A guide to help beginner strikers breakdown the difference between the battle of a southpaw stance vs orthodox stance


Footwork is a crucial skill to master in combat sports as it gives fighters the ability to move effectively and efficiently around the ring or octagon. Proper footwork enables fighters to evade and counter strikes, get into a position to strike, and maintain balance and stability. Every striking martial art has its unique stance although they share a similar feature where each stance is staggered and these stances are either Southpaw or Orthodox.

Southpaw stance 

A southpaw stance is when a fighter leads with their right foot and hand, while the left limbs are placed behind. This stance is favoured by natural-born left-handers. 

Orthodox stance

The orthodox stance, the more common stance, is when you lead with your left hand and leg, while the right is at the rear. Favoured by natural-born right-handers. 

Southpaw vs. Orthodox: Who Has The Advantage

Southpaw vs Orthodox

When a southpaw meets an orthodox they will end up in an open stance. When both are of the same stance it will be called a closed stance.

When an orthodox fighter meets a southpaw stance fighter, both fighters are exposing their bodies to the rear power punches and kicks of the other fighter. When looking at this from a technical standpoint, each stance is equal as everything is the same, just in reverse. 

Where Southpaw tends to have an advantage is that the general population is predominately right-handed making southpaw fighters less common in gyms. This advantage lies in the fact that a southpaw is less common to come across. This also means southpaws train against orthodox fighters more often so they have had more time and experience to adjust. Another minor advantage is that when in an open stance, the orthodox fighter’s liver is exposed to the rear punches and kicks of the southpaw fighter 

These minor advantages do not mean that the southpaw will always win. In the end, it’s all decided in the arena and anything can happen in a fight. 

Good Southpaw Fighters

Connor McGregor 

The first double-weight champion in the UFC and arguably the best showman in the history of combat sports. Connor McGregor was a fantastic southpaw with a stinging left hand that sent his opponents to the canvas. 

Pernell Whittaker

One of the greatest southpaw boxers to ever do it. Pernell Whittaker was a master of defence and became a four-weight world champion. 

Good Orthodox Fighters

Alex Pereira

Known as one of the scariest men to walk the planet, Alex Pereria was a two-weight glory kickboxing world champion and UFC middleweight world champion. Not only is he a high-level technical fighter he wields scary knockout power and is known for his signature left hook. 

Floyd Mayweather 

Arguably one of the greatest defensive boxers of his generation, Floyd Mayweather showed the world the power of the ‘Philly shell’ guard. Floyd went on to retire undefeated in 50 professional outings. 

Switch Stance

The Switch stance is when a fighter is capable of fighting from both stances. 

The switch stance can create confusion for the opponent. When a fighter is capable of switching stances at ease, they will be able to hit the opponent from more angles creating more issues to deal with.

Fighting with a switch stance is much more challenging than your conventional orthodox or southpaw stance although rarely comes naturally and requires a high level of skill and practice. 

Good switch stance fighters

Israel Adesanya

One of the best strikers of the new generation to enter the UFC. Israel Adesanya was a treat to watch for MMA fans, he could switch seamlessly between stances, attacking opponents from a variety of angles with perfect technique. 


In conclusion, both the southpaw and orthodox stance have their respective strengths and weaknesses. The stance can influence the fight in some way but many other factors go alongside this. Work out what works best for you and your style. 

By Emil

Emil is a currently active professional MMA fighter. He was ranked 1st in the Aus/Nz region in his weight class as an amateur, with the most KO’s, and is now actively working up the professional ranks.

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