Buakaw Professional fighter

How Long Does it Take to Become a Professional Fighter?

Question: How long does it take to become a professional fighter?

Answer: Firstly, there are two sub-questions that need to be addressed;

1. What is meant by “professional fighter?”

2. What type of professional fighter do you want to become?

In muay Thai, I guess the term “professional fighter” is somebody who gets paid to fight. In Thailand, ALL fights are paid, no matter how good or bad they are. So as soon as you have your first fight in Thailand, you’re a professional fighter.

Some may argue that you’re not a true professional fighter until you earn a living from fighting. In muay Thai, this isn’t an easy thing to do, although not impossible. Living and fighting in Thailand makes that goal a lot more achievable.

“In Thailand you can fight more regularly, get paid more, and live for less.”

 

To answer the second question, anyone can become a professional fighter. All you have to do is go to Thailand and you can have all the professional fights you want. Full muay Thai or MMA rules. A lot of people see Thailand as a short cut to going pro.

Just so you know, I had my first fight in Thailand after two weeks training, so yes, it can easily be done. Probably the most painful fight I’ve ever had, but it was a pro fight. A couple of months later I had already had 5 fights in Thailand.

As you can probably guess, those fights were pretty messy.

This method is pretty extreme and it’s not a route that I would really advise anyone else to take. In my 4th fight I got knocked out pretty badly. Having done such little training, my basics were nowhere near good enough to be mixing it up with an experienced Thai.

But that’s just my attitude towards fighting, I guess. I just wanted to get as many fights in as I could. To anyone thinking about fighting, I would advise them to do things a little differently.

I always advise my students back in Ireland to get as many interclub events and amateur fights in as they can. A lot of these guys are young lads, there’s no rush to fight professionally.

“Having a good level of basic technique is of the utmost importance; this should be a priority for anyone considering becoming a professional fighter.”

 

Shadow boxing is paramount for working on technique. Sparring is very important during this stage too; technical sparring, heavy sparring and deliberate sparring.

With that information in mind, the next thing that needs to be answered is, how many hours are you willing to put in? If I told you that you needed to put in 1,000 hours of practice before you could fight, you could achieve that goal in 2 years by training for 10 hours a week, or 5 years by training 4 hours per week.

“You get rewarded by showing up and training hard to be given the chance to fight by your coach.”

 

This is muay Thai, there are no belts and there is no seniority structure or rank determined by how long students have been training (at least, there shouldn’t be), so work hard.

In short, there are no shortcuts to becoming a good professional fighter. The easiest way of telling how long it will take YOU to become one is by doing lots of interclubs and amateur fights and talking to your coach.

How long will it take? This is probably about the right time to come out with that annoying phrase “how long is a piece of string?”

About Aaron Jahn

Aaron is an active muay Thai fighter and coach from the UK. He holds a BSc (hons) degree in Strength & Conditioning and is currently studying a Sports Therapy Master's degree in Leeds, UK. Aaron has fought over 20 times in Thailand and has spent years training at different muay Thai camps all over the country.
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