Should I train Gi or No-Gi for MMA?
Training in a Gi for MMA:
Let’s face it, 90% of MMA fighters will say that training in a gi is a lot less fun than a rash guard, but who ever said the grind is always fun? The gi slows combat down, it provides a more controlled and educational environment for improving your fundamentals, and intricate details of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only does training in a gi aid in a deeper understanding of each position, you get to show that knowledge off by flaunting a belt color based on your experience and knowledge of the sport, ranging from White Belt to Black Belt. Many of the top BJJ players in the world will vouch for the usage of the Gi to build technical skill, fundamentals, and control, but many are starting to transition over to a hybrid or no-gi style of training for MMA.
Training No-Gi for MMA:
An MMA fight, the majority of the time, is anything but slow and controlled. Many describe MMA fights as chaotic, unpredictable, violent and, well, slippery. When you are locked in that octagon with nothing to grab onto except your opponent's neck and four limbs, there is no time to reach for grips or think about your fundamentals, you just have to react. Training no-gi, in a rash guard for MMA is for sure more functional, and a much better representation of what your MMA fight will actually be like. Training in a gi involves lots of grips, gi related submissions, and slow/methodical movements, which is not ideal for stimulating/practicing an MMA fight. In fact, many schools such as 10th Planet BJJ and professors such as John Danaher have adopted a gi-free style of Jiu Jitsu. 10th Planet has flaunted this no-gi style of training through great UFC fighters such as Tony Ferguson, Alan Joubain, and Kelvin Gastelum, while John Danaher has trained many of the current BJJ greats such as Gordan Ryan, Garry Tonon, and Nick Rodriguez.
Our recommendation would be to adopt a hybrid-style of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to improve your fundamentals, knowledge of the sport, and control with the Gi, and combine that with the fast-paced, unpredictable, and functional effects of the No-Gi style of training. One way you could implement this would be to have two days a week training in the Gi, and three days a week training without the gi, or a 1:2 ratio of the two methods.