With the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand popularity constantly on the rise, MMA has become a common acronym on the lips of those who have never even considering setting foot in the dojos of old. Choose from Minnesota’s best MMA training options, with something for everyone, from your bullied 5-year-old to a competitor with professional fighting aspirations.

Photo Credit: warriorscove.com

Warrior’s Cove
14121 Irving Ave. South
Burnsville, MN 55337
(952) 935-0140

Price: from $109 with uniform/free month-long trial membership
Click here for a daily schedule

Being in business for more than 30 years offers a lot of credibility to a training facility specializing in sport relatively new to the masses – and Warrior’s Cove boasts a history tied to the country’s full timeline of mixed martial arts (before the acronym UFC popped into the collective conscious). It offers a mix of modern sport MMA and traditional combat-MMA training techniques, along with a variety of classes and membership levels to suit every student. Its expansion to four locations (including an affiliate in Owatonna) allows it to offer a comprehensive variety of options – including a free month-long trial, no long term contracts to sign and a price-lock guarantee.

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Minnesota Martial Arts Academy
6840 Shingle Creek Pkwy.
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
(763) 560-5696

Price: free month-long trial/membership prices vary by classes and goals
Hours: vary daily by class
Click here for a list of news and events

Offering classes for fitness, self-defense and true competition, Minnesota MAA boasts a stable of fighters including three UFC world champions and camps by big names including Brock Lesnar. The Academy has a little something for everyone. For those still on the fence about joining, available options such as a free tour, free intro classes, a free full month and a 60-day money back guarantee lower the barrier to entry quite a bit. Whether your goal is overall fitness and improved self-image, or daily training toward a new career as a professional fighter, the Academy will work hard to create a program tailored around your individual needs.

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Ambition Training Academy
2020 Silver Bell Rd., 26
Eagan, MN 55122
(651) 365-9800

Hours: Mon to Thurs – 5 p.m. to 8:25 p.m.; Fri – 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.; open mat/cage – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Conveniently located just five minutes south of the Mall of America, Ambition MMA offers programs geared toward beginners through pros (the latter by invitation only) for both young and old fighters starting at age 5. Strength and conditioning training is available early in the evening, and each MMA-oriented class offers both striking/stand-up instruction and ground grappling work. Expect a good mix targeted at creating a balanced fighter ready for whatever his or her individual goals may be. With an intense approach to fitness, coaches here will tell fighters their best excuse only brings bad outcomes, so count on being accountable to yourself first and these hard-hitting fighters second.

Related: MMA Fighting in Minnesota

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The Cellar Fight & Fitness
2715 4th St. Southeast
Minneapolis, MN
(612) 355-2259

Price: free trial class/$95 per month
Click here for a complete schedule

The Cellar takes a slightly different approach to mixed martial arts training. It strongly suggests you work through kickboxing, muay Thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu classes before joining its MMA training sessions. Classes include all of the above as well as boxing and youth martial arts. Located near the University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus, classes here draw in a diverse crowd of fighters and athletes looking for a challenge.

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American School of Martial Arts
14869 Highway 13 S.
Savage, MN 55378
(952) 440-5222

Price: One free trial class is available, additional pricing information is available with your initial consultation
Hours: Mon to Fri – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat – 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sun – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Click here for a complete schedule

No matter your reason for looking into MMA – fitness, self-defense or pure competition – the American School of Martial Arts emphasizes cardio conditioning and true physical fitness through training in Brazilian jiu jitsu, muay Thai kickboxing, boxing, wrestling and kenpo in a facility boasting a giant five-rope ring, an MMA cage, a full weight room, and more than 4,000 square feet of mat space. As with several of the other gyms mentioned above, it offers classes for children through adults, both men and women. Additional benefits include the promise of molding leaders with self-discipline, honor and integrity.

Related: MMA Every Day: Getting Fit While Learning To Fight

Rich Rein, previously featured in magazines like Midwest Outdoors and Outdoors Weekly as well as a contributor to MyBuckStory.com and covering the Minneapolis fishing scene for Examiner.com, is a Minnesota transplant doing his best to enjoy the state’s multitude of fishing opportunities while holding down a career as a software developer by day and a firefighter/EMT by night. His work can be found at Examiner.com.