Today, mixed martial artists train in a variety of styles that have been proven effective in the ring, so that they can be effective in all the phases of combat. Although fighters will try to play to their particular specialties, they will inevitably encounter all kinds of situations; a stand-up fighting specialist will probably get taken down at some point and a submission artist might need to fight standing-up for a while before he can execute a takedown. A mixed martial artist might train in a particular style to enhance his or her skills in the phase of combat that that style targets. Typical styles, known for their effectiveness, that have been trained prior to the mixed martial arts career, and that are trained individually to enhance a particular phase of combat, are:
- Stand-up: Boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, are trained to improve footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching.
- Clinch: Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo, and Judo are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
- Ground: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, shoot wrestling, Judo are trained to improve submission holds, and defense against them. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, pankration, and styles of amateur wrestling are trained to improve positioning and maintain ground control.