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The Rise of the Best MMA Gyms: A Look at the Powerhouses of 2023

Discover the best MMA gyms of 2023 and their standout fighters. From American Top Team to City Kickboxing, explore the powerhouses shaping the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and the world’s top MMA gyms have played a crucial role in producing exceptional fighters. While established gyms continue to dominate the scene, emerging teams are making their mark. In this article, we will explore the history of the best MMA gyms of 2023 and highlight their standout fighters.

American Top Team

Founders: Dan Lambert/Ricardo Liborio
Head Coach: Marcus “Conan” Silveira
Head Trainers: Mike Brown, Steve Mocco
Established: 2001
Location: Coconut Creek, Florida

American Top Team (ATT) has been a powerhouse in the MMA world for over two decades. Founded by Dan Lambert and Ricardo Liborio in 2001, ATT has consistently produced world champions and top-tier fighters. The gym has been a breeding ground for fighters across various weight classes, and its success can be attributed to the tight-knit community and the mentorship of former fighters like head trainer Mike Brown. With affiliates worldwide, ATT shows no signs of slowing down and remains one of the best MMA gyms globally.

American Kickboxing Academy

Founder/Head Coach: Javier Mendez
Head Trainers: Bob Cook, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Leandro Vieira, Rosendo Sanchez
Established: 1985
Location: San Diego, California

American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) has a rich history as one of the oldest and most successful MMA gyms. Initially focused on kickboxing, AKA transitioned into an MMA gym as the sport evolved. Under the leadership of Javier Mendez, AKA has consistently produced world champions across generations of fighters. The gym’s legacy is a testament to Mendez’s decision to embrace MMA fully. AKA continues to be a dominant force in the MMA world.

Eagles MMA

Head Coach/Founder: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Established: 2020
Location: Dagestan

Former MMA champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has made a seamless transition from fighter to coach. Alongside his coaching duties at AKA, Nurmagomedov established Eagles MMA in Dagestan. Serving as a sister gym to AKA, Eagles MMA has become a training hub for Russian and Dagestani fighters. With Nurmagomedov’s guidance, the gym has already produced notable champions and is poised for future success.

Kings MMA

Founder/Head Coach: Rafael Cordeiro
Head Trainers: Ricardo Testai
Established: 2010
Location: Huntington Beach, California

Kings MMA quickly rose to prominence after its establishment in 2010. Founded by Rafael Cordeiro, a former trainer at the legendary Chute-Boxe Academy, Kings MMA has attracted top fighters from around the world. The gym’s reputation for producing exceptional fighters is further solidified by its association with boxing icon Mike Tyson. Kings MMA continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the MMA landscape.

Xtreme Couture

Owner/Founder: Randy Couture
Head Coach: Eric Nicksick
Head Trainer: Dennis Davis
Established: 2006
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Xtreme Couture faced financial challenges in the early 2010s, leading to the departure of several top fighters. However, under the leadership of head coach Eric Nicksick, the gym experienced a resurgence. Notable fighters like Francis Ngannou joined the gym, contributing to its renewed success. In 2021, Xtreme Couture and Nicksick were recognized as the gym and trainer of the year, respectively. Xtreme Couture remains a prominent MMA gym, attracting top talent.

Alliance MMA

Founders: Eric Del Fierro, Brandon Vera
Head Coach: Eric Del Fierro
Established: 2007
Location: Chula Vista, California

Alliance MMA has been a premier training camp for MMA fighters since its inception in 2007. The gym has produced numerous world champions, including Dominick Cruz and Brandon Vera. With affiliate gyms across California and the Philippines, Alliance MMA has established itself as a global force in the MMA community.

Serra-Longo Fight Team

Founders: Matt Serra, Ray Longo
Head Coaches: Matt Serra, Ray Longo
Established: 2001
Location: Long Island, New York

Serra-Longo Fight Team, led by UFC Hall-of-Famer Matt Serra and Ray Longo, has a rich history of producing UFC champions. The gym’s notable fighters include Aljamain Sterling, Chris Weidman, and Merab Dvalishvili. With multiple affiliations in the New York area, Serra-Longo Fight Team continues to be a powerhouse in the MMA world.

Pitbull Bros Martial Arts

Founders: Patricio/Patricky Freire, Eric Albarracin
Head Coach: Eric Albarracin
Established: Scottsdale, Arizona

Pitbull Bros Martial Arts, founded by Eric Albarracin in collaboration with the Pitbull brothers, has quickly risen to prominence. The gym has attracted top fighters like Paulo Costa and Henry Cejudo, establishing itself as one of the best MMA gyms globally. Under Albarracin’s leadership, Pitbull Bros Martial Arts aims to nurture and develop future champions.

Jackson Wink MMA

Founder: Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn
Head Coaches: Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn
Established: 1992
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Jackson Wink MMA has long been regarded as one of the best MMA gyms worldwide. Co-founded by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, the gym has been a breeding ground for world-class fighters. While the gym has seen some fighters retire or move on in recent years, it continues to produce top-tier talent. Jackson Wink MMA remains a prominent name in the MMA community.

ONXS Sports (Trevor Wittman)

Founder/Head Coach: Trevor
Location: Denver, Colorado

ONXS Sports, founded by Trevor Wittman, may not be an MMA gym per se, but it is renowned for manufacturing top-quality martial arts equipment. Wittman, considered one of the best MMA coaches globally, has trained fighters like Justin Gaethje, Kamaru Usman, and Rose Namajunas. Despite not training many fighters, Wittman’s students have achieved remarkable success, solidifying ONXS Sports’ reputation.

The MMA Lab

Founder/Head Coach: John Crouch
Head Trainers: Benson Henderson, Rob Emerson, Maria Henderson, Chris Zubrycki
Established: 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

The MMA Lab, founded by John Crouch in 2007, has consistently been recognized as one of the world’s best MMA gyms. The gym’s association with former UFC champion Benson Henderson has contributed to its international recognition. The MMA Lab continues to produce top fighters, with Sean O’Malley poised to become the gym’s next UFC champion.

Kill Cliff FC (Formerly Sanford MMA)

Founder/Head Coach: Henri Hooft, Greg Jones
Head Trainers: Henri Hooft, Greg Jones, Jason Strout
Established: 2017
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida

Kill Cliff FC, formerly known as Sanford MMA, emerged from the ashes of the Blackzilians Fight Team. Under the leadership of Henri Hooft and Greg Jones, the gym has established itself as one of the best in the world. Notable fighters like Michael Chandler and Gilbert Burns have found success at Kill Cliff FC. With a growing fight team, the gym aims to produce more champions.

City Kickboxing

Founders: Eugene Bareman, Doug Viney
Head Trainers: Eugene Bareman, Doug Viney
Established: 2007
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

City Kickboxing, founded by Eugene Bareman and Doug Viney, has rapidly become one of the best MMA gyms globally. The gym’s association with UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski has catapulted its reputation. City Kickboxing boasts a roster of top fighters like Kai Kara-France and Dan Hooker. The gym is determined to maintain its status as one of the world’s best.

AMC Pankration

Founder/Head Coach: Matt Hume
Head Trainers: Demetrious Johnson, Gabe Walton, Matt Michaels
Established: 1991
Location: Woodinville, Washington

AMC Pankration, led by MMA pioneer Matt Hume, has been a dominant force in the MMA world for decades. The gym has produced champions like Demetrious Johnson and Bibiano Fernandes. Hume’s expertise extends beyond AMC Pankration, as he holds a prominent position in ONE Championship. With a legacy of excellence, AMC Pankration rightfully earns its place among the best MMA gyms.

In conclusion, the world of MMA is shaped by the exceptional fighters and the gyms that nurture their talent. The best MMA gyms of 2023 continue to push the boundaries of excellence and produce champions who leave a lasting impact on the sport.