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Muay Thai Vs BJJ: A Head-To-Head Comparison

muay thai vs bjj comparison
muay thai vs bjj

I’ve been a diehard Muay Thai fan for a very long time, but I’m also watching MMA. Comparing 100% different fighting styles has always been a top-notch challenge for me. Hey, I can bet that fifty percent of casual fans would say that these two styles are “non-comparable”!

Well, I don’t think this is mixing apples and oranges as each martial art has its benefits and shortcomings. I will guide you through Muay Thai vs BJJ comparison, and you’ll notice that some areas are actually similar.

Let me guess the question. What the heck are you talking about? Well, please read the article and you’ll discover the secret!


I watched a lot of MMA matches where a BJJ dude faced an all-around fighter or a master of striking martial art. In the majority of them, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu Octagon warrior was trying to drag the fight to the ground by any means necessary. Royce Gracie scored 11 submission wins in the first 4 UFC events, and there were bouts where he didn’t land a single strike.

Yet, the more traditional Brazilian style, Vale Tudo, allows all kinds of strikes. So technically, some BJJ fighters know to land punches (for example, Demian Maia and Andre Muniz are pretty fair UFC punchers), while their kicks are mostly terrible. Well, one and only BJJ fighter to score a head kick KO in UFC is Jacare Souza, who turned the lights out on Derek Brunson in 2016.

On the other side, Muay Thai fighters are extremely dangerous strikers. Elbows, knees, fists, and kicks can hurt badly, from any kind of position.

While BJJ fighters are dangerous in the clinch and potentially from mid-range, Thai boxers can hurt you badly from long-range too. Even when you’re 3-4 steps away, he can sprint towards you and send you to sleep via brutal flying knee to the chin.

Muay Thai vs BJJ comparison makes not much sense in this aspect of the game. Thai boxers are way better strikers, they have greater chances of piecing you up on the feet.


Clinching should be the trademark of Muay Thai, but you’ll be surprised with this one. BJJ fighters are extremely dangerous in the clinch too. They can drag you to the ground in the split of a second. Yeah, there are no slams, but you will get to know some positions where BJJ Octagon warrior has the advantage over top-notch elite-level Thai boxer.

Muay Thai Plum

Muay Thai wins here, as BJJ fighters must go for a flying submission. It’s never easy to go for a flying armbar or triangle choke from this position because the opponent’s arms are free. BJJ fighter could go for a throw or trip, but it is way easier to sweep the opponent from here. Muay Thai vs BJJ – clean win for Siamese martial art!

Single-Collar Clinch

Thai fighters should win from here because of knees, elbows, and sweeps, but you’ll be surprised with the outcome. Don’t forget, BJJ fighters can attempt flying submission form here. One arm on the back of the opponent’s head leads to better arms control, which means there is a lot of space for a triangle or armbar attempt. Don’t forget about tricky Kimuras and submission switches in the air.

BJJ master could go for Imanari roll and trap the leg too. I am pretty confident this is the most dangerous position for a fighter who plans to “stand and bang” against a BJJ expert. The surprising outcome is – fair and square victory for jiu-jitsu!

One Underhook-In

Well, a Thai fighter might unload an elbow or a knee to the thigh. If that doesn’t work, the only option left is improving the position to single-collar or double-collar clinch.

On the other side, BJJ fighters will hardly go for a flying submission attempt from here because it is risky, they might fall on his head and suffer a gruesome injury. But don’t forget about great single-leg or double-leg takedown attempts. I think Muay Thai vs BJJ ends in a draw here, as both styles would have a hard time ending the fight from this position.


This is also a great position for a BJJ artist, as he can pull guard. The opponent will end up on top of him, but guess what – this is a dream position for the masters of Brazilian martial art. Don’t forget about trips and sweeps.

Unfortunately, Muay Thai offers very limited moves from over-under, so this is a clean victory for BJJ. If you’re a sweep expert, you might parry the master of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but this is a way better position for them.

You Grabbed The Opponent’s Leg

When a Muay Thai fighter grabs the rival’s leg, he’ll usually kick him to the standing leg and his foe is going to end up on the ground. You could try to finish the fight via ground and pound. Or you can try to punch your opponent in the face (it doesn’t have to end via KO).

BJJ fighter goes for an ankle lock, heel hook, or a kneebar as soon as he gets a hold of your limb. So he could finish the bout too. I’d say it’s a draw here, as everything depends on the fighters. But a BJJ fighter probably has greater chances of ending the match.

Your Leg Is Grabbed

Well, this will hardly happen to a BJJ fighter, because they rarely throw kicks. But they’d try to lay on the back instantly. A master might risk with a flying submission attempt.

On the other side, a Muay Thai warrior might punch you in the face, or attempt to kick you to the head with his standing leg, especially if he comes from a Taekwondo background. So Siamese martial art offers more options in this situation and wins Muay Thai vs BJJ challenge here.

Takedown Offense/Defense

Muay Thai fighters will never go for a takedown, but sweeps are a great way to put the opponent on his back or stomach. Yet, BJJ offers a greater number of offensive takedown maneuvers, which means one point for Brazilian martial art.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters will rarely stuff a takedown attempt, as they love being on their back. But there is only one way to stop somebody from taking you to the floor – sprawling. Muay Thai offers violent knee or uppercut counters, and great lateral movement. So one point for the ancient Siamese martial art.

Sorry to say, but the score is tied again. Offensively, BJJ offers more, but defensively, a good Muay Thai fighter with basic MMA knowledge would have way greater chances of defending.

Ground Game

BJJ is the best defensive martial art for a ground fight, and it is way better than Muay Thai. But it’s not pointless to discuss this topic. While jiu-jitsu can break your limb or choke you out, Thai boxing could cut you open or lead to the stoppage.

The BJJ fighter tends to be on his back and end the opponent from there via defensive submission or, if a high-level specialist, a tricky submission switch attempt. You’ll rarely see jiu-jitsu experts going for submissions off the mount or side control (unless you watch Nate Diaz), but they are extremely dangerous off the half-guard or full guard.

There is another lovely aspect of BJJ ground fighting – transitions. When the BJJ fighter plans to improve the position, he’ll quickly roll out of the position and end up on your back or in your guard. The majority of MMA fighters will roll with a jiu-jitsu specialist only if they have to.

On the other hand, hammer-fists and elbows originate from Thai boxing. You’ve seen many fights ending after brutal barrages of strikes on the ground. The majority of “MMA experts” claim hammer-fist comes from wrestling, but it’s 100% wrong – the Siamese blood runs through its veins!

So, the Siamese martial art offers a different way to end the fight, but BJJ is going to win. There are so many lovely options to finish the bout from almost every single position. Muay Thai vs BJJ ground game comparison undoubtedly goes in the favor of the Brazilian fighting style.

Muay Thai Vs BJJ – Which One Is Better For Self-Defense?

I must make another tricky choice now. Both martial arts can save your life when you’re forced to deal with the cocky bully. But which one is going to hurt him more? How much time will you need to finish the bout? Read on and you’ll see!

Muay Thai is pretty good as it lets you destroy the opponent from long-range or clinch. Even if he tries to drag you to the ground, you should be able to defend and end up as a winner. Many people neglect these strikes, but I think knee to the head of the clinch, right straight, and low kick are the easiest to apply against a street thug.

On the other side, the BJJ fighter is completely helpless until the opponent gets close or clinches up. Strikes exist in the traditional form of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but they are mostly weak, plus BJJ warriors are trained to roll.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu dude will do his best to drag his opponent to the ground and work from his back or ground and pound his way to a victory.

So let’s make a verdict on Muay Thai vs BJJ in a street fight. Which one is better? While BJJ is better to teach bigger guys a lesson, Thai boxing is one of the best ways to end the fight quickly and to cut the opponent open and force him to retreat.

Muay Thai will let you finish in a shorter time, while BJJ helps you turn a losing game into a victory. BJJ is more unpredictable for the opponent, but Muay Thai is way easier to use, so the victory goes to the Siamese martial art.

One Fighter Against Multiple Attackers

Well, BJJ won’t work here. You can roll with one opponent, but you simply can’t roll with three bullies, that’s impossible.

The Muay Thai dude can run around the circles, move like a cat, and stay in the stand-up as long as possible. Also, he can get up instantly and evade kicks to the head and other potential dangers of fighting more than one attacker.

The BJJ fighter would’ve probably been dominated here. He can break one attacker’s arm or leg, but the other bully might kick or punch him to the head while he works on the submission attempt.

So Muay Thai will come up victorious here. Don’t get me wrong, a Thai boxer can also lose, especially if he gets sucker-punched or attacked from behind. But he’ll have greater chances of surviving such a challenge. Another point goes to the traditional ancient Siamese fighting style.


So let me summarize and give you my thoughts on Muay Thai vs BJJ. Both disciplines can save your life and teach bully a lesson, but which one is better and why?

Muay Thai is way easier to use because you can deliver brutal bombs from the stand-up and end the fight quickly, which lets you deal with more than one bully. On the other hand, you must be very technical to end somebody via Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but it can work for you too.

The main disadvantage of BJJ is the inability to deal with multiple attackers, while the greatest downside of Muay Thai is the lack of ground game. I think a Muay Thai dude would have greater chances to defend.

Thai boxing offers better striking and clinching, while BJJ rocks when it comes to takedown offense and ground game. What is your choice, Thai boxing or Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Please leave a comment!

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Deni

Picture of Deni


Hi, I started training Muay Thai back in 2016 and fell in love with it. So I decided to create this blog in the pursuit of this passion and share my experience with you.

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