Muay thai, like boxing, is considered a good base for training mixed martial arts. It provides a solid foundation for kicks, punches and clinch fighting. Practitioners like Pedro Rizzo, Bas Rutten, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Maurice Smith stepped into the ring and completely dominated some of the toughest men in MMA. They could do this thanks to their training in the clinch, and by using the powerful knee and leg strikes to knock out their opponents.
These are a few elements of Muay Thai that are effective for MMA fighting :
1) Powerful kicks for long range fighting : Kicks can be used to keep the opponent at bay, or to inflict damage to the body, without the risk of stepping inside the opponent’s range.
2) Elbows and knees for close range and clinch fighting : Elbows and knees are the best weapons for close range fighting, and Muay Thai teaches you how to use them effectively.
3) Using round kicks to cause maximum damage : Round kicks to the legs in an MMA fight is a very effective strategy to employ. This is true for a very simple reason. If you can’t walk and/or stand properly while in a fight, you’ll have an extremely hard time fighting effectively. A thai style round kick can achieve this effect on the legs with just a couple of shots.
4) Conditioning : Muay thai places a lot of emphasis on conditioning, and it gets a fighters body into peak physical condition for fights.