15 Best MMA Gyms/Teams in the World (Surprise Entries)

In the vast realm of mixed martial arts, there are gyms and teams that rise above the rest, their prowess and talent echoing across the arena. Yet, amidst the luminaries, there exist hidden gems, lesser-known establishments quietly shaping the landscape of MMA.

With unwavering dedication and innovative training methodologies, these surprise entries have garnered recognition by producing extraordinary athletes. From the formidable Alliance MMA to the transformative American Kickboxing Academy, this article explores the top 15 MMA gyms/teams that have defied expectations and emerged victorious on the global stage.

Key Takeaways

  • Alliance MMA, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), American Top Team (ATT), and AMC Pankration are some of the notable and highly successful MMA gyms/teams in the world.
  • These gyms/teams have produced numerous champions and top-level fighters in various MMA promotions such as UFC, One, Bellator, and more.
  • The gyms/teams mentioned have renowned coaches and trainers who have played a significant role in the success of their fighters.
  • Each gym/team has its own unique approach to training, whether it's AKA's expertise in turning wrestlers into strikers or Tristar Gym's technical approach to MMA training.

Alliance MMA

Alliance MMA is a highly respected and accomplished MMA gym that has produced champions in various promotions, including UFC, One, Bellator, WEC, and Strikeforce. This esteemed gym has trained top fighters such as Alexander Gustafsson, Dominick Cruz, Frank Shamrock, Michael Chandler, and Phil Davis.

Their training methods are known for their effectiveness and attention to detail. Alliance MMA focuses on a well-rounded approach to training, incorporating all aspects of MMA including striking, grappling, and conditioning. They prioritize technical skill development, strategy, and mental preparation, ensuring that their fighters are fully prepared to compete at the highest level.

With their successful track record and commitment to excellence, it's no wonder that Alliance MMA is regarded as one of the best MMA gyms in the world.

American Kickboxing Academy (AKA)

One notable MMA gym that deserves recognition is the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).

AKA, founded in 1985 by Javier Mendez, is headquartered in San Jose, California, USA.

Known for its striking techniques and training methods, AKA has produced some of the world's top fighters.

One of the gym's standout features is its ability to transform wrestlers into elite-level strikers.

Many success stories have emerged from AKA, with fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Josh Thompson, Jon Fitch, Islam Makhachev, and Usman Nurmagomedov showcasing their striking skills after transitioning from a wrestling background.

AKA's focus on developing well-rounded fighters through its striking program has solidified its reputation as one of the best MMA gyms in the world.

American Top Team (ATT)

Based in Coconut Creek, Florida, American Top Team (ATT) has established itself as one of the most decorated and highly regarded MMA gyms in the world. ATT's dominance in MMA rankings is evident through the success of its fighters, such as Amanda Nunes, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Dustin Poirier, Tyron Woodley, and Kayla Harrison. These athletes have consistently performed at the highest level, capturing titles and earning recognition on a global scale.

ATT's impact on the evolution of MMA training techniques cannot be overstated. The gym has revolutionized the sport by implementing a comprehensive approach that combines striking, grappling, wrestling, and conditioning. ATT's training methods have set new standards and have been emulated by other gyms worldwide. By focusing on developing well-rounded fighters, ATT has produced athletes who excel in every aspect of the game, ensuring their success in the cage.

With its track record of success and commitment to innovation, American Top Team continues to solidify its position as a powerhouse in the MMA world.

AMC Pankration

AMC Pankration, a renowned MMA gym founded in 1991 by Matt Hume, boasts a rich history of producing top-tier fighters and coaches. With its unique training methods and success in producing champion fighters, AMC Pankration has established itself as a powerhouse in the MMA world.

The gym's training methods are truly one-of-a-kind, focusing on a holistic approach to martial arts. They emphasize a combination of striking, grappling, and conditioning, ensuring that their fighters are well-rounded and prepared for any situation inside the cage.

AMC Pankration's track record speaks for itself, as they have produced fighters like Demetrious Johnson and Bibiano Fernandes, who have gone on to become champions in their respective weight classes. This success can be attributed to the gym's dedicated coaches, including Matt Hume, Tony Sablan, Gabe Walton, and Manny Michels, who provide personalized attention and guidance to their fighters.

Black House MMA

Black House MMA has established itself as a dominant force in the MMA world, with a reputation for producing elite-level fighters and fostering a culture of excellence. With its headquarters located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Los Angeles, California, Black House MMA has expanded to multiple locations in the USA.

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The training methods at Black House MMA are renowned for their effectiveness in developing well-rounded fighters. They focus on a combination of striking, grappling, and conditioning, ensuring that their athletes are skilled in all aspects of the sport.

The impact of Black House MMA on Brazilian MMA cannot be overstated. The gym has trained and produced champions like Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos, and Lyoto Machida, elevating the status of Brazilian fighters in the international MMA scene.

Black House MMA's commitment to excellence has solidified its place among the best MMA gyms in the world.

Chute Boxe Academy (CBA)

With its headquarters located in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil and Sierra Vista, Arizona, USA, the Chute Boxe Academy (CBA) has established itself as a powerhouse in the world of MMA. Led by founder Rudimar Fedrigo, CBA has made a significant impact on Brazilian MMA, producing some of the sport's most iconic fighters.

The gym dominated Pride's middleweight division with fighters like Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua, showcasing their aggressive and relentless fighting style.

In recent years, CBA has also witnessed the rise of female fighters, with notable athletes such as Charles Oliveira and Cris Cyborg emerging from their ranks and achieving great success.

With their focus on disciplined training and a commitment to excellence, CBA continues to shape the landscape of MMA both in Brazil and internationally.

City Kickboxing (CK)

City Kickboxing (CK) is an elite MMA gym located in Auckland, New Zealand, known for producing world-class fighters and reigning UFC champions. Under the guidance of coaches Eugene Bareman, Doug Viney, Mike Angove, and Carl van Roon, CK has developed a unique training philosophy and techniques that have garnered attention in the MMA community. The gym emphasizes a well-rounded approach to training, combining striking, grappling, and conditioning to create complete fighters. This approach has proven successful, as CK has produced champions like Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, who have made a significant impact on the MMA landscape in New Zealand and Australia. With a focus on technical excellence and a commitment to constant improvement, City Kickboxing continues to be a dominant force in the MMA world.

Training Philosophy Techniques Impact on MMA landscape
Well-rounded approach combining striking, grappling, and conditioning Focus on technical excellence and constant improvement Produced champions and elevated the level of MMA in New Zealand and Australia

Xtreme Couture MMA

Xtreme Couture MMA is a renowned and respected MMA gym headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Known for its commitment to excellence, Xtreme Couture MMA offers a well-rounded approach to MMA training.

Here are some details about the training methods at Xtreme Couture MMA:

  • World-class coaching: The gym is staffed with experienced coaches who have competed at the highest level of MMA. They provide personalized attention and guidance to each fighter, ensuring they develop their skills to their fullest potential.
  • Comprehensive training programs: Xtreme Couture MMA offers a wide range of classes, including striking, grappling, wrestling, and conditioning. This allows fighters to develop a versatile skill set and become well-rounded athletes.
  • State-of-the-art facilities: The gym boasts top-notch training facilities, equipped with the latest equipment and technology to facilitate optimal training.

Xtreme Couture MMA has produced several success stories over the years. Some notable fighters who have trained at the gym include Randy Couture, a UFC Hall of Famer, Gray Maynard, a former UFC lightweight title contender, and Ryan Couture, a successful professional fighter. These fighters' achievements stand as a testament to the effectiveness of the training methods employed at Xtreme Couture MMA.

Jackson-Wink MMA

Continuing the exploration of top MMA gyms, one noteworthy entry is Jackson-Wink MMA. Founded by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, this Albuquerque-based gym has made a significant impact on the sport of mixed martial arts. Known for its game planning and strategic approach to fights, Jackson-Wink MMA has produced a roster of notable fighters including Jon Jones, Holly Holm, Donald Cerrone, and Carlos Condit.

At Jackson-Wink MMA, unique training methods are employed to bring out the best in their fighters. They offer training in various disciplines including striking and grappling, allowing their athletes to develop a well-rounded skill set. The gym's emphasis on game planning and strategic execution has played a crucial role in the success of their fighters, helping them achieve championship titles and notable victories in the octagon.

Jackson-Wink MMA's commitment to excellence in training and their strategic approach to fights has solidified their reputation as one of the top MMA gyms in the world.

Team Alpha Male

Team Alpha Male, known for its strong wrestling and grappling focus, is a highly respected and competitive MMA gym. With a roster of notable fighters including Urijah Faber, Cody Garbrandt, and Joseph Benavidez, Team Alpha Male has made a significant impact in the Octagon.

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The gym's grappling focused training approach serves as both a strength and a weakness. On one hand, their emphasis on wrestling and grappling techniques allows their fighters to excel in takedowns, ground control, and submissions. This gives them a distinct advantage in the cage.

However, the grappling-centered approach may sometimes leave their fighters vulnerable in striking exchanges, as they may not have the same level of expertise in that area. Nevertheless, the strong wrestling foundation instilled by Team Alpha Male has undoubtedly contributed to their fighters' success, making them a force to be reckoned with in the MMA world.

Tristar Gym

Tristar Gym, known for its technical approach to MMA training, offers a comprehensive training program that emphasizes striking, grappling, and conditioning. Founded by Firas Zahabi and located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Tristar Gym has produced some of the top fighters in the sport. Notable fighters from Tristar Gym include the legendary Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald, and Francis Ngannou.

At Tristar Gym, training methods focus on developing well-rounded fighters who excel in all aspects of the game. The gym's technical approach emphasizes technique, strategy, and precision. Fighters undergo rigorous training sessions that incorporate various disciplines such as striking, grappling, and conditioning. The trainers at Tristar Gym are highly experienced and provide personalized attention to each fighter, ensuring their growth and improvement.

To provide a deeper understanding, here is a table showcasing some of the top fighters from Tristar Gym and their notable achievements:

Fighter Notable Achievements
Georges St-Pierre Former UFC Welterweight Champion
Rory MacDonald Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix Champion
Francis Ngannou Current UFC Heavyweight Champion

Tristar Gym's commitment to technical excellence and comprehensive training methods has solidified its reputation as one of the best MMA gyms in the world. It continues to produce top-tier fighters who dominate their respective divisions.

Nova Uniao

Nova Uniao, a renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu powerhouse, stands as a prominent force in the world of MMA with its exceptional training programs and notable roster of fighters.

The training methods at Nova Uniao focus on developing a well-rounded skill set in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. With a strong emphasis on technique and discipline, fighters at Nova Uniao are able to excel in both striking and grappling aspects of the sport.

This comprehensive approach has led to the success of many fighters who have trained at Nova Uniao. The impact of Nova Uniao fighters in the MMA world is undeniable. Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, and Marlon Moraes are just a few of the world-class fighters who have emerged from this gym.

Their dominance in their respective weight classes has solidified Nova Uniao's reputation as a breeding ground for champions.

Kings MMA

Continuing the exploration of renowned MMA gyms, Kings MMA stands out as a premier training facility known for its exceptional focus on high-level striking techniques. Founded by Rafael Cordeiro and located in Huntington Beach, California, Kings MMA has produced a lineup of notable fighters including Fabricio Werdum, Rafael dos Anjos, and Kelvin Gastelum. The training methods at Kings MMA are centered around Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, ensuring a well-rounded skill set for their fighters. The gym's impact on the MMA community cannot be overstated. With its emphasis on striking, Kings MMA has revolutionized the way fighters approach stand-up techniques, elevating the level of striking prowess in the sport. This has inspired other gyms to adopt similar training methods, further raising the overall skill level of the MMA community.

Kings MMA Location
Founded by Rafael Cordeiro Huntington Beach, CA
Notable fighters Fabricio Werdum
Rafael dos Anjos
Kelvin Gastelum
Training methods Muay Thai
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Impact on MMA community Elevated striking
skill level

Elevation Fight Team

Moving on to another top MMA gym, we now turn our attention to Elevation Fight Team. This renowned gym was founded in 2013 by Christian Allen and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

Elevation Fight Team boasts an impressive roster of fighters who train at five different gyms owned by different coaches on the team. These gyms include High Altitude MMA, Pound 4 Pound Fitness, Eastons MMA, Vital Strength & Fitness, and the state-of-the-art MusclePharm Gym, which spans over 30,000 square feet.

The training facilities at Elevation Fight Team are second to none, providing fighters with everything they need to excel in the sport. Notable fighters from Elevation Fight Team include current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, as well as top contenders like Cory Sandhagen, Drew Dober, and Neil Magny.

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With such impressive training facilities and a roster full of talented fighters, Elevation Fight Team continues to make waves in the world of MMA.

Fortis MMA

Fortis MMA, a rising powerhouse in the MMA world, has quickly established itself as one of the best gyms/teams globally. Led by founder Sayif Saud, Fortis MMA has attracted many big-name fighters and earned a strong reputation in a short period of time.

The gym, located in Dallas, Texas, spans over 7,000 square feet with three floors and various amenities. Fortis MMA is known for its exceptional training methods, which focus on developing well-rounded fighters. They emphasize a combination of striking, grappling, and conditioning to ensure their athletes are versatile and prepared for any situation.

With notable rising stars such as Alonzo Menifield, Diego Ferreira, Macy Chiasson, Ryan Spann, and Geoff Neal, Fortis MMA is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the MMA world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the History and Background of Each Gym/Team?

The history and background of each gym/team showcases their training philosophies and approaches. From Alliance MMA to Fortis MMA, these esteemed establishments have attracted top fighters and earned their strong reputation in the world of MMA.

How Do These Gyms/Teams Differ in Their Training Philosophies and Approaches?

These elite MMA gyms/teams have distinct training philosophies and approaches, employing cutting-edge techniques and methods to develop fighters. Their emphasis on strategic game planning, technical precision, well-rounded training, wrestling and grappling focus, and high-level striking sets them apart.

Can You Provide Some Examples of Notable Fighters Who Have Trained at Each Gym/Team?

Alliance MMA has trained notable fighters like Alexander Gustaffson and Dominick Cruz. AKA is known for turning wrestlers into elite-level strikers with fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Josh Thompson. ATT has produced champions like Amanda Nunes and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. AMC Pankration emphasizes focused attention with fighters like Demetrious Johnson. Black House MMA has a diverse roster of champions like Anderson Silva. Chute Boxe Academy dominated Prides middleweight division with fighters like Wanderlei Silva. City Kickboxing is home to UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski. Xtreme Couture MMA offers well-rounded training for fighters like Randy Couture. Jackson-Wink MMA is known for its strategic approach with fighters like Jon Jones. Team Alpha Male has a strong wrestling and grappling focus with fighters like Urijah Faber. Tristar Gym takes a technical approach with fighters like Georges St-Pierre. Nova Uniao excels in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai with fighters like Jose Aldo. Kings MMA has high-level striking training with fighters like Rafael dos Anjos. Elevation Fight Team trains at multiple gyms with fighters like Curtis Blaydes. Fortis MMA has attracted big-name fighters like Geoff Neal and Diego Ferreira with its strong reputation and state-of-the-art facilities.

What Are Some Unique Features or Facilities That Set These Gyms/Teams Apart From Others?

These elite MMA gyms/teams differentiate themselves through unique features and facilities that enhance their training philosophies and approaches. From state-of-the-art facilities to specialized training methods, they set the standard for excellence in the world of mixed martial arts.

Are There Any Specific Success Stories or Achievements That These Gyms/Teams Have Had in the MMA World?

MMA gyms/teams have had significant success in the MMA world, producing champions like Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, and Jose Aldo. Their impact on local communities and the role of coaching and mentorship cannot be underestimated.


In conclusion, the world of MMA is filled with well-known gyms and teams, but there are also several lesser-known establishments that are making a significant impact. These surprise entries, such as Alliance MMA, AKA, and ATT, have consistently produced top-tier athletes and employed unique training methods.

Their methodologies have propelled them to the forefront of the MMA world, solidifying their reputation as some of the best gyms and teams in the sport. With their dedication and expertise, these surprise entries continue to shape the landscape of MMA.

Mike Williams
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