How to Become a UFC Fighter: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

UFC Fighter, MMA Fighter Training

What to know how to get into the UFC? We’re not surprised. Getting a contract with the organization is the goal of any MMA fighter but not everyone can make it. The fighters are handpicked and would need to prove themselves worthy of stepping into a UFC octagon.

But how do you complete that journey to the UFC? We’re going to find out how to join the UFC right here. We’ll look at what skills you need to become a UFC fighter before looking at a step-by-step guide on how you can make it. Let’s get started!

Requirements To Become a UFC Fighter

Only a very few people can become UFC fighters. It’s a challenging journey that requires an elite combination of skill, talent, and determination, Even the ‘worst’ UFC fighters have skills that most normal people could only dream of.

As you probably know, the UFC is not a sport, it’s an organization. It holds its fighters to high standards and anyone aspiring to star in the UFC needs to meet some strict criteria. Let’s look at all the boxes you’ll need to tick.

Age – You’ll need to be at least 18 to fight in the UFC. There is no age limit as long as you are still fit and competitive. Most fighters will enter the UFC in their mid-20s.

Experience – Unless you were some sort of megastar in the likes of boxing or wrestling such as CM Punk, you’ll need some professional experience. You’ll need to fight in amateur bouts before working your way up to a professional organization.

Skill Level – The UFC is the pinnacle of MMA and, as such, you’ll need to be in that top 1% of fighters to get noticed. To have this skill level, you’ll need to have a well-rounded ability in striking, grappling, and wrestling.

Fitness – This goes hand in hand with becoming an elite fighter, but you’ll need to be in peak physical condition. Not only does this prove that you’re in peak fitness for the organization but it will also make you more marketable.

Mental Toughness – This is a hard one to quantify but they’ll also judge your mental toughness. Specifically, they’ll want to know you can perform under pressure and will be able to handle the bright lights of the UFC.

Professional Management – You’ll want to have an agent. Not only can they help you with the legalities of signing contracts, but they show that you’re a professional. A good agent will help you to secure opportunities in top promotions.

Clean Background – UFC fighters aren’t exactly known for being angelic model human beings, but if you have a history of misdemeanors or drug use, then the UFC may think twice about taking a chance on you.

Marketable Appeal – This is not a strict requirement, but it can help a lot. If the UFC thinks you might be the next Conor McGregor or Rhonda Rousey, you’ll be much more likely to get a contract.

UFC Hall of Fame: Ronda Rousey

10-Step Guide to Becoming a UFC Fighter

Now you know all about the requirements to become a UFC fighter, what steps should you take? While not everyone follows the same journey, here’s how to give yourself the best chance of success.

Step 1: Choosing a Discipline

The first step on how to become a MMA fighter is choosing a discipline. It’s best to find something you’re naturally good at and then build up from there. It’s a great idea to get specialist training to turn your raw talent into polished skills.

There are lots of martial arts which can be effective in MMA such as boxing and kickboxing which specialize more in striking, and judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu which are more effective for grappling. Look at what schools are available in your area and start working on your skills.

Step 2: Finding a Reputable Gym

The next step in how to become a professional UFC fighter is to find an MMA gym. This will allow you to start practicing the sport and hopefully find a coach who can develop your skills. Check their reputation and reviews to get an idea of their track record with developing fighters.

Don’t be afraid to change gyms if your current one is not working out for you or if you feel the coaching is inadequate. You may need to look beyond your local area and find a highly reputable gym once you become a good MMA fighter.

Step 3: Training and Commitment

The key ingredient to becoming an MMA star is hard work. Every fighter that is in the UFC has worked incredibly hard to get there. You’ll need to have a complete commitment to your training, including practicing at home and not just at the gym.

If you want this to be your career, then you need to treat it like one. You’ll need to train for several hours a day, whether that is working on technique, strength, or fitness. You have to push yourself to the limit to become a professional fighter.

Step 4: Amateur Competition

Once you feel ready, then you can move into active competition. Long before you reach the elite professional heights of the UFC, you’ll need to prove yourself in local or regional amateur events which you’ll need to register to enter.

If you’re not sure when to start, then your MMA gym will most likely have knowledge of local events. Failing that, a simple Google search would show plenty of opportunities. The next step is to start fighting and making a name for yourself.

Step 5: Seeking Professional Management

The next step is to get professional management. They will help to guide your career and make sure that it stays on the right path. This will include finding the right competition for you but also negotiating professional contracts when the time comes.

As you win amateur competitions, you’ll most likely be approached by agents. You can also ask fellow MMA fighters for their recommendations. You can get to the UFC without professional management, but it’s not recommended as you should be focusing on perfecting your skills instead.

Step 6: Building a Winning Record

It’s an obvious point but your dream of getting to the UFC will stop very quickly if you keep getting beat. While losses are never seen as the end of the world in MMA, you will need to have a strong winning record.

This will help to build up your reputation and put you in the right place to win a contract with one of the lower-level professional organizations. Even with a strong record, it will most likely be too soon to convince the UFC to give you a fight deal.

Step 7: Obtaining Professional Fight Experience

The UFC is just one of many countless professional MMA promotions. Unless you’re famous, the UFC is almost certainly not going to take a bet on someone who has no professional fights to their name.

This step is all about finding those smaller organizations, starting to earn some modest money, and building a winning record.

The most likely route is to fight for a regional organization before moving to something with a bigger reputation. Always look for opportunities to move up the ladder as the better the organization you’re fighting in, the more likely the UFC will spot your talent.

Step 8: Stay Patient and Persistent

It’s important to be patient and don’t lose heart. You’re likely to be one of thousands of fighters hoping to get their shot in the UFC. If you’re getting frustrated by not being noticed, there are a few things you can do to fast-track your way to the UFC, which we talk about in detail below.

Step 9: UFC Tryouts and Contender Series

There is another method of how to start a UFC career. The UFC occasionally holds open tryouts and has a few shows that you can apply to which can put you in the spotlight. These are “Dana White’s Contender Series” and “The Ultimate Fighter” which can be another way into the UFC.

Step 10: Seize Your UFC Opportunity

If you are good enough, then sooner or later you’ll get a contract with the UFC. Even though this may be your dream coming true, it’s important to work with your management to ensure you’re getting what your worth.

While that’s true, it’s important to remember that being paid millions of dollars for your fights won’t be possible until you have become a superstar of the sport.

UFC fight, MMA fight

Fast Tracking Your Way to the UFC

Want to know how to become a pro UFC fighter even more quickly? The UFC is a business and as such, cares about viewers and PPV buys. For whatever reason, even some elite fighters never become popular. This means that if you can prove yourself to be marketable, you increase your chances of being in the UFC. Here are some tips:

Social Media Presence – The easiest way to get your name out there these days is to be active on social media. This will help to showcase your personality and allow your supporters to have a place to interact with you.

Personal Story – Don’t be afraid to tell your personal story and be open about who you are and where you’ve come from. This will make you more personable and allow you to connect with fans on a deeper level.

Sponsorships and Partnerships – Seeking out sponsorships and partnerships can not only earn you a little extra money, but it will help to enhance your professional image,

Public Appearances – To build your brand and your fanbase, it’s a great idea to attend MMA events and make public appearances. This will help to increase your visibility in the MMA community.

Media Interviews – Don’t shy away from media interviews as this will help to increase your exposure and get your name out to a broader audience. Always look for opportunities to make your personality shine.

Merchandise – As your fanbase grows, you may even start to sell merchandise. This will help to promote your brand while also generating more revenue.


Who was the youngest UFC fighter ever?

The youngest ever fighter in UFC history is Raul Rosas Jr who had his first UFC bout just two months after his 18th birthday. He won his contract through Dana White’s Contender Series before winning his first UFC match on 10 December 2022 vs. Jay Perrin.

How long does it take to become a UFC fighter?

This can vary wildly based on a variety of factors. Some may make it to the UFC very quickly if they have exceptional skills and have developed a great brand, whereas others need to be more patient. You can expect it to take several years but if you keep winning, you’ll get there.

Can I become a UFC fighter at 25?

The reality of this will depend on circumstances but at the age of 25, you could still become a UFC fighter. There is no age barrier in the UFC so if you’re shown to be fit and successful, you’ll always have a chance.

Is 30 too old to start an MMA career?

No, 30 is not necessarily too old to start an MMA career. However, you may need to be realistic. For example, if you have no marital arts experience then you’ll need to spend several years training before even thinking about being successful in MMA.

However, if you’ve been practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for many years, for example, then you’ll have a realistic chance of translating those skills into a successful MMA career.

Can you start MMA with no experience?

Yes, you can start MMA with no prior martial arts experience. While it’s good to have a solid foundation of at least one marital art, it’s not a requirement. Many MMA gyms will happily train you, especially if you show a good level of natural talent.

How can I build my brand as a UFC fighter?

You want to get your name out there and showcase your personality. If you’re not sure how to do this then follow our tips in the ‘Fast Tracking You Way to the UFC’ section above. Having a strong brand not only increases your chances of getting a contract but also getting more money for your fights.

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Kenny Jarvis
Kenny Jarvis
I have been practicing and studying boxing since I was a teenager. I am passionate about the sport, along with many other martial arts. While my fighting days may be over, I love channeling my passion into my writing to provide insightful blogs.