Home Science Education Deliberate Southpaws: The Power Behind The Stance

Deliberate Southpaws: The Power Behind The Stance


When starting combat sports, beginners always have the dilemma deciding orthodox or southpaw stance. Should they go with strong side forward or back?

This decision usually leads to emulating their coach. There’s much more to it than just emulating a coach. Boxing has the tradition of right-handed fighters and putting their left side forward or orthodox, 90 percent of all boxers have this as their stance.

Then there’s MMA, this shows a significant change in percentage than boxing. It leads to a higher percentage of right side forward or southpaw. The number of orthodox fighters drops to 60 percent. Does this mean all the lefties decided to go with MMA competition then boxing? Not at all, the number of right handers in both are roughly the same. What we have are “deliberate southpaws.”

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In the 18th century hitting a man was turned into a science. It started out that a persons lead arm was extent infront, almost like a fencers would hold its foil, it was used defensively and a way to measure range.

When boxing gloves or ‘mufflers’ came around it made fighters with a strong rear willing to keep it back there because the gloves made for harder knockouts which means more windup.

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Jabs weren’t something used too often. The fighters would rather wind up and unload a powerful straight or swing. As the jab developed it began to emulate the fencer’s foil and boxing changed but the stance didn’t. If boxers were to truly emulate the fencer and his foil they’d put their dominiate hand forward, that wasn’t the case.

This goes back to the gloves. It’s hard to knock someone out with them on. Instead of losing power but gaining precision in the jab, they stayed with more power in the rear windup.

Then why so many deliberate southpaws in MMA?

Two things can answer this. First, many fighters didn’t compete in MMA starting out. They were wrestlers, grapplers and some practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These styles, when seeking takedowns at the legs, are taught to have their coordinated side forward. Giving the fighter more precision when attacking. So in the transition to MMA, most adopted the southpaw stance to stay in their comfort zone.


The other answer goes back to the gloves. MMA’s gloves are lighter compared to those used for boxing. The lighter the glove, the less power the fighter needs to do damage. This gives jabs the power to land just as hard as cross in boxing and the less powerful hand to set back for the windup. The power is back in both hands. Now each hand has KO power, equalizing the grappler enabling them to shoot in with their coordinated side forward.

Due to these facts and the development of MMA, using the deliberate southpaw stance is becoming more prevalent.