Last Updated on December 14, 2022
Featured MMA Schools in San Diego
- 1. Victory MMA & Fitness
- 2. City Boxing
- 3. San Diego Combat Academy
- 4. The Arena
- 5. Steel MMA and Fitness
- 6. American Boxing Muay Thai & Fitness
- 7. The Alliance MMA Gym
- 8. MMA Academy
- 9. City of Champions
For those looking for a bit more thrill in their life or a way to test themselves, there are a lot of things you can do. These days, the sport of MMA is really taking off and seems to be one of the choices for thrill seekers in terms of a new hobby or passion. In addition to getting into the MMA game, this sport offers a great opportunity to get better shape.
Victory MMA & Fitness
3666 Midway Dr
San Diego, CA 92110
Victory MMA and Fitness has been one of the best MMA gyms for group exercising and training in MMA since 2007. One of the best features of training here is that there are no long term contracts so you can walk away whenever you’d like. On the other hand, we suggest sticking around because the coaches at Victory MMA teach over 130 classes per week that include Kickboxing, Wrestling, Fitness, MMA, Boxing, CrossFit, Boot Camp, Functional Fitness.
Jocko Willink is one of the owners of Victory MMA and is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt as well as being a 20 year veteran Navy SEAL. Jocko is an author, motivational speaker, has his own podcast. All that being said, he has still brought in some of the best MMA coaches in Southern Cal to help you meet all of your fitness and fighting goals.
A far as the MMA programs goes, you will be learning from UFC veteran and three time ADCC Champion, Dean Lister. In addition to dean, there are other MMA coaches like Tony Palafox, Steven Frye, Adam Mazin and Gareth Joseph. They teach in a first class facility that will have you on your way to MMA goals in no time.
1059 14th Street
San Diego, CA 92101
City Boxing in San Diego is one of the best and original martial arts facilities in the San Diego area. The training center was started in 2001 in downtown San Diego even before MMA really started taking off and many of the other facilities in the area started opening MMA gyms. City Boxing has been offering classes in all forms of martial arts since they opened their doors. These classes include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and of course, Boxing.
Many MMA schools have come and gone but City Boxing has stayed firm as a productive member of the community. They have done this by thriving on the professionalism and strength of the fighters that make up this great team. The team at City Boxing invites you to come try out some classes and even though they are home to many tough fighters, the team atmosphere is real and you will be welcomed with open arms when you come to City Boxing. The trainers here are patient and friendly and will make sure that your time spent in the facility will be fun and rewarding. From advanced to beginners, City Boxing will teach everyone. This goes for the people that have ambitions of being a professional fighter or the people that are coming to get in shape and start living a healthier lifestyle.
Some of the very high quality instructors at City Boxing include their conditioning trainer, Danielle Ferreira, Vernon Lee is the professional boxing trainer, Manny Melchor is also a boxing trainer and is a former WBC & IBF Champion, Denis Grachev is the Muay Thai coach and has a resume to back than up, and finally, Carlos “Baruch” Ferreira is the trainer for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes offered at City Boxing.
With this team of professional coaches, you will be on your way to all your fitness and self-defense goals while making lifetime friendships.
San Diego Combat Academy
6008 Mission Gorge Rd
San Diego, CA 92120
At the San Diego Combat Academy, you have the opportunity to not only take MMA classes, but many others that will impact your skillset if you are looking to be an MMA fighter. Whether you are looking to get in better shape, be a champion fighter or just learn some self-defense, the classes at San Diego Combat Academy can accommodate any of your wishes.
The boxing classes here provide excellent strength training and cardio with bag work, jump rope, abdominal exercises and medicine ball drills. Tiger Smalls leads this class and teaches classic boxing skills with training techniques that are focused on combinations, timing, conditioning and footwork.
The Kickboxing class is taught by Liz Carmouche who will guide you through high intensity plyometric and body weight exercises that are made for improving your flexibility, agility, conditioning and explosiveness. Liz will incorporate combos of knees, kicks, elbows and punches to build a full range of techniques and motions in your game.
The MMA program is headed by Manolo Hernandez and all of his classes start with drilling and class instruction so you can learn the fundamentals before you get into the more complicated techniques. These classes combine the disciplines of Muay Thai, BJJ and Boxing and these forms of self-defense will be put together so that you can form your own style for your MMA ambitions.
Not only do you get some of the best coaches in their disciplines, you will also get to train BJJ with one of the top BJJ competitors that is currently out there in Richie “Boogeyman” Martinez and Geo “Freakazoid” Martinez. Both are black belts under 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo.
There is something for everyone at San Diego Combat Academy and if you just want to get in shape, you’re in the right place as well as if you are in it to be an MMA champion. Train with some of the best athletes in the world and get coached by some of the best teachers in the business.
3350 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
With some of the best coaching and athletes in the world, The Arena Combat Sports Gym in San Diego has everything you need so that you can push yourself beyond what you knew you could to reach you dreams of becoming an MMA fighter or just a better version of yourself.
The story of The Arena Combat Sports Gym is a fascinating one and has been around, in some form, since 1937. The founder, Aloysius C. Holtmann was from Iowa and enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 21. He graduated MCRD in San Diego and then ended up being stationed in Hawaii.
While Holtmann was in Hawaii, he trained with Seishiro (Henry) Okazaki. Okazaki is the founder of Danzan-Ryu Jujutsu. Holtmann got his black belt from and his certificate to teach the art in 1940. After that, the US entered the second World War where Holtmann fought in some of the most notorious battles there was including the Battles of Okinawa and Guam. He was well decorated and received numerous promotions.
Come 1946, Sergeant Major Holtmann retired from the Marines and had graduated from SDSU by 1949. At this point, he was teaching Judo until 1949 at the YMCA in San Diego. He then opened up his own school called the Southern California School of Judo and Jiu Jitsu (now known as The Arena). He was featured in the first issue of Black Belt Magazine and went on to be in the magazine numerous times over the next 30 years.
Sensei Holtmann passed away at the age of 85 and taught Judo and Jiu Jitsu to many people over his 7 decades of teaching. From there, it was Sensei Gene Mauro who was the leader of The Arena until his death in 2005.
The school moved from 30th Street to Sports Arena Blvd after 57 years of being in one location. The school was expanded so it then offered Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Wrestling and Strength & Conditioning. These classes are taught by some of the most respected athletes in their respective fields like Barrett Yoshida in BJJ, Chris Leben in MMA, Basheer Abdulah in Boxing and Charles Martinez in MMA & Muay Thai.
Steel MMA and Fitness
5910 Santo Rd
San Diego, CA 92124
Steel MMA & Fitness is located on Santo Rd in their new 4,000 square foot facility. Steel MMA & Fitness has long had an interest in serving their community by bringing in some of the top world and national champions across many different martial arts and disciplines to allow the people that reside in the greater San Diego community to have an opportunity to learn from the best. The core values at Steel MMA & Fitness revolve around fostering a safe and fun environment for martial arts and fitness while providing top notch customer service. The idea here is to be an advocate from family fun and friendships and both of those will happen if you choose to come train with the team at Steel MMA & Fitness.
In terms of services offered, Steel MMA & Fitness has programs for students of all experience levels and ages. This means everyone is welcome through those doors and you will feel it when you step inside. The martial arts programs include Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for both kids and adults in addition to their stellar MMA program. Other fitness programs offered here include Strength & Conditioning, Cardio Kickboxing, Yoga and Boxing. You also have the opportunity to get private training in any of those subjects if you want a little more one-on-one attention.
Carl Gebhardt is the owner and “mad scientist” at Steel MMA & Fitness. You can always find Carl on the mats working with his students and going through the training programs with the coaching staff so everything is up to date. He is also always innovating and studying the evolution of modern striking theory so if you are coming here to be an MMA fighter, Carl will guide you on your path to success.
In addition to Carl, Mike Veigel is the co-founder of Steel MMA & Fitness and busy with the technical side of things while Zoarel Fuentes also helps coach and is an amateur Muay Thai fighter herself.
American Boxing Muay Thai & Fitness
1735 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
American Boxing Muay Thai & Fitness is the oldest Muay Thai Boxing and Fitness gym in San Diego. You can find American Boxing Muay Thai & Fitness just 1 mile from the famous Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach on Garnet Avenue. The offer personal training and classes in MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Submission Grappling and H.I.I.T. If you think that is all you can get here, you would be wrong because in addition to the great martial arts listed above, you can take beginner surfing lessons with FREE rentals for the board.
American Boxing was operated and founded by Kru Dave Nielson. Nielson is an avid fitness professional, holistic health practitioner, avid surfer, combat sports expert and a self-defense instructor. We don’t say these things lightly as Nielson is a retired Muay Thai fighter that won various titles in the sport while also being a master level personal trainer with over 10 years of full time training in that area.
American Boxing has a very unique and fun vibe that focuses on philosophy and technique as well as functional strength and intense cardiovascular conditioning. These philosophies mixed in with the training in all the classes offered will get you on your way to meeting your fitness and MMA goals a lot quicker than you might expect.
Because of the intensity of this program, you might be wondering what it is like to train there. Beginners are started in the 101 classes along with some students that have been there a little bit longer. Everyone is willing to help and everyone wants you to feel a part of the family atmosphere that Nielson and his team have created over many years. Everyone that comes to train at American Boxing will experience a place that fosters learning, getting fit and feeling better about yourself. It is a win-win to train here because each day the classes revolve around the students that show up which makes these classes more like group personal training. So, come on in and give it a shot.
The Alliance MMA Gym
646 H St.
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Since the inception of Alliance Training Center, the facility has been the home to some of the very best martial artists and MMA fighters on the west coast. These are people who have competed at the highest levels of their craft and have come away with many victories. This says a lot for a place that is located in one of the MMA hotbeds of American.
You may be wondering what that means for the person that is coming in never having trained before. You don’t have to question that because whatever you reason for coming in is a great reason. If it is to lose some weight, learn some self-defense, testing yourself in new ways, involving you kids in something that will make them better people or to become a world champion, there is something for everyone here. The Alliance wants you to take your fitness and MMA goals to the next level.
The MMA program at The Alliance is one of the top programs in the area. When you are a member of the Alliance family, you will have the opportunity to train with some of the best athletes and coaches around. The team at The Alliance has put their heads together to come up with some of the most innovative and current game plans in MMA and you will get to practice this with the other high level athletes that train there.
These coaches like to think of themselves as a team of scientists, working together to focus on strategies and techniques that will get you the best results against top level competition. This knowledge is passed down to every student that trains all the way down to the kids’ program.
You will be proud of what you can accomplish when you have a team of dedicated coaches and athletes around you. Whether this is to fight or just to get in shape, The Alliance is a great choice.
3962 Sorrento Valley Blvd #900
San Diego, CA 92121
MMA Academy is a full time training facility that offers programs for Krav Maga, MMA and Fitness for children, women, men, military and law enforcement. No matter your experience level or you age, there is a something for everyone at MMA Academy. People from all walks of life train here so don’t feel like this isn’t for you.
MMA Academy has been around since 1990 and over the years, thousands of children, women and men have come here and learned how to defend themselves all over the United States, Mexico and Canada. They are a proud member of the San Diego community and have been extensively involved in community service. Some examples of this is offering training and fundraising for many different groups throughout the county. The team at MMA Academy is devoted to changing the statistics for all sorts of bullying and assaults.
MMA Academy competes on quality, not on price. They are more focused on teaching you the skills you need to learn to protect yourself when you are out in this dangerous world. Over 800 law enforcement agencies agree that Krav Maga is a great system and it is heavily implemented into their training regiments. That being said, the Krav Maga program at the MMA Academy is run by some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and well respected instructors in the worldwide family of Krav Maga. Not only will you learn how to defend yourself but you will also get in great shape and start feeling even better about yourself. MMA Academy teaches Krav Maga full time just like it is supposed to be taught.
The MMA Fit program is one that will teach you striking that that can be applied outside the gym. However, you will get to train these in class while focusing on bodyweight exercises and intense cardo as well.
Reach out for more information. You won’t regret the call.
City of Champions
6186 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115
City of Champions in San Diego is a place where you can learn the skills you would need to enter the cage or to just be able to better defend yourself. They train beginners and competitors, as well as adults and children in the arts of Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. They are open all week and will work with you to find out what program is going to be best for what you are looking for and what goals you have set for yourself.
The BJJ program is taught by Dustin Thornton. He trained for many years under the tutelage of Baret Yoshida. In the time he trained with Yoshida, Thornton won gold at No-Gi Worlds at purple belt and then took silver the next year at the same event which led him to getting his brown belt from Yoshida. Then in 2012, Thornton opened City of Champions and started training under ADCC vet and black belt Joel Tudor. Tudor promoted Thornton to black belt in 2015 and from there, Dustin has been passing on his knowledge to every student that steps foot into his facility.
Fumihiro Tanno is the head Muay Thai coach as City of Champions and has been involved in the sport since he was 15 years old. He was a professional Muay Thai fighter by 17 and competed in some of the biggest events in the world. Now that he is retired from fighting, he wants to share what he has learned with the people that train at City of Champions. If you want to get in better shape and learn a new skill or become a pro fighter, Tanno is ready to help you make the leap.