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What Punches Harder, Short Arms Vs. Long Arms?

There are a lot of fighters out there with short arms. More often than not, short-armed fighters pack a powerful punch. But so does long-armed fighters. So, who punches stronger?

When you look at short-armed MMA fighters like Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker, and Kevin Gastelum they all have relatively good punch power within their weight division.

Even Mike Tyson who is a legend in the boxing world dominated due to his short but powerful punches.

For a middleweight, Robert Whittaker has a short reach, 73 in (185 cm) and still, he has been knocking out opponents left and right

But is it the short arms that take the credit for these powerful punchers? 

A shorter arm length does allow you to have a powerful punch. This is because shorter arms rotate faster with your body. They can stay close to your body, move with your hips and do more damage at the other end. 

Fighters with shorter arm lengths often tend to fight at close distances. One of the reasons for this is to equalize the reach disadvantage that they often face.

Another reason for this is to play to their strengths. At short distances, they can punch harder than their opponents. This allows fighters with short arm lengths to excel at throwing hooks, uppercuts, body hooks, and overhand strikes. 

Does this mean long-armed fighters are at a disadvantage?

By no means does this mean that long-armed fighters are obsolete. Long-armed fighters work on fighting while maintaining the distance.

This is not because they cannot punch at short distances, but they play to their strength. 

If the opponent doesn’t have the reach, a long-armed fighter can keep his distance and take his opponent apart one punch at a time. 

While short-armed fighters are powerful at close distances, long-armed fighters are powerful at long distances. These fighters are more effective with long jabs, crosses, and hooks.

Not only they’ll be the only ones who can connect these punches if they have more reach, but they will also be available to pack a lot of power behind these punches.

One of the great examples for long-armed fighters would be Conor McGregor. He has a strong left-handed jab that he can deliver from a distance.

Another example would be Kamaru Usman. He too works a lot on his jab and often follows it up with a cross.

He knocked down his opponents on several occasions just using his jab (his fight against Gilbert Burns comes to mind).

Kamaru Usman has a long reach of 76 in (193 cm)

Ultimately, both long-armed and short-armed fighters can punch hard as long as they are playing to their strengths.

The best way to increase punch power is to know whether you are short-armed or long-armed and work on your technique to perfect punches that suit you.