Can Kickboxing Surpass MMA in Popularity?

Published on Apr 28, 2024, 6:03:09 PM
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Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are two distinct combat sports that have captivated audiences worldwide. While MMA has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, kickboxing remains a beloved sport with a dedicated following. The question arises: can kickboxing ever become more popular than MMA?

The Appeal of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a striking martial art known for its exciting stand-up combat, which includes punches, kicks, knee strikes, and sometimes elbow strikes. It’s a sport that requires agility, speed, and precision. Fans appreciate the technical skill and athleticism required to compete at the highest levels of kickboxing.

The Dominance of MMA

MMA, on the other hand, incorporates various fighting styles, including striking, grappling, and submissions. It’s a full-contact sport that allows a wide range of techniques, making it unpredictable and thrilling. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has played a significant role in popularizing MMA, creating global stars and drawing in millions of viewers.

Challenges for Kickboxing

Several factors contribute to the current popularity gap between kickboxing and MMA:

Marketing and Exposure: MMA promotions like the UFC have mastered the art of marketing and have a significant presence in the media1. Kickboxing lacks this level of exposure, especially in markets like the United States.

Star Power: MMA has created household names like Conor McGregor and Georges St-Pierre, who draw in viewers beyond the core fanbase1. Kickboxing has yet to produce stars with similar crossover appeal.

Organizational Stability: MMA benefits from having most of its top fighters in a single organization, which helps maintain a high level of competition2. Kickboxing organizations are often more fragmented, which can dilute the talent pool and make it harder for fans to follow.

The Potential for Growth

Despite these challenges, kickboxing has the potential to grow in popularity:

Exciting Nature: Many fans find kickboxing to be more exciting and accessible than MMA due to its focus on stand-up fighting.

Global Presence: Kickboxing has a strong following in regions like Europe and Asia, with promotions like Glory and ONE Championship showcasing top talent.

Social Media Influence: As seen with MMA, social media can play a pivotal role in increasing a sport’s popularity. More content shared online could lead to a surge in interest in kickboxing.


While MMA currently enjoys more mainstream popularity, kickboxing has the elements necessary to increase its fanbase. With strategic marketing, the development of charismatic stars, and leveraging social media, kickboxing could indeed rival MMA in popularity. However, it will require concerted efforts from promoters, athletes, and fans alike to elevate the sport to new heights.

In conclusion, while kickboxing may not currently be as popular as MMA, it certainly has the potential to close the gap. It’s an exciting time for combat sports, and the future could hold many surprises.

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1 comment

1 month ago

No definitely not for now. K-1 and Rise operate mainly on the Japanese market, One focuses more on Muay Thai (also more spectacular) and Glory is not really a big organization worldwide and drops a lot of stitches. Kickboxing also suffers from a very poor heavyweight division worldwide and outside of One most organizations also fail to create superstars or they don't even try.

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