I think it’s safe to say,
That there are few sports as demanding as MMA.
MMA can be brutal on both the fighters and their gear. That’s why it’s essential to find the proper fight wear that will last, look good and not hinder your ability to perform.
With that in mind, we’re going to be taking a look at the best MMA shorts that you can find.
We’ll cover an array of styles, brands, and cover options from budget level all the way to pro.
I’ll split this article into two sections, one covering compression/ vale tudo style, and the other covering looser fitting, board/ hybrid style MMA fight shorts.
Let’s get to it.
Best MMA Shorts
Elite Sports MMA Shorts – Best Budget MMA Shorts
If you’re looking for the best budget MMA shorts, then you really can’t go wrong with Elite Sports MMA Fight Shorts. They’re incredibly friendly on the wallet, look good, and are extremely comfortable.
Elite Sports utilize lightweight microfiber fabric, that has a good amount of flexibility, providing unhindered movement to your legs. Pair this with the side slits along each leg and you’ve got you’re set to be throwing head kicks with no issue.
This material is incredibly lightweight and comfortable, perfect for long hours spent in the gym.
These fight shorts feature an elastic waistband that when paired with an adjustable drawstring that helps to keep them securely fastened. I personally love when MMA fight shorts have an elastic waistband, as I find them much more comfortable than shorts that utilize velcro.
Pair all this with their price tag, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value-for-money pair of shorts.
- Extremely budget friendly
- Comfortable to wear
- Multiple color variations
- Comfortable waistband design
- Fairly boring design
Hayabusa Mid Thigh Length Icon Fight Shorts – Best Hybrid MMA Shorts
Hayabusa is a brand that’s extremely well known and respected in the MMA community, and are behind some of the best fight wear on the market.
Their Icon Fightshorts are the perfect example of this. Available in a ton of different color options, these hybrid style shorts are made from ultra high strength fabric that is virtually unrivaled by any other options. So much so, that I think it’s fair to say that you’ll struggle to find a more “indestructible” pair of shorts out there.
With extended side slits, flexible material, and a number of stretch panels, these shorts are perfect for fighters who love to throw high kicks and need a pair of highly flexible shorts. The mid thigh length of these shorts also help in the mobility department, allowing for complete unrestricted mobilty in both legs.
Hayabusa has gone above and beyond in the comfort department, offering a streamlined interlocking closure system. I hate it when shorts have big bulky Velcro straps ( it’s extremely uncomfortable when pulling guard), so this is a really great addition that’s highly appreciated.
Pair this with the additional drawstring and silicone waistband, these shorts stay firmly in place no matter if you’re grappling or striking, making these one of the best hybrid MMA shorts.
The only downside to the Icon Fight Shorts is their price. They cost a pretty penny, and I’d only recommend these if you’re serious about training and need a highly durable pair of shorts that’ll last a long time.
- Insanely durable
- Comfortable, streamlined closure system
- A variety of colors to choose from
- Mid thigh design makes them amazing for kicking
Venum Light MMA Shorts
I used to have these shorts a year or two ago and loved them, and essentially wore them to death. These are very much the old-school style of MMA fight shorts, with a long length and made from decently thick material (Polyester and Cotton).
For me, I would say that the material is slightly too thick, however, that’s really a personal preference, and I just lean more towards shorter, lighter shorts these days.
That said, they’re incredibly durable, and hold up extremely well if you’re training in them frequently. To be honest, you really can’t go wrong with any of Venum’s gear, and these shorts are no exception.
The main downside to their Light 3.0 Fight shorts is the cost, but given how durable they are, it’s an investment that’s going to last.
- Extremely durable
- Nice, close-fitting design
- Flexible material
- Secure waistband
- Somewhat thick compared to other MMA Shorts
Sanabul Essentials MMA Shorts
Up next we’ve got another really good value for money option, this time in the form of the Sanabul Essential MMA shorts.
Although these shorts could be considered basic in design, they do tick the boxes of everything you would want from a pair of MMA shorts. They’re comfortable, durable, and flexible.
The Sanabul Essentials feature a drawstring waistband paired with a velcro strap, allowing for a well-fitting pair of shorts. The shorts themselves are a bit more traditional in length, coming down to just above the knee, however, their flexible material and side splits, provide unhindered mobility.
In terms of durability, Sanabul has opted for 100% high quality Polyester, which a lot of the top shorts are made out of. It’s durable, breathable, and has plenty of stretch. Pair this with the reinforced seams, and you’ve got a solid pair of shorts able to withstand the grueling sessions in the gym.
- Multiple designs various (can even choose a color to reflect your BJJ belt)
- Secure waistband
- Somewhat basic design
- Might be too long for some preferences
Venum UFC Shorts
If it’s good enough for the UFC, then it’s going to be good enough for me. The UFC fight shorts from Venum are the same shorts professional fighters wear when competing in the UFC and you can even get them in the Champion colors (black and gold).
Alongside the highly coveted black and gold colorway, you can pick these up in a variety of other colors such as red, green, white, and black.
In terms of quality, you’ll struggle to find a better pair of MMA fight shorts anywhere else. They’re made from ripstop material that is both water and tear-resistant and of course, feature reinforced seams.
Some fighters may feel less inclined towards this pair of shorts, as earning a place in the UFC is one of the main pinnacles of the sport, so buying a pair of shots may diminish that goal.
Still, though, they’re top of the line and are a fantastic pair of shorts to train in.
- Extremely well made
- Good color options
- Durable and water-resistant material
- Very well respected brand
- Could be seen as a bit gimmicky
Sanabul Core MMA Shorts
Up next we’ve got another fantastic option from Sanabul, this time with their Core Series MMA shorts. These are a step up both in terms of price and quality from the Essentials shorts I discussed earlier.
The fabric of the shorts has been treated to help reduce moisture retention, keeping the shorts cleaner for longer, without building up any unwanted stench. The material itself is nice and stretchy, allowing a good range of motion for the wearer.
You can pick these shorts up in a few different color options, such as black and red, grey, blue, or white. While the design is fairly simple, I’m a big fan of the minimal look and think Sanabul has done a great job in that department.
In terms of price, they’re definitely not the cheapest pair of shorts on our list, nor are they the most expensive, falling somewhere in the middle. Given the overall quality and comfort of these shorts, Sanabul’s price tag is very fair in my opinion.
- Good value for money
- Perfect level of bagginess, making them extremely comfortable
- Secure waistband design
- Extremely durable
- The design might be too basic for some preferences
Engage Essentials MMA Shorts
I personally love Engage MMA shorts and use them regularly. Although on the pricier side of things, the quality and overall style of their shorts are incredible. The only downside really is the price.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at their Essentials MMA Shorts. Starting with my favorite aspect of these shorts, the elastic waistband, which ensures a nice, tight and comfortbale fit. These shorts also feature a silicone waistband that helps the shorts grip your waist. I love having this in both my shorts and my rash guard, as it’s incredibly useful when you’re training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it keeps your clothes in place.
The shorts themselves are constructed using 4-way stretch material, which as the name implies, is extremely stretchy, providing ample range of motion to the legs. As with all top-tier MMA shorts, Engage makes use of a flexible inner thigh stretch panel, making these some of the best MMA shorts for kicking.
In terms of the design, they’re fairly short in length, which can either be a positive or a negative depending on your preference. I personally like the shorter shorts, as I find them more comfortable and less of a distraction.
- Secure waistband
- Good looking design
- Extremely comfortable
- Might be too short for some
Best Compression MMA Shorts
Alright, now it’s time to look at some top compression options. Admittedly, these aren’t for everyone, as they leave little to the imagination, but I know a ton of guys that swear by them and train in nothing else.
Diamond MMA Compression Shorts – Best MMA Shorts with Jockstrap
These are the best of the best, and you’ll often hear Joe Rogan discussing Diamon MMA on his podcast, raving about how good their cut and compression shorts are…
And for good reason. These compression shorts come with a built-in jockstrap and an incredibly high-quality cup. If you’re new to MMA, trust me, you’ll be needing a cup, so these are truly an incredible option.
So, what’s so good about Diamond MMA?
Firstly, the shorts themselves are insanely well-made. The material itself is military-grade spandex, and the shorts feature a unique 4-way built-in jock strap that keeps the cup perfectly in place.
Even the cup itself is the best you’re going to find and is the cup that I use when sparring. This all in one package is hard to find and I really can’t recommend Diamon MMA enough.
- High quality pair of compression shorts
- Come with one of the best MMA cups
- Built in jock strap keeps the cup perfectly in place when training
- All in one package – compression shorts, jockstrap, and cup
Venum Vale Tudo MMA Shorts
Next up we’ve got Venum’s UFC Vale Tudo shorts. Again, given that these are the shorts given to UFC fighters to wear, their quality is going to be top of the line.
Made from a blend of Polyester and Elastane, these compression shorts offer uncompromised mobility and comfort.
When buying compression shorts, it’s important to get the perfect size, given that there is no form of closure system or drawstring to keep the shorts firmly attached at the waist. Fortunately, Venum offers their shorts from XX-Small all the way to 3X-Large, so finding the right fit should be no issue.
- High quality pair of shorts
- Great range of size options
- Good looking design
- Not a ton of color variations
Meister MMA Vale Tudo Shorts
Next up we’ve got the Meister MMA Value Tudo shorts, a great value for money option with plenty to offer.
My favorite aspect of these shorts is the inside drawstring that keeps the shorts fitting securely around the waist. The importance of this drawstring can’t be understated, and it goes a long way to making these shorts extremely comfortable.
The design is also pretty unique for Vale Tudo shorts, being much shorter than most traditional options out there. This can either be a good or bad thing depending on your preference, as it does live a lot of leg exposure (no more skipping leg day).
You can pick up the Meister MMA Vale Tudo shorts in black, red, or blue, so there’s a good amount of choice to be had. I’m personally a massive fan of the blue shorts, as they look very similar to the shorts Alexander Gustafsson wore in his infamous battle against Jon Jones.
All in all, a great pair of compression shorts perfect for intense MMA training.
- Multiple color options
- Inner drawstring for a secure fit
- High-quality material with reinforced stitching
- Might be a bit short for some preferences
Venum Gladiator Vale Tudo Shorts
It should come as no surprise that the last option on our list comes from Venum again, this time with their Gladiator Vale Tudo shorts.
These shorts are perfect for hours spent on the mat both grappling and striking thanks to their Dry Tech material. This prevents a ton of sweat from soaking into the material, keeping the shorts clean and stench free.
Venum has also incorporated a built-in cup pocket, so no jock straps are needed to keep the family jewels protected when training and sparring.
With a pretty out-there design that very much coincides with their name, these shorts are sure to make a statement in the gym. You can also get the Gladiator Vale Tudo shorts in black, red and black, and white and black, providing a good amount of options.
- Good amount of color choices
- Built-in cup holder
- Dry Tech material food good hygiene
- Fairly boring design
How to Choose MMA Shorts
As you have probably noticed in this article, MMA shorts come in all shapes and sizes, with there being no right or wrong option.
Watch a UFC event on the weekend, and you’ll see that the fighters will be wearing various styles. It really comes down to personal preference, so go for whatever feels the most comfortable and allows you to perform at your best (whilst looking damn good as well of course).
Ok, let’s take a look at the different types of MMA shorts you’ll come across.
Vale Tudo is a form of fighting that very much contributed to modern-day MMA. Meaning “anything goes” in English, this no holds barred form of fighting was essentially MMA before MMA was called Mixed Martial Arts.
Fighters would often wear long, tight compression shorts when competing in Vale Tudo, hence the name. Vale Tudo shorts typically come down the leg further than modern compression shorts, however, the two are practically the same.
Compression MMA shorts, as mentioned above, are modern, close fitting MMA shorts, usually made out of an elastic material such as spandex. There are also a number of benefits that come with wearing compression shorts, such as better muscle oxygenation and reduced muscle fatigue.
MMA Board Shorts
Board-style shorts are very much the original style worn back in the day when the Mixed Martial Arts was considered a fringe sport and the UFC was barely known. They look extremely similar to swimming shorts, hence the name, however with a few modifications.
Board-style shorts will often have a multiple flex panels along the thigh and crotch section, as well as split seams along the legs. This helps to provide the wearer with as much flexibility as possible and prevents the shorts from ripping mid-fight, which would be truly embarrassing.
Hybrid-style MMA shorts are a modern-day blend, taking the best bits from various different styles and putting them into one. They’re not as long as board-style MMA shorts, nor are they as tight as compression shorts.
Muay Thai Shorts
Muay Thai is a Thai combat sport, very similar to kickboxing, however with the addition of elbow and knee strikes. Muay Thai shorts are essentially shorter versions of regular boxing shorts, with a large waistband and relatively short length.
Given that Muay Thai is an integral part of MMA, it’s not uncommon to see people MMA training wearing Muay Thai shorts.
The material used to make MMA shorts is incredibly important. Not only does it need to be extremely durable to withstand the demands of Mixed Martial Arts, but must offer an adequate amount of flexibility.
With compression shorts, this will usually be some form of Spandex blend, and in regular MMA shorts, some form of high quality Polyester.
Flexibility is by far one of the most important aspects of MMA shorts. If you’re unable to move, you’re unable to fight, so finding a pair of shorts that won’t hinder your ability to move effectively is extremely important.
A stretch panel around the crotch, the split seams and flexible materials are paramount when choosing MMA shorts.
These three design features are the reason we don’t use regular sports shorts when MMA training and competing. Regular Nike shorts for example are simply too restrictive and prone to splitting in combat sports, especially if you like a nice high kick.
Given that MMA is a pretty demanding sport, both on fighters and their fightwear, going for a well known brand is often the best bet. I usually find these cheap, unknown brands’ gear to be pretty disappointing and not very long lasting.
There are plenty of well known brands out there that offer affordable gear, for example, Sanabul, that are known to produce good quality shorts.
Not only do MMA shorts come in all shapes and sizes, but they come in all price ranges as well. You can get your hands on a pair for as little as $20, or spend as much as $70 for a pair. While the cheaper options may not last as long, they’re definitely suitable if you’re only training a couple of times a week.
Where to Buy MMA Shorts?
Unfortunately, a lot of local sports shops don’t stock MMA gear. The best way to find a local store that sells MMA shorts is to Google “buy mma shorts near me”, or something along those lines. Unfortunately, if you live in a fairly rural area, there’s a good chance you there won’t be anywhere too close to you.
I myself usually buy my gear online, which can be a bit annoying, as it’s good to try on the shorts before, but if you check out the brand size chart, there’s usually no issue.
A few good places where you can buy MMA shorts online are:
If you’re finding that you’re in between two sizes, or aren’t sure what size to go for, you can always buy 2 pairs to see which one fits the best. The one that doesn’t fit as well, you can then send back. Of course, check the return policy before you do this, but I’ve done it a number of times in the past when I wasn’t sure what size to buy.
MMA Shorts FAQ’S
Do You Even Need MMA Shorts?
If you’re heading to your first-ever MMA class, then it’s not necessary to buy MMA shorts beforehand. That said, if you’re looking to train regularly and take MMA up as a hobby or seriously, getting a pair of MMA shorts is 100% recommended. Regular sports shorts simply won’t hold up in MMA or most other combat sports.
What Shorts Do UFC Fighters Use?
Fighters competing in the UFC all wear Venum MMA shorts when competing. We’ve listed a couple of Venum’s UFC Fight Shorts on this list for you to check out.
Why Do MMA Fighters Wear Tight Shorts?
This is really down to personal preference. Some fighters find tight shorts more comfortable, it gives your opponent less to hold (even though they shouldn’t) and provide the most range of motion.
Why Do MMA Shorts Have a Slit?
MMA shorts have split seams down either leg to provide the wearer unhindered mobility. Without these seams, MMA shorts would restrict the range of motion of the legs.
Can You Wear Muay Thai Shorts in MMA?
Yes, you definitely can, and I’ve done it multiple times in the past, especially if I have a Muay Thai training sessions the same day as MMA training. They’re definitely not ideal for MMA, but they do the job and it can save you from having to bring multiple pairs of shorts to the gym.
To summarize, you can wear Muay Thai shorts to MMA, however it’s much better to wear regular Mixed Martial Arts fight shorts.
What are Tight MMA Shorts Called?
These are called compression or Vale Tudo shorts.
Can You Wear Compression Shorts in MMA?
Yes, you definitely can! Compression shorts are an extremely popular choice in MMA. They’re flexible, comfortable, and provide very little fabric for your opponent to hold onto.
Can I Get Custom MMA Shorts?
Yes it’s possible to get custom MMA shorts. Brands such as XMartial are known to produce custom shorts for gyms and fighters.
How Often Should I Clean my MMA Shorts?
You should clean your MMA shorts after every training session. This will prevent any bacteria from building up within the shorts and to keep them from building up any unwanted stench. We’ve got a full guide breaking down how to clean MMA shorts for more information.
Best MMA Shorts Brands
Venum has been a big name in the MMA and combat sports industry for some time now and is considered one of the best MMA brands out there. Considering that Venum is the official fight wear provider for the UFC, it’s fairly obvious that their gear is going to be up to scratch. Although it’s worth mentioning that their gear tends to be on the pricier side of things when compared to some other brands out there.
Hayabusa has been around for a long, long time. Back before the UFC signed exclusivity deals with brands, Hayabusa was a brand seen at virtually every UFC event when fighters could choose what shorts they wore.
Engage is a fairly new brand that was founded by UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya and his manager. I’ve got a fair few pieces of Engage gear at this point, and they’re all extremely well-made. I’m also a massive fan of their style, which is very modern and clean. In terms of price, they tend to be pretty expensive, and considering they’re based in Australia, shipping costs tend to be high plus it takes a couple of weeks for the gear to arrive.
Sanabul has long been considered one of the best MMA shorts brands. They offer an array of shorts at varying prices, from budget and beginner friendly to high-level, costly shorts. With that in mind, it’s they’ve got options for everybody and their gear tends to both look good and be well-made, especially for the price they charge.
Well, there we have it, that was a bit of a long read so fair play if you made it this far!
Hopefully, by now, you’ve found the best MMA shorts for your needs.
There’s a ton of brands, styles, and designs to choose from, so finding the right pair can sometimes be overwhelming. As long as you’re going with a well-known brand, you really can’t go wrong.
Try and find something you’re comfortable wearing that doesn’t affect your ability to perform, and you’ll be set.
Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
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