MMA Height Advantages and Disadvantages

The tallest MMA fighter in UFC history is Stefan Struve who stands at 6 ft 11.5 in (212 cm). Is it a huge advantage? Not really as he is 29-12 as of March 2020. His recent loss was to Ben Rothwell, who is 6 ft 4 in (193 cm), almost 20cm advantage.

Steve Str6 ft 11.5 in (212 cm)

Height and reach are still desirable physical attributes that you want to have in a cage. In an MMA fight, the difference in weight and height can make a huge difference in the style of fight. There are some disadvantages to height as well.

mma height advantage

Some guys are good at punching and some have the ability to escape from side control. So, you want to become like them. If you have both, it can turn you into a better mixed martial artist. So, this article is all about MMA height advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages of Height and Reach in MMA

No one can deny that there are tangible benefits of height and reach in MMA. If you have a longer reach, you can land on your opponent easily. Longer reach will make it difficult for your opponent to land on you. When you have the advantage of height and reach, shorter fighters find it difficult to work their way inside. Taller fighters have the ability to hit from outside of the range. 

It is difficult for a shorter opponent to land punches on the opponent who has more height than him. Longer fighters can easily scuff takedown attempts. They have the luxury of reach and can hit the opponent as close to the target as possible. There are lots of MMA fighters that possess these attributes and can use them to their advantage at their own will. So, that makes them the most dangerous fighters. 

Height can have an advantage on rare occasions but reach has considerable benefit. It is not necessarily true that taller fighters have long reached. MMA history is full of fighters that have long reach instead of their modest heights and weight. 

  • In a striking martial art, you have a considerable advantage of height. The first advantage is you can reach further than your opponent. In simple words, you can hit him before he hits you. 
  • Being a shorter opponent, if you want to hit your taller opponent on the head, you can’t him with such force as you can hit him straight. Hitting an opponent higher than you, you can’t have the force that is needed behind the punch. 
  • A taller opponent has the advantage to kick you to the face even without flexibility. 
  • Longer legs and arms mean you’re hooking kicks and hooks have a lot more impact than shorter sized legs and arms. 
  • If you are taller, your opponent will have a hard time getting his leg above yours. You can witness it in Taekwondo that you can easily block kicks by lifting your knee. It is not as easy to hit someone on his face when he can lift his knee to your chin. 
  • In boxing, only height can’t give you an advantage if you don’t have equal skills and expertise. 
  • A taller guy can keep his opponent at bay. It is never easy to hit your taller opponent to the face. 

Disadvantages of Height 

Height can give you some edge over opponents, but at the same time, it has some disadvantages as well. Some major disadvantages are given below:

  • When you are fighting in the same weight class, the shorter fighters will be stronger and his straight punches will be harder than yours. 
  • When you have a short arm or leg, you can strike quickly.
  • If you have too much height, then you cannot easily work the body of your opponent. Your opponent can easily slip in under your guard and can hit you hard to your liver. 

Exceptional Fighters in MMA History with Long Reach

MMA has produced lots of exceptional fighters. In the recent past, lots of martial art fighters have used their long reach to their advantage. Again, there are some fighters that couldn’t use it well to their advantage. When we think of long reach the first name that came to our minds is, Jon Jones. He has a monstrous reach of 84.5 inches for someone who stands 6 feet 4 inches.  

On the other hand, Stefan Struve stands at 7 feet and has the same reach but he couldn’t use it in the right way. Jones has the ability to use his reach advantage with smart fighting. He has a great understanding of distance and range that helps him to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. 

There are some other fighters as well, who took advantage of their reaches such as Tony Ferguson, McGregor, and Francis Ngannou. All of these fighters have used their heights and reach to enjoy exceptional benefits. They used their reach and execute game plans effectively to make their name in mixed martial arts. 

McGregor is the best example. He has the reach advantage over almost the opponents that he has faced. When fighting at the same weight class, he has the advantage of height as well. Both height and reach make him an effective counter striker and can quickly pinpoint shots at smaller opponents. He would have a tough time in UFC if he didn’t possess these attributes. 


If someone says that, a long reach and height can make you a better mixed martial artist overnight, then it is not true. You can only enjoy the benefits if you know how to use both of these. A fighter having both these can still lose to a smarter and better opponent. History reveals that stocky and short fighters can cause more damage in the cage than the longer fighters. You can only be successful if you use both of them in an efficient way. 

If you are fighting in the same weight class, then the shorter opponent can hurt and hit you badly. Because short sized opponents are smart and quick. So, they can be deadly dangerous in the cage. As we have seen in the past, MMA fighters with short heights have won some incredible fights. So, you must have skills and expertise along with height and reach to be the best mixed martial artist. You can’t only rely on weight, height, and reach. 

Sky Hoon. About
Martial Art Fan
He started his love on martial arts by watching MMA and Angela Lee. He then started this blog to learn more about the different martial arts.
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