Dirty Boxing of Randy Couture – MMA Analysis & Breakdown

Randy “”The Natural” Couturez a UFC Hall of Famer and former heavyweight and light
heavyweight champion. Before he started freestyle fighting he was also a pan
american greco-roman wrestling champion. Greco-roman wrestling is unique in that
it bans any holds below the waist forcing the
wrestlers to use upper body clinching techniques to control the opponent and
secure takedowns. Now Randy was able to take this experience with upper body
clinching and combined it with striking to help pioneer a tactic known as dirty
boxing, so-called because many of the techniques used would be illegal in
regular boxing and in this study we’re going to be taking a look at some of
those techniques and tactics that Randy used in his dirty boxing style. The first step to dirty boxing is to
enter into clinching range with your opponent and Randy has a few main
techniques which he used to do this safely. You can see here that after
weaving he throws a left hook and leaves it attached to the back of the neck
establishing the clinch from where he can throw uppercuts. This left hook was his favourite method of establishing his dirty boxing clinch, he would throw it
either as a lead or work it into combinations and instead of retracting
it back to his forehead like a normal hook he’d leave it hanging and convert it
into a single collar tie. Another way he would enter would be to slip his
opponent’s punch to the outside while moving in to establish the clinch. As he
was lowering his level he would often end up with an under hook or an under
hook and a collar tie when using this entry. While this is a defensive or
reactive entry he would often also throw a jab as he slipped to help him enter
the clinch and blend the boxing and clinch work together. When he did lower
his level he never dropped to his knee like in a traditional wrestling shot but
rather bent at the waist while keeping his head roughly in the center of his
opponent’s chest which helped establish the clinch and avoid counter knees. And
he would also use an overhand right as a big shot to throw while stepping in on
his opponent he would then sometimes leave the right hanging to
convert to a collar tie like he does with the left hook and here against Tim Sylvia he used
a hand trap before following through with his right hand and a left hook to
establish the clinch which he used twice in that fight. Once in the clinch a key
component to remaining on the offensive is to have your opponent off balanced at
all times. This is forcing them to circle while cutting angles and pushing and
pulling on them to shift their weight from one side to another never allowing
them to set their feet properly. While a lot of the off balancing techniques is
subtle shifts and manipulations of the opponent’s weight a more obvious one is
the ear rip where Randy reaches and grabs the opponent’s ear while pulling it
across their body to unbalance them. It’s a sharp jolting movement normally
executed from the collar tie. Another obvious example of off balancing is
Randy’s use of the snap down which as he’s putting weight on the back of the
opponent’s head if he breaks their posture he’ll move into a front
headlock position which you can then start to grapple from. Another key
component in dirty boxing is constant pummeling. You see here as Randy has a
left collar tie and punches it will swap to a right collar tie to punch and then
swap back to his left collar tie. As he is punching he is constantly changing grips
from collar ties to under hooks while throwing hooks and uppercuts which keeps
his opponent constantly reacting to your movement. It serves the same purpose as
off balancing and that you want to keep your opponent constantly guessing about
what strike is going to be thrown next and Randy became a master at using his
punches to constantly pummel through different grips for instance here he
shoulder bumps to create room for an uppercut which he pummels through for an
underhook as he pulled his under hook out on the other side to throw punches. One
of the main positions to work from is the single collar tie, this is with the
hand on the back of the head of the opponent with the elbow driving into
their chest. This puts a lot of weight onto the back of their neck while
leaving you a free hand to punch with. Ideally with the single collar tie
you’re able to break the opponent’s posture enough that their head starts
facing down towards the mat, this means that they’re not able to see where your
punches are coming from as you throw short shots from the hip.
The two main strikes you’re gonna have from here is the uppercut and the hook
ideally you’re going to be alternating between them, again to keep the opponent
guessing and reacting to what strike you’re going to throw but also as you
throw the uppercut it’s likely to lift their head up which sets it up for a
hook to come and connect over the top of their shoulder and again on top of
alternating between punches Randy would always alternate between grips and
change collar ties from one side to another before resuming punching. And
while the hooks and uppercuts are thrown with power Randy was never really
looking for a single knockout shot rather is looking to build up volume and
wear the opponent out with attrition over time and it’s this focus on
attrition along with the off-balancing techniques of the single collar tie
including being extra heavy on the back of the opponent’s head making them carry
your weight to a point where they may find it difficult to move their feet
that made the dirty boxing technique so effective. And here we see a body shot to
an uppercut as Randy pummels through with his collar tie to change to the
right side while scoring another uppercut with his left then moving to
the inside and finishing with a left hook over the top. Overall randy was able
to score a lot of damage from the single collar tie the other main position Randy
would work from is the single under hook this is grabbing high on the opponent’s
shoulder while leaving the other hand free to strike and pummel. Another
consideration from the single under hook is to have good head position this is
with your forehead driving across the opponent’s chin never allowing them to
look towards you. That head position can act as a frame between you and your
opponent to create more distance to throw strikes otherwise randy would use
that single under hook to turn or bump his opponents to create that extra
distance to strike all the while focusing on keeping them
off balance by manipulating their way lifting his opponents up with the
underhook in an attempt to break their posture was also another means that
Randy used to off balance with the underhook and while he would strike and
pummel in to grab an underhook it’s worth noting that he would also remove
an underhook to begin striking. Preferably if he had an underhook and a
collar tie. A great example here is while punching in he secures a right under
hook and establishes good head position he then removes his under hook to
convert to a collar tie before throwing a left and a right hook and then
pummeling back in to finish with double underhooks. And out of all of Randy
Couture’s dirty boxing sequences this one might happen to be my favorite. Let’s
slow it down so we can take a closer look, Randy begins by throwing a right
elbow followed to an ear rip before throwing an uppercut and pummeling
straight into an under hook then with the free hand on the right side he
throws a hook to the body and to the head, great work! A tactic Randy would use
to secure the under hook is as a counter for when his opponents would grab a
collar tie, you can see here his opponents would get a collar tie and
Randy would bump and pummel in under with his under hook. This would play into
this strategy of constantly pummeling between those dirty boxing positions and
another thing you do with the under hook is bring it higher and up across his
opponent’s mouth and jaw to push that chin away and exert extra control in the
position. And now moving on to knee strikes, while in a dirty boxing clinch
punches are going to be the primary weapon Randy would still throw knees
when the opportunity arose although the knees weren’t doubled up on and were
often just thrown as a single strike. They did serve the purpose of breaking the
opponent’s posture which could then set up follow-up punches.
Breaking from the clinch was also another tactic that Randy would use to
take the initiative in the clinch battles. Randy would proactively break
from the clinch and use that opportunity to unload boxing combinations at his
opponents before re-entering the clinch as Randy would break from the clinch the
opponent’s could be caught with their hands still down from where they were in
the grappling exchange as the opponent tries to catch up Randy would use that
moment to throw intense short sharp combinations before re-establishing the
clinch and this breaking from the clinch really ties together the principles of
off balancing and pummeling that Randy used to always make sure his opponents
were on the back foot when he was using the dirty boxing clinch. They never knew
what was coming next and Randy was always staying one step ahead of them.
Dirty boxing in mixed martial arts owes a lot of its notoriety to Randy Couture
and his excellent use of it throughout his career while other fighters like
Jen’s Pulver Matt Lindland and Dan Henderson also helped pave the way. Dirty
boxing gave Randy Couture a style to perfectly integrate his greco-roman
wrestling background into freestyle fighting. The importance of the off
balancing and pummeling techniques that Randy was able to bring in from his
wrestling background cannot be understated, Randy Couture made sure
dirty boxing was much more than simply striking within the clinch he made it a
constant alternating battle between the opponent’s worrying about strikes,
grappling, pummeling, keeping their balance, all the while they were
accumulating damage and having Randy hang his weight on them. And that
concludes this study on dirty boxing I hope you enjoyed it please leave any
comments you have down below subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already
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52 thoughts on “Dirty Boxing of Randy Couture – MMA Analysis & Breakdown

  1. Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez use many of these techniques as well. Clinch work is such an important but overlooked aspect of the game.

  2. great stuff. learning not only technique but the evolution of styles and their place in mma history. Keep up the good work.

  3. amazing amazing video. love this sooo much. you are a blessing for digging up such jems. if you did a nathan corbett video i would have to throw money at you on patreon.

  4. love this stuff man as a pro im always trying to study find new techniques u got any more ideas coming up for new vids?

  5. What a fucking badass he was! The game will never be the same ever again without Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell! They made the game entertaining when I was a man in my twenties and thirties! I don't give a damn for these current circus clowns in Dana whites kitchen cupboard of Fighters that lose their soul to theatrics LOL but these two fighters I mentioned changed the game and pioneered awesomeness! Thank you sonny Brown for making these videos

  6. Great work, Sonny. Really cool to see a martial arts style – in this case Greco – adapted to effectively to MMA despite it's limitations (no holds below the waist). One of my favorite MMA fights of all time is Couture absolutely rag dolling a young and then dominant Tito Ortiz.

  7. Great work! Was reminded of the "hangers" Couture left after throwing hooks into the single-collar tie when Gaethje fought Barboza, they are still used and effective in the modern day.

  8. Awesome video and study, couture and huges were some of the best wrestler ever in sport, this video deserve more views, randy also practice and study freestyle collegiate wrestling and Nelson system that have influenced by cacc

  9. Oh I've enjoyed beating up my training partners with these tactics. I catch necks all the time. Next on a mma-fight. Thank you <3

  10. Really good breakdown and analysis on one of the most often overlooked skills the The Natural possessed. Great video. You got a sub.

  11. do you think his bout against Tim Sylvia supports that clinching even when you're the smaller fighter can work well?

    Most people talk about avoiding the clinch if you are at a size disadvantage and instead shooting for more "reactive takedowns" (like gsp). I would use dc as a counter to that argument but I'm pretty sure dc is usually the heavier one in the bout when he's clinching a lot.

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