“Train Like a Pro, Feel Like a Pro”
Let’s be frank: Most of us were introduced to MMA through the UFC. At some point, we so wanted to own a pair of bad-ass UFC fight gloves, whether for training, for fighter signing, or even donning them while we watch a UFC PPV in the comforts of our respective man caves to make our fanboy experience complete!
This begs the question: Are UFC gear any good? As I search different online communities, the consensus reads: They’re exceptionally good for their price point. And we couldn’t agree more.
In the different epochs of the UFC, the promotion has partnered with a number of manufacturers in producing their licensed gear. Since 2017, Dyaco inherited the mantle from Century. Locally, UFC gear is distributed exclusively by Lifesports Inc.
We tried our hands on the two types of UFC MMA gloves available locally: The 5-oz UFC Contender MMA gloves and the 6-oz UFC Contender fitness gloves. The good thing about running my own Jiu-Jitsu PE class in Enderun is I get to try gears out in a controlled environment. For full disclosure, I prefer to grapple with my hands bare, so I only tested the gloves in one session.
5-oz UFC Contender MMA Gloves
The 5-oz gloves closely mimics the 4-oz UFC official fight gloves. Differences include the use of engineered leather in the Contender MMA gloves, a fully open palm design for the official fight gloves, and a dual-strap system in the official fight gloves. For all these, the price difference is significant: The Contender MMA gloves retail at P1,999, while the official fight gloves cost $100 (~P5,000) via the UFC Store.
Ideal for light bag work and/or MMA drills with a partner, the gloves were meant to be worn with thin handwraps. Trying them on without wraps, the gloves afforded some space in the palm area but fit snuggly around my fingers. True to form, the gloves did not hinder my motion, thanks to its open-palm design. It held up well, the single wrist straps getting the job done as they kept the gloves in place.
One thing I did not like about the 5-oz gloves was that the “hem” of the finger part of the gloves did not have reinforced stitching unlike the official fight gloves. The material hangs straight out, theoretically increasing the chance that these ends could scratch your partner during drills. (Recall Belfort vs. Couture, and that was with all parts of the gloves neatly tucked in with reinforced stitching.) This brings us to my preferred version of UFC’s training gloves.
6-oz UFC Contender Fitness Gloves
The 6-oz UFC Contender fitness gloves were made to be versatile, a constant companion as you move from bag work to MMA drills to lifting weights. Affording all of the features of the 5-oz gloves, the fitness gloves also offers thumb protection for weight training. The best part is, these gloves have the reinforced stitching I was looking for in the MMA gloves.
Inspecting the product for the first time, the thumb guard may look a bit wide for a snug fit. But, wearing the gloves, they did afford some space (perhaps to accommodate big-boned individuals) but just enough so that it doesn’t become a hindrance to when you use it for bag work or partner drills. For its price point of P2,150, I would be more than happy to use these for light training.
Finally, the 6-oz fitness gloves have a non-training perk: For autograph seekers, these gloves are also preferred for fighter signings due to the separate padding at the back of the hand. The engineered leather also prevents the signature from smudging compared to the official fight gloves’ genuine leather, which takes forever to dry.
As mentioned, these gloves are exceptionally good for their price point. They’re good introductory MMA gloves for those who wish to do light training, to gain the feel of striking and grappling with open palm gloves on. Between the 5-oz and 6-oz gloves, my money is on the 6-oz fitness gloves. They are not, however, meant to protect your hands the same way boxing gloves were specifically made for. The padding for MMA gloves just cannot compete. Best to purchase separate boxing gloves to protect your hands and wrists for the heavy bag, mitts, and sparring. Special thanks to Lifesports for allowing us to review their products. UFC Contender gloves and other officially licensed UFC products are available at Olympic Village, Toby’s Sports, Sports Line, Lazada, and other leading sports shops and department stores.
John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.
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