For centuries, humans have tested their strengths against other humans in single combat. From the gladiators of Ancient Rome to modern day professional boxers, combat sports captivate our attention more than anything else. The world of mixed martial arts is no different. If anything, it is perhaps the most exciting form of combat sports in the modern world. While professional athletes like Leon “Rocky” Edwards are undoubtedly at the very top of the food chain, you don’t really have to be a pro fighter to train (or enjoy) mixed martial arts. In fact, you don’t even have to be an amateur fighter or an Olympian. All you really need is a love for mixed martial arts, a desire to develop and hone your skills, and of course, the right equipment.
Leon Edwards, the reigning UFC Welterweight Champion, is an impressive athlete with the physique, mindset, and skills to compete with the absolute best from all over the world. Based on years of training and his personal experiences in training for formidable opponents like former champion Kamaru Usman, Leon is uniquely placed to offer advice on the best training gear for everyone from a beginner to a pro. Read on to find out what Rocky recommends as the top 5 must-haves for any MMA enthusiast.
All combat sports begin with a basic but important piece of gear: hand wraps. Hand wraps offer stability and cushioning for two important areas in your hand: your knuckles and your wrist. Both these parts play a big role in your striking, and need to be protected in training, sparring, and of course in actual fights.
Without a properly worn set of hand wraps, you could sustain serious (and potentially career ending) injuries to your hands. If you’re serious about MMA, Leon recommends you don’t skimp on the basics and prioritize safety above everything else, such as with the RDC RB Professional boxing hand wraps set.
Leon recommends a good set of training gloves as one of the first items to invest in as an MMA enthusiast. Beginners often confuse training gloves with sparring gloves, but there is a marked difference between them. Sparring gloves are designed to be used against a human sparring partner in a training scenario. Nobody wants to put a sparring partner out of commission with a serious injury.
Therefore, most sparring gloves are built with additional padding to protect the opponent. Training gloves on the other hand are used for bag work, or in simpler terms, to practice striking drills against bags or focus pads.
Accordingly, these gloves have a bigger focus on protecting your hands so that you can drop bombs with serious power without incurring serious injuries to your hands or wrist. Leon himself prefers a set of the RDX F6 Kara Boxing Training Gloves (black).
Let’s say you have a pair of training gloves ready to go. Now what? The next logical step is to find something to use them on. This is where focus pads come into play. Focus pads are small padded targets, usually attached to a glove held by another person like a coach or training partner. They are widely used in strike training and drills. The small target they present is used to improve accuracy, and also drill various strikes and combinations.
Focus pads like RDX F6 Kara Focus Pads or the RDX T15 Focus Pads are built with soft foam or leather, helping to protect your hands while you strike them. A combination of the right training gloves coupled with the right focus pads can help you hone your striking technique and develop more accuracy for each strike.
Shin Instep Guards
What separates a boxer from an MMA athlete? An extra set of limbs that can be used in combat, of course. In boxing, your hands are your only weapon when it comes to striking. MMA, among other things, allows fighters a lot more room to be creative with their striking, and kicks are among the most versatile tools in any MMA athlete’s arsenal.
Kicks generally have more reach than punches or elbow strikes, mainly because a person’s legs are much longer than their arms. And since legs also tend to be heavier, physics dictates that kicks generally deal a lot more damage than punches. However, they still need to be trained (and protected) properly. The shin bone is a particularly vulnerable point in the leg, followed by the ankle and foot.
A misplaced kick (or one that is well blocked) can easily lead to fractures of varying severity. Then again, if you’re not practicing kicks in MMA, you may as well stick to boxing. The solution? Shin guards! Leon recommends the RDX T1 Shin Instep Guards.
These go a “step” further than your average run-of-the-mill shin guard. They are designed not just to protect your shins during a sparring or training session, but your instep and ankle as well. This lets you pack some serious power and manoeuvrability into your kicks in training without compromising safety.
Striking is and will always be a big part of any combat sport. But each strike uses up energy. So how do you keep going round after round of explosive action inside the octagon? Cardio, of course. Cardio conditioning and stamina can often mean the difference between a win and a loss.
You may not always be able to out-punch your opponent, but stamina can help you outlast them. And that’s exactly why athletes like Leon prioritize cardio in their training camps. Simple items like the RDX W1 Jump Rope are an effective way to build up stamina and agility with minimal risk of injury.
Whether you’re a seasoned MMA enthusiast or just starting your journey, investing in the right equipment is crucial to maximising your training and minimizing risks. Leon Edwards, the reigning UFC Welterweight Champion, has provided invaluable insights into his top 5 must-haves. From hand wraps and training gloves to focus pads, shin guards, and jump ropes, these recommendations pave the way for safe and effective training.
But remember, equipment alone isn’t enough. The true path to mastery lies in embracing RDX’s “Move, Improve, Evolve” philosophy. It’s about constant motion, pushing your limits, and relentlessly refining your skills. It’s about learning from champions like Leon Edwards and applying their insights to your own training. It’s about understanding that the journey – the evolution – is just as important as the destination.
So, equip yourself with the right gear, embrace the “Move, Improve, Evolve” mantra, and step onto the mat with dedication and determination. Remember, Leon Edwards wasn’t born a champion. He became one through countless hours of training, unwavering focus, and a relentless pursuit of improvement. You too can achieve greatness, one step at a time.