5. Left Uppercut
  6. Right Uppercut
  7. Left Front Kick
  8. Rear Front Kick
  9. Left Thai Kick
  10. Right Kick

The following simpler system was used by MMA fighter Guy Mezger:

  1. Jab
  2. Cross
  3. Hook
  4. Uppercut
  5. Overhand
  6. Spinning Back Fist

When it comes to knees, elbows, and other strike forms not mentioned on these lists, the trainer will usually just call out the action. For example, jab, cross, right low kick would be ‘1-2-right low kick’.

Using Your Combinations

There is little point in mastering the basics of kicking and punching if you have an inability to put it all together. A well timed combination can result in a devastating ending to any bout. If you lack this knowledge, you will forever be a one-dimensional fighter with little chance of ever achieving success. You cannot expect to knock every opponent out with a single punch and you certainly can’t use your ground game if you don’t have the tools to get your opponent off his feet. We will look at some of the most important and effective MMA training combinations that can help you achieve victory.

Jab-Cross-Roundhouse Kick

Using most MMA number systems, this would be ‘1-2-round kick’. This combination must begin with a fast and powerful jab that knocks your opponent off-balance before throwing a powerful cross with your dominant hand. After throwing the cross, make sure your hand is drawn all the way back to the blocking position before attempting the kick to ensure you’re not wide open for a counter attack, if your opponent is still steady after the first two punches. When kicking, pivot on your front foot and twist your hips and waist into the movement for extra power. Make sure you bring your foot back quickly after execution.

This is a great combination for setting up additional attacks or simply as a means of keeping your momentum. The ideal time to attempt this combination is when your opponent is tiring and his hands are beginning to drop. You can catch them off guard and knock them to the floor with the round kick.

Roundhouse Kick-Uppercut-Cross

Using the 6-number system we described above, this combination would be ‘round kick-4-2’. Complete the round kick in the same manner as described above and ensure your jabbing hand is brought up as your leg is grounded to throw the uppercut. Finish things off by throwing a powerful cross with your stronger hand. The idea is to weaken your opponent enough to cause them to drop down into your uppercut.

This is a fantastic method of countering a straight cross thrown by an opponent. When delivering the initial round kick, make sure you have moved to the side to avoid the incoming punch. This kick should destabilize your opponent and leave him open to the uppercut. Finish things off with a fierce cross.


This is as simple as ‘1-2-clinch-knee’ and is an easy combination for a beginner to learn. A common mistake made by trainees using this particular combination is to go for the opponent’s neck for the clinch. Your opponent will not expect you to go for his guard so surprise him by hooking his bent elbows. After the hook, pull their head downward as you drive up your knee. As basic as this combination is, if executed correctly, a sharp knee to the head of an opponent may well end the bout via KO.

Roundhouse Kick (Back Leg)/Roundhouse Kick (Front Leg)

A trainer may simply call for ‘round kick front/round kick right’ depending on the training system. As it involves swift and powerful kicks in succession, it is a combination best used by trainees with a reasonable level of skill. This is an excellent way to weaken your opponent’s legs as you are kicking the outside thighs of both their legs. This is not a KO combination and is instead used to wear an opponent down. To perform this effectively, you need to have great core stability and mastery of front and back kicks.

When you throw the roundhouse right, your opponent will try to block it instinctively but if you are fast enough, they will not succeed. Bring through the rear leg for maximum effect. Once the kicks are delivered, follow up with a punching combination or step away from your opponent’s strike zone. This is a physically demanding combination and should be used sparingly. It is best used against opponents that are on the offensive. Be sure to throw your full weight behind the front kick and not treat it as a mere set up for the second kick.

In order to be a well-rounded MMA fighter, you need speed, power, strength, conditioning, and flexibility. You need to learn more about grappling and takedowns and above all, you must discover how to throw fast, fluid, and powerful combinations using both arms and legs. Master each combination before moving on to the next one.