Back in 2010, a group of the UFC’s top fighters joined forces with the United States Marine Corps to do some training.  There’s no question that the athletes that compete in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization know how to handle themselves in a scrap, but watching the three-part series offers an important glimpse into the difference between training for a sport and training for combat.

Gabriel Gonzaga, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Brian Stann (a Marine turned UFC fighter) joined Dana White and a group of Marines to run through a series of training elements associated with the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program’s syllabus.  The Marines training alongside the professional fighters are likely all “red tabbed” Instructor Trainers, meaning they have not only achieved their black belts or their instructor tabs, but they have demonstrated a level of expertise that makes them qualified to train the next generation of Marine Corps black belts.

Nowhere are the differences between Marine Corps combat training and the skills professional fighters develop more apparent than in the field, where one must cover territory, maintain observational vigilance, and expect to engage multiple opponents at once.  If being in the Octagon is tough, there can be no doubt that a surprise fight to death on snow-covered terrain is tougher, and that’s just what the MCMAP instructors set out to demonstrate to their UFC counterparts.

These videos offer a fun glimpse into the training styles employed by the Marine Corps, as well as the humility and positive attitude demonstrated by the fighters in what is, admittedly, a well put together PR campaign.  Self-serving intentions be damned, it’s nice to see these elite athletes offer respect to the men serving and the branch itself as they progress through their scheduled events.

Winning a championship belt takes pride, determination, and commitment – which happen to be the very same things it often takes to win on the battlefield (along with some good luck and air support), and as you watch these videos you begin to see that, for all the differences in training and mindset, UFC fighters and Marines aren’t all that dissimilar.  Maybe that’s why some of us tend to migrate from one to the other.

You can watch all three parts of their trip below.