The MMA Slang You Need to Know

MMA Fighters Rear Naked Choke

“He’s on queer street!!!”

“I’m worried he’s just going to wrestle f*ck him into a decision.”

“That man has the toughest chin I’ve seen in a while.”

For those of you reading this that are experienced and seasoned MMA fans, you have most likely heard a lot of these terms at least once from Joe Rogan or from one of the many other MMA announcers in the business. You probably also had a pretty good idea of what the announcer was trying to say. If you’re new to the sport, though, you’ve either never heard any of these phrases or were left completely clueless as to what the heck the announcer was trying to say.

What I’d like to do today is do my best to help you out. I want to walk you through some of the most popular MMA slang terms and phrases that get tossed around regularly on MMA broadcasts. This isn’t going to be a complete list mainly because announcers are coming up with their own new terms and phrases all the time. Some of them stick and make sense, but sometimes even I am left completely lost as to what they are trying to say.

Let’s start with the examples I gave you at the beginning of this post and then we’ll work into some other announcer and fan favorites.

The Phrases and Slang You Need to Know

Queer Street

No, this is not an offensive way to reference a place in West Hollywood. Queer street is a phrase that means a fighter has been hit so hard that they have no idea where they are. It’s that bewildered and wobbly look they have after taking a big punch, kick, knee, or elbow to the face. Typically, this comes right before the end of a fight because the fighter is close to being knocked out completely or the referee is going to step in and stop the fight.

Wrestle F*ck

Sorry that everything on my list so far sounds offensive or NSFW. I guess it’s just the nature of the business. Wrestle f*cking refers to a fighter who takes another fighter down and proceeds to lay on them for the duration of the fight and not really do much or inflict much damage. They don’t really go for any submissions, and barely land any punches or elbows from the ground. Usually, they’ll do just enough to prevent the referee from standing the fight up, but not enough to put themselves in any danger.

When fighters do this, the fans lose. Typically, you’ll see this from a wrestler who doesn’t have much else to offer in terms of skills and is just trying to lock up a boring victory. If you ever hear the fans booing fighters, most likely they’re just dancing around on their feet doing nothing or one of the fighters is wrestle f*cking the other. Sometimes fighters will do this in the last round when they are hurt or tired and think they are ahead. Other times, we actually see fighters do this for the entire duration of the fight which is just depressing.

Tough Chin

A tough chin on a fighter refers to a guy or girl who can take a lot of punishment and still keep fighting. If a fighter has a soft chin or a glass chin, it means they are easily knocked out and are no good at taking a punch. While a fighter would much rather be known for getting out of the way of punches and strikes, it is a positive quality when they can absorb some powerful shots and keep on going.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years on whether or not a fighter is just born with the ability to take a punch well or if it’s something that is developed through years of getting punched in the face. As far as I know, the jury is still out on this one. I personally would say it has a lot to do with the bone structure of a fighter’s face and it’s something they are born with. There are a lot of fighters now who don’t spar at full power (or at all) to prepare for fights, and a lot of them can take a punch like a champ. I’m not going to pretend to know the answer, but I figured I’d at least give you my theory.

Ground and Pound

This used to be a phrase to describe an action and has since developed into a fighting style of its own. Ground and pound is when a fighter takes the other fighter down and proceeds to land a lot of punishment from the top. This is similar to wrestle f*cking except the fighter is actually landing damage, and it doesn’t make you want to ram your head into a wall when you watch it.

Some of the biggest names in the sports have become masters of the ground and pound. It requires the ability to take your opponent down, control them on the ground so they can’t get up, and land significant strikes for damage while making sure they don’t submit you or get back to their feet. It’s a great strategy and one that is a lot of fun to watch as a fan.

Gas in the Tank

This phrase refers to whether or not the fighter drove themselves to the fight and filled up their gas tank before they got there. I am kidding. Gas in the tank refers to a fighter’s cardio and how much energy they have remaining in the fight. If a fighter is said to have no gas left in the tank, it means they are exhausted and don’t have any energy to do anything effective. If a fighter does have gas left in the tank, it means they still have plenty of cardio and energy and are still coming forward with a full head of steam. A fighter that has run out of gas in a fight is in a lot of danger if the other fighter is still filled up.

Stand and Bang

This phrase refers to fighters who elect to keep the fight on the feet. Instead of taking things to the ground, the fighters stay on their feet and engage in much more of a kickboxing match than a mixed martial arts competition. For casual fans who don’t fully understand the ground game, this is the most exciting type of fight.

Usually, you won’t hear this phrase when two strikers are going at it because it’s expected that they would choose to stand and bang. You will hear it a lot, though, when fighters that are expected to take things to the ground decide to go toe to toe and throw strikes. As a bonus, the phrase toe to toe also refers to fighters on their feet going at it. If you think about it, each of their front feet is next to their opponents…toe to toe.

Go For Broke

This is something that you’ll hear when the announcers are referencing a fighter who is losing the fight on the judge’s scorecards and needs to do something dramatic to win the fight. Basically, the only way the fighter can win the fight is to lock up a submission or knock out their opponent. The announcers will say that they need to “go for broke” which means they need to throw all caution to the wind and try and land a miracle.

It means all or nothing. The fighter can either win the fight with a miracle, or they’re going to be going home a loser if things go to the judge’s scorecards.


This is a term that occasionally causes some eyes to roll when you use it around serious Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioners. Jitz is just short for the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. It’s nothing more than a shortened slang way of talking about the ground game that’s comprised of submissions and chokes.

Ring Rust

This term refers to an MMA ring that is in bad shape and has been left out in the rain. Again, kidding. Ring rust refers to a fighter who has not fought in a long time and may be a little “rusty” when they get back into the ring. Usually, if a fighter has had a significant layoff, there is discussion on whether or not that fighter is going to perform at their peak potential or if they’re going to have a little ring rust they need to shake off.

As a side note, if you look through a lot of MMA fights especially in the UFC, fighters who were huge names seem to have no problems with ring rust and those that were middle of the road guys or girls and lower tier seem to be affected by it. The phrase once a champion, always a champion might be my suggestion about how to approach looking at ring rust if you’re trying to pick a winner or are looking to bet fights.


This is a term that you will hear used for its “actual” meaning and also for the slang meaning. The actual meaning of the word is when the ring or the fighters get slippery. This is usually from a combination of sweat, blood, and tears (kidding) that can cause fighters to struggle to keep their balance or make things harder on fighters trying to lock up submissions.

The slang usage of the term slippery is fighters who are very hard to submit. Yes, they are harder to submit when they are actually slippery from bodily fluids, but that’s not what I mean here. I am referring to fighters who are very elusive and know how to get out of submissions very well. Top-level Jiu-jitsu guys and girls can put themselves in some pretty compromising positions without fear of being submitted because they are slippery enough to slip out of any attacks their opponent might attempt.

I have also heard this term used to refer to strikers who are great at slipping punches and strikes, but it’s usually used in reference to the ground game.

The Final Word

I expect all of you to be screaming out these terms the next UFC fight you watch at Hooters. Ok, maybe not, but I at least expect you to know what the 350 lb guy in the Tap Out shirt is screaming about next time you hear it. This is not a complete list of the phrases and slang you’ll hear, but these are the most popular terms and should be plenty to help you enjoy the fights and know what the announcers are talking about.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.