There’s no denying that:
MMA is one demanding sport, for both the participants and their equipment. That’s why having the right gear is so important, as it allows you to feel as comfortable as possible and therefore perform at your best.
Whether you’re an MMA veteran or a beginner looking to get started, our list of the best MMA shorts has you covered.
In this article we’ll discuss a wide variety of shorts at a range of prices, providing you with all the information you need to make the best decision.
Lets get to it.
What Makes MMA Shorts Different To Other Shorts?
There are a couple of reasons as to why specialised MMA shorts are required when performing mixed martial arts.
Unfortunately, regular old sport shorts don’t cut it in the MMA world. It won’t take long for your long lasting Nike shorts to be in tatters after a few sparring sessions.
It’s completely normal and common to start MMA wearing regular sport shorts, but it doesn’t take too long to realise that a specialised pair will have to be ordered.
This is due to the to the fact that MMA shorts are built to last and endure the wear and tear that comes with practicing MMA. They are designed to allow the wearer to move freely, be flexible and of course, to look good.
MMA shorts usually feature a flexible gusset in the groin area. This allows the shorts to be a lot more flexible and provides the wearer with unrestricted movement. This of course is incredibly importance for both leg strikes and grappling. Similarly, most MMA shorts have a split seem it on each side of the leg that again provide the wearer with more mobility.
If you have ever trained wearing regular shorts, you’re probably aware that they don’t do a very good job of staying up, especially when rolling on the ground. This is again why MMA shorts are preferred, as they tend to have an inside drawstring and a Velcro strap to fasten the shorts in place.
Aside from the build quality and design of MMA shorts, they are also a lot safer than wearing regular shorts or board shorts.
For example, wearing regular board shorts with pockets poses a risk to both you and your training partner, as a finger or toe could get caught whilst you are grappling. Similarly any metal zippers and loops on a pair of shorts will again pose a danger to both you and your sparring partner.
For all of the above reasons, if you’re looking to compete in a MMA or No Gi tournament, specialised MMA shorts are a must.
MMA Shorts VS Compression Shorts/ Pants
Compression shorts are becoming more and more popular these days. So popular in fact, that it’s not uncommon to see people walking in the street with their compression pants under their shorts.
Many an athlete will swear by the improvement wearing compression gear makes to their performance. Although a matter up for dispute, wearing compression shorts has benefits in MMA that aren’t just performance related.
Compression pants and other garments prevent direct skin contact with your opponent/ training partner and also help to stop the occurrence of rashes.
As disgusting as it sounds, staph and ringworm are easily spread in such an environment. Fortunately, compression shorts or pants are a great way to combat this!
Wearing compression shorts help to make sure you’re comfortable whilst training. Rolling without compression gear can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially if you’re a guy.
A lot of people have taken to wearing their compression shorts under their regular MMA shorts, therefore having the best of both worlds. You get the comfort and warmth of compression shorts, without the feeling that you’re walking around the gym half naked.
If you do feel a bit exposed just wearing compression shorts, you’ll be pleased to know that some shorts come with a cup. You can use this to protect your ‘junk’ and also to maintain a bit of privacy.
Considering you can get both high quality compression shorts and MMA shorts for less than $100, you may as well invest in both! If you’re only looking to invest in one pair, it’s really down to personal preference.
Related Reading: A Beginners Guide To MMA
Types Of MMA Shorts
MMA shorts have come along way from the regular board shorts and biking shorts they used to be. Manufacturers are now capable of delivering specialised clothing to maximize comfort, flexibility and range of motion.
There are a number of different styles of MMA shorts that can be boiled down to three categories, vale tudo MMA shorts, board style MMA shorts and hybrid shorts.
Of course, each type of shorts comes in their on variation depending on the manufacturer, with some coming down to the knee, whilst others barely making it half way down the thigh.
It is down to personal preference as to what style of shorts you wear. Finding a pair that gives you the most comfort and range of motion to allow you to perform at your best is a top priority.
Vale Tudo Shorts
Vale tudo shorts are very similar to regular compression shorts or pants and are designed to allow you to move faster when fighting with less friction.
Unfortunately, vale tudo shorts don’t leave much to the imagination and do require some level of bravery to wear. That being said, you can always buy compression shorts with a cup and use this to protect your modesty.
Board Style Shorts
Board style MMA shorts are extremely popular and are frequently seen in professional fights on the UFC. These are designed based upon the traditional board shorts you would associate with surfing, however with some alterations that make them more suited for combat sports.
Board style MMA shorts are traditionally knee length and usually feature an internal drawstring alongside a Velcro strap. The waist also tends to be elasticated to ensue that the shorts say up whilst you’re training/competing.
Some of the higher end shorts also feature an internal pocket for your mouth guard.
As the name suggests, this is a mix of the two styles we have just discussed, resulting in a ‘best of both world’ type of shorts. Blending the compression style of the value tudo design with the more modern board style MMA shorts, these hybrid shorts offer wearers comfort, flexibility and practicality.
The video below by MMA Gym Rat Reviews perfectly sums up the different styles and types of MMA shorts, give it a watch if you're interested.
What Should I Look For When Buying MMA Shorts?
Price: As with most things in life, you get what you pay for with MMA shorts. You can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $70 for a pair for shorts, with the lower priced items tending to lack in quality. The best MMA shorts however will cost more, but last for significantly longer.
If you’re looking to buy durable pair that are built to last, investing in a popular brand such as Hayabusa is always a good idea. You can expect to pay $40 and up for a good quality pair of shorts, but with these well-known brands, they tend to last significantly longer.
It really is a toss up between price and quality, invest in a more expensive pair and they’ll last a lot longer. Compared to a buying a cheaper pair that are likely to tear and be a lot less flexible.
Material: This is something that will tie in closely with the price that you pay. The better, more expensive MMA shorts are likely to be made from flexible and comfortable materials.
It is important that the material of the MMA shorts does not restrict your range of movement and allows you to move unhindered. Typically high-end shorts will use poly-directional fabric and implement flexible gussets in the crotch area to provide plenty of movement.
Reinforced stitching along the seems is a clear indicator of a high quality pair of MMA shorts. Reinforced stitching will make the shorts more durable and last for significantly longer than cheaper pairs.
Size: Sizing will vary from brand to brand, with some companies opting for a small, medium and large sizing and others using a more traditional sizing chart (measured in inches).
Buying the right size MMA shorts is incredibly important. The last thing you want is for your shorts to keep coming down whilst your training, or even worse whilst competing. Alternatively, shorts too small may restrict your leg movement, which will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on your performance.
Design: When looking for the best MMA shorts, pay close attention to the overall design of the shorts. For example, do they have an elasticated waist? What sort of closure does it have? A Velcro strap? Internal drawstring? Both?
Similarly, shorts with split seems are becoming more and more popular for the amount of movement that they provide the leg. Fighters frequently implementing high kicks are particularly drawn to these types of shorts and for good reason.
The Best MMA Shorts Comparison Table
Hayabusa Chikara 3
MMA Board Shorts
Venum Amazonia 4.0
Hybrid MMA Shorts
Venum Camo Hero
Hybrid MMA Shorts
Hayabusa Flex Fight Shorts
Hybrid MMA Shorts
Elite Sports MMA Shorts
MMA Board Shorts
Clinch Gear Training Shorts
Hybrid MMA Shorts
Jaco Vale Tudo Fight Shorts
Vale Tudo MMA Shorts
Top MMA Shorts
1. Hayabusa Chikara 3 – The Best MMA Shorts
First up on our list of the best MMA shorts are the Hayabusa Chikara 3 fight shorts. Hayabusa are a well-known manufacturer of high quality martial arts gear and the Chikara 3 fight shorts are no exception.
The shorts themselves are made from high quality materials that are engineered to provide the wearer with both a wide range of motion whilst at the same time being incredibly comfortable.
Hayabusa make use of the latest CombatTech fabric to manufacture their shorts.
This fabric is both lightweight and durable and well exceeds the requirements needed for MMA. All the shorts seems are T3 reinforced, which dramatically increases their life span.
When training and competing in MMA, it’s vital that your shorts do not fall down. A Velcro waist strap is used to help the Chikara 3 shorts stay in place and prevent them from slipping. The Chikara 3 also feature split seems to allow the wearer an unrestricted range of movement.
Available in three colour variations; blue, black and red, it’s easy to see why they’re such a popular choice amongst MMA fighters.
2. VENUM AMAZONIA 4.0 – GREAT ALTERNATIVE
If you’re not a fan of Hayabusa, then the Venum Amazonia’s are a fantastic alternative. The Amazonia’s are a short-cut hybrid style shorts that are perfect for grapplers.
The shorts are made using microfibre materials that are both incredibly comfortable and lightweight. Split seems are also located at either side of the shorts that allow the wearer to move freely.
As with most high quality MMA shorts they feature an elasticated waist alongside both a
Velcro strap and an inside drawstring. It’s safe to say that these won’t be falling down any time soon.
Not only are the Amazonia’s comfortable and practical; they also sport a bold, sleek design that will have you looking good on the mat. They're undoubtedly one of the best MMA shorts around and will serve you well for a very, very long time.
If the Amazonia’s were a bit bold for your taste, the Venum Camo Hero MMA shorts may be more suited to your style.
Manufactured to the high quality we have come to expect from Venum, the Camo Hero’s are an incredibly popular choice amongst MMA practitioners.
The Camo Hero shorts posses all the tell tail signs of high quality MMA shorts that we discussed earlier and are manufactured using a polyester micro fabric that is both lightweight and durable.
The shorts feature both a Velcro strap and an inner drawstring for maximum security. As well as this, the shorts also have reinforced seams that will increase their life span significantly.
In order to extend the wearers maximum range of movement, split seems are also located at either side of the legs.
Featuring a camo design alongside the classic Venum branding, these shorts are one of the best-looking, most practical items on our list of the best MMA shorts.
If you can’t tell already, Hayabusa and Venum are dominating the MMA shorts market with their high quality designs.
It’s safe to say that these two companies are pro’s at making the best MMA shorts around.
The Flex Fight Shorts by Hayabusa feature an incredibly minimalist design. You probably noticed the absence of any Velcro strap.
Instead, Hayabusa rely solely on a highly elasticated internal waist strap. By keeping things to a minimum, it allows the wearer to focus solely on their performance, without any discomfort.
Although a lot of fighters like the Velcro strap, it’s known to cause chaffing, especially after a hard sparring session. If this is something that’s continually happening to you, then the Flex Fight shorts are a great solution.
I myself like the feeling of firmness that a Velcro strap provides. However I completely understand that the best solution is always what makes you feel the most comfortable.
The shorts themselves are built to an exceptional quality, making use of lightweight material that provides a serious amount of manoeuvrability to the wearer.
If you’re interested in buying your first pair of MMA shorts and don’t know what to go for, either Venum of Hayabusa is a great place to start.
5. Elite Sports MMA Shorts – Crazy Value For Money
Next up on our list of the best MMA shorts are the Elite Sports shorts. If you’re looking for cheap MMA shorts but don’t want to sacrifice quality, the Elite Sports MMA shots are a great place to start.
Costing less than $20, no other shorts on the market offer value for money quite like it.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that they’re as good quality as the Hayabusa and Venum shorts, because they’re not.
What they are though, are fantastic value for money and a great affordable option for those looking to make a start in MMA.
They are manufactured using tear-resistant 150GSM microfibre that is built to withstand the tough demands of MMA. The MMA shorts make use of a two-fold non-chaffing Velcro strap. As with most MMA shorts, they also feature split seems at either leg for improved range of movement.
Overall, these are pretty great value for money. Although they won’t last forever, they’re definitely one of the best MMA shorts for beginners. They’re cheap, reasonably high quality and also look pretty damn good.
6. Clinch Gear Cross Training Shorts – Great For All Combat Sports
The Clinch Gear training shorts are not just great for MMA but for all combat sports.
Built to a very high standard, there is no doubt that these are one of the best MMA shorts for training.
Making use of SuperStretch, 360-degree side flex panels and split seems at either side, these are one of the most flexible and versatile shorts around.
The Clinch Gear training shorts feature a suede microfibre fabric that is not only insanely lightweight, but unbelievably durable as well.
The Shorts also feature a patented Double Grip waist strap that prevents your shorts from coming lose or slipping whilst you’re on the mat.
Designed to look as good as they feel, the Clinch Gear training shorts are one of the best MMA shorts around.
7. Jaco Vale Tudo Fight Shorts (Long)
The last item on our list of the best MMA compression shorts are the Jaco Vale Tudo fight shorts.
These are knee length value tudo style MMA shorts that are manufactured using STR-X fabric, designed to stretch freely without restricting the wearer.
They also posses water wicking properties that prevent the fabrics from absorbing any sweat.
Gripping tape is sewn into the inside of the shorts to prevent them from riding up the leg whilst grappling.
A drawstring is also located on the inside of the waste to prevent the shorts from slipping.
Best MMA Compression Shorts
Ok, so now we’ve discussed some of the more traditional MMA shorts, we’re going to be looking at the best MMA compression shorts. As I mentioned earlier, these can be worn alongside regular MMA shorts or entirely on their own (depending on how brave you are).
I personally like to rock them both, especially if it’s during the winter. Again, it really is up to personal preference.
Before we begin, lets quickly touch again on the advantages of wearing compression shorts:
Best MMA Compression Shorts Comparison
Hayabusa Compression Shorts
2XU Elite MCS Shorts
Diamond MMA Compression Shorts
1. Hayabusa Haburi Compression Shorts - The Best MMA Compression Shorts
Hayabusa making yet another appearance on our list of the best MMA shorts. It’s safe to say that their compression shorts are equally as impressive as their regular MMA shorts.
The lightweight Thermawick fabric both maximises heat retention in your muscles and feels incredibly comfortable to wear.
As well as this, the Haburi shorts feature a Guardlock™ waistband and cuff, which prevents the shorts from slipping up and down whilst you’re grappling.
Located at the front is an integrated pocket that can be used to stabilise and adjust a cup inside of the shorts. Unfortunately, these don’t come alongside a cup, however you can pick one up on Amazon for relatively cheap.
If you’re looking for the best MMA compression shorts, then the Hayabusa Haburi will not disappoint.
2. 2XU Elite MCS Compression Shorts - High quality, but expensive
The 2XU Elite compression shorts are by far one of the most popular compression shorts for MMA around. In fact, a tonne of UFC fighters have been seen wearing them during training sessions.
I also own a pair, as do a lot of the guys at my gym. Although they are one of the more expensive pairs on our list of the best compression shorts for MMA, they’re well worth the price tag.
They come in two colour variants, one all black design and the other black with gold trimmings. I personally love both designs and plan on investing in the black and gold pair very soon.
If you’re serious about using compression wear to help with faster recovery times, then 2XU Elite MCS compression shorts are a great option.
They’re made from the best quality material around and will last for a ridiculous amount of time. I’ve had mine for going on 9 months now and still no sign of wear, not even any fading and I’ve washed them god knows how many times.
I can’t stress enough how good these compression shorts are. The only reason they don’t have the number one spot is because they are significantly more expensive than the Hayabusa compression shorts we just discussed. If you have the budget, go for these.
3. Diamond MMA Compression Shorts - Built in Jock Strap
Moving on to the Diamond MMA compression shorts, another fantastic option for all MMA experience levels.
They may not look like much, but they're highly protective and build to last.
These shorts were actually designed by award winning designers at Stanford University and have been approved by doctors and urologists as the best groin protection on the market.
This is due to the integrated groin protection system that uses a built in 4-strap jock system that is designed specifically to house the Diamond MMA athletic cup. Unfortunately, this cup doesn’t come alongside the shorts, but again can be bought for relatively little on Amazon.
The Diamond MMA compression shorts also feature an inside drawstring for the ultimate comfort and stability. These compression shots are a great option if you’re looking for a protective pair of shorts that are both comfortable and provide you with unrestricted movement.
Best MMA Compression Pants
Moving onto the final section of our article, this time taking a look at the best MMA compression pants.
Similarly to compression shorts, these can be worn alongside regular MMA shorts and offer much the same benefits as compression shorts, only longer.
The Anthem Athletics MMA compression pants are made from lightweight and durable material that also features water-wicking properties.
As I mentioned earlier, this stops the fabric from absorbing any moisture.
If you’ve ever trained in a regular old tee shirt, you’re probably aware that this soon becomes drenched, heavy and uncomfortable.
This fabric prevents this from happening to the pants.
The compression material is designed to support your muscles whilst your train and help improve your recovery time. They are constructed using a multi-panel format, high density flat-lock stitching and a newly designed waistband to secure the compression pants in place.
The shorts design has been fully sublimated, which mean that it will never fade, crack or peel, no matter how many times you wash them. These are not only one of the best compression pants for MMA, but for all sports in general.
The RDX MMA pants are another one of the best MMA compression pants and cost significantly less than the Anthem Athletics we just discussed.
Although cheaper, they’re actually pretty similar in quality.
With anti-microbial Dry-fit, 4-way stretch fabric, the compression pants provide you with an unhindered range of movement.
Continuous expansion panels are located on either side of the legs; this allows the fabric to stretch more freely and to allow you to move easier with less resistance.
The moisture wicking capabilities of the RDX compression pants make them extremely comfortable to wear for intense training sessions where you are going to be sweating buckets.
They also do a great job at maintaining your body temperature and keeping your muscles warm, which is great when training during the winter months.
The Best MMA Shorts Round Up
So we’ve made it to the end of our article on the best MMA shorts. As you can probably tell from the length of this article, there is a ridiculous amount of MMA shorts available.
It’s worth remembering what I said in the beginning, the more you spend on your shorts the more you will get. More expensive items from trusted brands such as Venom will undoubtedly be more comfortable, last longer and perform better.
That being said, if you’re still learning the ropes of MMA and don’t want to invest a lot of money in a pair of shorts, some of the more budget friendly shorts we discussed are a great option.
I hope that you enjoyed reading our article on the best MMA shorts, if you’ve got any questions please feel free to comment them below.