Reading List of the Best MMA Books of all Time

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Best Books of all Time on MMA

Interested in learning everything about MMA? Check out the complete reading list of the best MMA books of all time for great book recommendations.

The page is a reading list sharing the best books to read on MMA based on many hours of reading and research. You can be sure that each one is fantastic and will be worth your time.

About MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA), sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred (NHB), and ultimate fighting, and originally referred to as Vale Tudo is a full-contact combat sport based on striking, grappling, and ground fighting, incorporating techniques from various combat sports from around the world.

19 Books on MMAđź‘Ť


1. The Way of the Fight

Georges St-Pierre
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre, the most well-known UFC fighter in the world, has written a strikingly honest account of his life as a fighter, emphasizing the life lessons that helped him go from being the victim of bullying to an accomplished athlete and champion.

The Way of the Fight offers a motivational glimpse into a master’s thought process. Georges views everything as a competition, and the life of a fighter is the best example of a competition there is. With the insight of someone who is aware that nothing is guaranteed—his next bout might always be his last—he expounds on the need for discipline, risk, and even terror.


2. Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat

Forrest Griffon & Erich Krauss
Publication Date: May 18, 2010
Got Fight?” is a New York Times bestseller and is a hilarious, exciting, and direct instruction manual for fighting from the most mysterious and unpredictable fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA).

Forrest Griffin won the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV and is the light-heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In Got Fight? he demonstrates his process for you. B.J. Penn’s Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge was co-written with Muay Thai fighter Erich Krauss, who is also the co-author of “The Prodigy.”


3. Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage

Randy Couture & Loretta Hunt
Publication Date: July 7, 2009
The inspiring tale of one of the most talented and committed sportsmen in the world, a natural-born fighter whose talent and charisma have propelled mixed martial arts from the fringes to the fore, is told in Becoming the Natural.

In Becoming the Natural, Couture shares his life’s journey for the first time, starting with his quest to find a father figure as a youngster and ending with the thrill of pure adrenaline that came with his first wrestling match in elementary school. When Couture entered the UFC in 1997 at the age of 33, he had already defeated two opponents in the heavyweight division. He then defeated Vitor Belfort by TKO to acquire the moniker “The Natural.”


4. Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor and Me: A Trainer’s Journey

John Kavanagh 
Publication Date: June 30, 2016
The inspiring tale of Conor McGregor’s arduous journey to victory in the world’s fastest-rising sport is told by his trainer.

In this passage, Kavanagh shares his own extraordinary life narrative, which is important to the tale of the rise of mixed martial arts in Ireland and around the world. As McGregor’s trainer, Kavanagh has established himself as a guru for young people seeking to learn martial arts, and his club has drawn athletes from all around the world.


5. Quitters Never Win: My Life in UFC ― The American Edition

Michael Bisping & Anthony Evans 
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Here, in his own words, is the tale of Michael Bisping, Britain’s version of Rocky Balboa and the newest inductee into the Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame. This Updated American Edition contains brand-new content that is exclusive to it.

Quitters Never Win tells the incredible tale of how he went from humble beginnings to a legendary mixed martial arts career, which was capped by winning the Middleweight Championship. It includes an entirely new chapter for American readers, the tale of his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, new insights into his fighting career, never-before-told stories about his film and TV career, and a terrifying account of him fending off attempted kidnappers while filming in South Africa.


6. A Fighter’s Heart: One Man’s Journey Through the World of Fighting

Sam Sheridan
Publication Date: January 21, 2008
It’s a stunning first-person account of what it feels like to attain the pinnacle of carefully controlled personal aggression, to hit—and be hit.

Sam Sheridan arrived in Australia in 1999 after doing a string of outrageously daring jobs all around the world. He was flush with cash and determined not to work again until he had spent it all. He realized he could finally pursue a long-dormant obsession: fighting since there were no outside distractions.


7. Shamrock: The World’s Most Dangerous Man

Jonathan Snowden
Publication Date: April 25, 2020
This book examines one of the most fascinating athletes in combat sports, from his cage fights with Hall of Famers Royce Gracie and Dan Severn to his even more terrifying battles outside of it.

The renowned Bleacher Report columnist Jonathan Snowden provides a riveting and hard-hitting look at the events that led to the rise and incredible fall of one of the mixed martial arts’ most enduring heroes, Ken Shamrock, in his book Shamrock: The World’s Most Dangerous Man.


8. The Trigger: Narratives of the American Shooter

Daniel J. Patinkin
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Each of the six shooters was thoroughly questioned by author Daniel J. Patinkin about their life experiences and the particular circumstances that prompted them to use a handgun against another person.

In South Carolina, a young man begins a life of crime that ends in a drug-related shooting and years in prison; in Chicago, an off-duty police officer gets into a gunfight with a murderous gunman, saving another patrolman; and in a rural Tennessee town, a troubled adolescent shoots her abusive father in his sleep. The Trigger tells the dramatic life tales of six Americans who have killed someone.


9. Little Evil: One Ultimate Fighter’s Rise to the Top

Jens Pulver & Erich Krauss
Publication Date: October 23, 2003
Little Evil is a compelling true story about a father and son, what betrayal does to children and what it pushes them to accomplish, and how one determined guy broke free from the limitations of his upbringing to become the UFC lightweight champion.

Jens learned how to use his fists as weapons from fear. He learned through fear to use any methods necessary to obtain his goals. Fear set him on the path to becoming a world champion fighter, debunking the claims of everyone who said he would never amount to anything more than his drunken grandfather. This path eventually allowed him to put his childhood traumas to rest and find inner peace. It was the path that would make him the most fearsome pound-for-pound fighter in the ring.


10. Heart for the Fight: A Marine Hero’s Journey from the Battlefields of Iraq to Mixed Martial Arts Champion

Brian Stann & John R. Bruning
Publication Date: September 6, 2010
Operation Iraqi Freedom III and IV saw Brian Stann conduct two combat tours. He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery while commanding a Marine platoon during Operation Matador after his squad came across vastly superior enemy forces.

This is the tale of a young man from the rough side of Scranton who attended the Naval Academy, spent four years as a linebacker for the Navy football team, joined the Marines, graduated first in his infantry officer class, commanded his troops through two bloody combat tours in the Anbar Province, was awarded the Silver Star for valor, and is now one of the most intriguing figures on the mixed martial arts (MMA) professional circuit.


11. Jiu-Jitsu and Life: Lessons Learned on and off the Mat

Travis Tooke
Publication Date: July 15, 2020
For the past fifteen years, Travis Tooke has served as the CEO and head teacher of Team Tooke Mixed Martial Arts. Carlos Gracie Jr. awarded him his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and he presently holds the title of fourth-degree black belt.

Travis is followed throughout his jiu-jitsu training from Houston to Dallas to Rio de Janeiro and back in Jiu-Jitsu and Life: Lessons Learned on and off the Mat. This isn’t simply a book about martial arts; it’s also an insightful look at what it takes to achieve in both martial arts and business.


12. The MMA Encyclopedia

Jonathan Snowden, Kendall Shields & Peter Lockley
Publication Date: October 31, 2010
Has three appendices that list each MMA’s outcomes in detail. This is the best reference guide to the greatest sporting event in history.

As the ultimate reference work on mixed martial arts, The MMA Encyclopedia puts the competitors, the information, and the principles at your fingertips. The encyclopedia will help people who don’t recognize a wristlock from a wristwatch to overcome the MMA language barrier.


13. The Laws of the Ring

Urijah Faber & Tim Keown
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
The Laws of the Ring is full of humorous, provocative, and inspirational stories for a colorful glimpse into the rise of a young superstar and the philosophy behind his accomplishments. It is also a part manifesto for success, personal journey, and meditation on a well-lived life.

Urijah tells the entire tale of how he turned a rigorous sport into a career in The Laws of the Ring. Even outside of the ring, his love of fighting has inspired him to accomplish a lot more, like starting his own training center, designing a line of sportswear, managing a fight team, and most recently serving as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter.


14. Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting

Jonathan Snowden 
Publication Date: December 1, 2008
Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting equips you with all the background knowledge and facts required to comprehend the modern Mixed Martial Arts scene, where the backstage negotiations are just as ferocious as the actual combat.

Mixed martial arts was first introduced in 1993. While pro wrestlers Nobuhiko Takada and Masakatsu Funaki led a parallel evolution in Japan, where cultural forces led to fighters becoming mainstream celebrities, early stars like Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie propelled this new sport into the public’s consciousness in North America. The UFC was forced to adopt an aggressive marketing strategy to gain public attention because it had no television contract and little to no publicity budget.


15. Let’s Get It On!: The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee (Spirit of the River Series)

"Big" John McCarthy
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
“Big” John recounts his insider’s viewpoint from being present for many of the sport’s most memorable occasions.

This first full-length autobiography of pop culture icon “Big” John McCarthy provides an intimate portrait of the legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) referee and covers every facet of his life, from his stern Los Angeles upbringing to his involvement in the naming of the sport to his role in its regulation and MMA’s ascent in stature.


16. The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch

Jonathan Gottschall
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
The Professor in the Cage is an important new examination into the science and history of violence that is motivated by Gottschall’s unexpected journey from the college classroom to the fighting cage.

Jonathan Gottschall senses a problem when an MMA gym starts up across the street from his workplace. He works up the courage and finds himself preparing for an all-out cage battle at the age of forty, out of shape, and dissatisfied with his job as an adjunct English professor.


17. From the Fields to the Garden: The Life of Stitch Duran

Stitch Duran 
Publication Date: September 24, 2010
This book, FROM THE FIELDS TO THE GARDEN: THE LIFE OF STITCH DURAN, the tale of how he made it there, details the many individuals and fights Stitch has influenced in the world of combat sports.

From his humble beginnings in a migrant camp where he picked cotton and fruit while dreaming of playing baseball and traveling the world, to his time serving in the United States Air Force stationed in Thailand, to the calm of the locker room before a big fight, to the center of the .cage in the midst of chaos, to the stadiums of Japan, to the arenas of Las Vegas, and finally to the lights of Madison Square Garden as the most well-known cutman in combat sports.


18. No Holds Barred: The Complete History of Mixed Martial Arts in America

Clyde Gentry III
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
The third edition of No Holds Barred, which has been dubbed the “bible for MMA,” offers a significant amount of new content. It is the most thorough account of the development of mixed martial arts in America.

The fastest-growing mainstream sport in the world, mixed martial arts has conquered the nation. In addition to spawning multimillion-dollar apparel lines and, perhaps, a lifestyle, it has totally altered how people view martial arts. The fan base is made up of a variety of young and elderly, successful and hip adrenaline junkies rather than boorish characters.


19. Blood in the Cage: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC

L. Jon Wertheim
Publication Date: January 15, 2009
Through the chain-link Octagon, Blood in the Cage peeks into the horrifyingly alluring world of mixed martial arts, which is surging in popularity despite opposition from all sides.

Pat Miletich, a mixed martial arts pioneer and six-time UFC champion who today oversees the most renowned MMA training facility in the world, is the subject of Wertheim’s book. By himself, Miletich has made an improbable hub for his sport out of a run-down town on the banks of the Mississippi.


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