This article talks about it... MMA Periodization They make a good point in that it's hard as a fighter to incorporate a proper periodization program, due to the fact that sometimes you have to take a fight on a very short notice (sometimes a matter of days). I personally like using Bill Starr's 5x5 routine from the Eclipse Gym page when I'm starting out, and NOT doing much in the way of cardio or skills training (maybe a couple times a week after the lifting, I'll grapple or hit the bag a bit). But then my weight shoots up. When I'm done with 5x5 after about a month and my strength is peaked, I can start training for a fight that's 6-8 weeks out. I cut back on the lifting, and start introducing high volume of running, pad work, sparring, etc. At first I do 3x3 phase with heavy skills training, but after a few weeks, I start drastically cut the intensity and volume of the lifting and upping the skills and cardio even more. This is the only way I can properly build strength and then cut weight for a fight. If I just try to "stay in shape" all year round, I hit a wall and don't improve. When I do it my way, I'm constantly starting off better than I started off in the last cycle. For example, when I start 5x5 up again, I'm usually a good 10 pounds stronger on all my lifts compared to the last time I started it up. And when I go back to cutting weight for a fight, I usually start off lighter, and it gets easier and easier every time.