As with all individuals, fighters are ultimately responsible for their performance on fight night. Yet, this does not completely place expectations of success solely on their shoulders. A fighter’s training camp should best prepare him for the challenges he will face in the ring or in the cage. And the minds behind the grand designs of game plans must be no less sharp than steel.
So, a fighter’s muscles require brains at the head of MMA gyms. Unfortunately, not all MMA gyms report success. Some only produce one notable fighter; stumble upon a generational talent by sheer luck.
ten black tiger fight club
The Black Tiger Fight Club of Beijing is relatively unknown on the world stage. Most fans would be hard pressed to name a single fiercely named MMA gym fighter.
It may come as a shock to many, then, that the gym is hosting none other than former UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili. Alas, beyond the former queen of the 115-pound division, none of Black Tiger’s fighters have made it to the UFC, Bellator, ONE FC, or even the PFL.
9 Kaobon Liverpool Team
Based in Liverpool, England, the gym known as Team Kaobon hosts a host of English fighters whose careers have largely failed to break into the world’s premier MMA promotions. Only Darren Till achieved real notoriety, challenging for the UFC welterweight championship after a winning streak that included Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson as victims.
Alas, with the exception of UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall, who only recently achieved his first top ten ranking in the division, no other fighter on Team Kaobon has achieved significant success. . And while Aspinall shows promise, he is yet to score a single victory over any of the top ten opponents. Thus, whether he is successful remains an unanswered question.
8 Gracie Techniques
Mas Holloway is one of the greatest featherweights in the UFC and, according to Joe Rogan, the best. His successes as a former champion and constant challenger to the featherweight crown carried by Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t seem to stem from his time at Gracie Technics, however.
The Honolulu-based gym has no other successful fighters in the top promotions in the MMA world.
7 Black surf belt
Two-time UFC featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega is one of the most dynamic grapplers in the UFC. His Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, and his striking has seen steady progression as Ortega has evolved as a fighter.
He does, however, appear to be the pinnacle of his team, Black Belt Surfing, in terms of MMA success. Their fighters largely escape notice and among MMA casuals, only Ortega is known.
6 The MMA Lab
Benson Henderson is a former UFC lightweight champion. Sean O’Malley is a fighter whose popularity exceeds his merits in the cage. And Rick Story is a veteran UFC fighter with as many wins as losses. Only one succeeds, but all call the MMA Lab home.
Sean O’Malley, despite the flash and high finish rate of his self-taught striking style, is yet to defeat even a single top ten bantamweight. His only outing against a top ten opponent was the only fight he lost. Marlon “Chito” Vera remains a stain on his record that he is eager to remove. Only Benson Henderson can claim true success at the top of the MMA mountain.
5 WCA Combat Team
One of the few Polish teams to feature a top tier MMA fighter, WCA Fight Team welcomes former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Błachowicz. Despite the feel-good nature of Jan’s rise up the light heavyweight rankings, he remains the only standout fighter in his gym.
While some of his team mates had successful UFC debuts, none achieved notable success. If asked to name any, most MMA fans would struggle.
4 PMA Super Mixed Martial Arts
Without Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker might well have been well on his way to forging one of the greatest title defense runs in the UFC middleweight division. Unfortunately, his inability to fight at longer ranges delays the stutter he uses to slip into his patent suits.
That, Whittaker might owe to his team, PMA Super Mixed Martial Arts. While Whittaker himself is pound for pound, his teammates remain relative unknowns plying their trade in more obscure MMA promotions of little note.
3 Parana Vale Tudo
The best known gym in Brazil is Black House MMA. It was once the home of UFC champions; Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Junior dos Santos, Jose Aldo, Rafael dos Anjos and Glover Teixeira.
Another Brazilian MMA gym, however, is not as star-studded. In fact, Paraná Vale Tudo is home to only one former UFC champion, Jessica Andrade. The rest of the team’s fighters, however, never even broke into the UFC, let alone win a title in MMA’s top promotion.
2 Straight Blast Gym Ireland
Hardly anyone can list SBG fighters without naming Dillon Danis, Artem Lobov, Gunnar Nelson, Johnny Walker and, of course, Conor McGregor. Of these fighters, only Conor McGregor has won an MMA title.
For all his grappling credentials, Dillon Danis remains largely unproven in MMA with a 2-0 Bellator record against opponents he himself couldn’t name. Artem Lobov sported a 13-15 record, becoming more of a meme in the twilight of his career. Johnny Walker, once seen as a potential future champion, has seemingly regressed at SBG, going 1-2 since joining and 1-4 since 2019. While Gunnar Nelson is a useful fighter, he has no wins against anyone. currently ranked in the top ten of the welterweight division and he has never won an MMA championship.
1 Glendale Fight Club
Perhaps no gym is more egregious in its failure to produce more than one successful fighter than Glendale Fighting Club. Ronda Rousey remains Glendale’s claim to MMA fame. If not for his natural athletic gifts and exceptional judo skills accumulated before joining the gym, the highly questionable game planning at Glendale would surely have thwarted his rise in the UFC.
Currently, only Edmen Shahbazyan represents Glendale in the UFC. Despite his initial undefeated run, the excitement surrounding his brief rise waned as he went on to suffer three straight losses once he was introduced to the top ten fighters in the middleweight division.
Many weight classes and organizations have witnessed the talent that comes from AKA. This eclectic gym has produced some of the best fighters of all time.
About the Author