The toughest UFC fighters often come with the toughest nicknames. No matter how weird the UFC nickname, a fighter learns that they’ve got to live up to it when they step inside the cage and strive to throw down their opponent. If they don’t live up to it, their nickname is going to sound weak and awkward because they’ll be forever tied to it.
The history of the UFC shows that a staunch nickname helps fighters to build a strong brand for themselves and to build up their status in the ring. Some fighters have become so synonymous with their nicknames that they are nearly always referred to by their nickname (take Shogun Rua for example). Whether the nickname refers to their physical appearance, their accomplishments, their personality or something else, a catchy nickname helps a UFC fighter power up and fight hard.
Here’s a list of the 10 best UFC nicknames we’ve ever seen.
10. Sexyama – Yoshihiro Akiyama
There aren’t many UFC fighters who would take on a nickname like “Sexyama” but Japan’s Yoshihiro Akiyama did and he sure rocks it. He’s a good looking, tanned, romantic, stylish and confident UFC star who really struts his stuff when he’s in the public eye (and through his sexy modelling shots that can be found online). He’s admired by thousands of male and female fans – one only needs to visit a few online forums that talk about MMA or UFC to see what we mean. This is a nickname that has nothing to do with his performance or energy in the cage and everything to do with his appearance.
9. Rampage – Quinton Jackson
Quinton Jackson has a nickname so formidable that it’s taken over his real name altogether. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion rampaged his way to success in the octagon many times. He was a knockout puncher and a big force, including a famous power-bomb knockout in June 2004 in Japan. He also knocked out the seemingly unstoppable Chuck Liddell at UFC 71. In 2012, website TMZ revealed how Jackson got his “legendary” nickname. The site reported: “The former UFC champ says his cousin coined his famous moniker after playing the arcade classic from the ‘80s… Rampage.” In the game, players control humongous monsters who are trying to survive against military forces.
8. The Janitor – Vladimir Matyushenko
Now retired, this Belarusian UFC fighter got his nickname courtesy of US wrestling star Dave Schultz. When the Russians took on the US at a meet in Siberia, Matyushenko beat the rest (including Olympian Kevin Jackson) and was spotted cleaning mats before a practice, hence the nickname “The Janitor.” Although it doesn’t seem like the fiercest of UFC nicknames, it could also take on the meaning of a fighter cleaning out the octogan and ruling over his opponents – which is far more fitting for Matyushenko.
7. The Axe Murderer – Wanderlei Silva
Brazilian fighter Wanderlei Silva is a knockout artist that achieved a lot of success (and popularity) in the Pride Fighting Championships in Japan. He is known as an aggressive fighter who ends many of his battles with a knockout. After he entered the UFC, things didn’t go quite as well but has still managed some solid throwdowns and to swing that axe around the cage! These days, his popularity has dwindled a lot (he was recently booed in Brazil in The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 finale) and he’s likely coming toward the end of his career.
6. Darth – Ryan Bader
It’s safe to say that this is one of the coolest UFC nicknames of all time and we’re pretty sure that Darth Vader would be okay about sharing it with Ryan Bader. This light heavyweight fighter doesn’t have the Darth Vader voice quite right yet but he’s not far off in living up to the intimidating moniker. He’s known in UFC circles for his strong knockout power and for the constant pressure he puts on his opponents in the ring. The story behind this nickname is presumably non-existent and relates solely to the surname Bader.
5. McLovin – Dustin Hazelett
We’re lovin’ it! This tall, lanky, muscular guy wouldn’t immediately strike you as being a professional fighter but, in saying that, Hazelett is known for two of the UFC’s slickest, most skillful submission finishes ever. The world was first introduced to the name “McLovin” thanks to one of the characters in the 2007 film Superbad and Hazelett adopted the nickname due to his slight resemblance to the character. He was dropped from the UFC in December 2010, and has reportedly put his fighting career on hold for a while in order to go back to school.
4. The Tazmexican Devil – Ray Borg
The Tasmanian Devil is a ferocious and impatient Looney Tunes character from way back, and Ray Borg has added a slight Mexican twist to that and taken it all the way to the UFC cage with his nickname “The Tazmexican Devil.” The Mexican-born Borg tends to be a furious, destructive and memorable opponent. He’s only 20 years old so it’s likely we’ll be seeing a lot more of this devil. His next UFC fight is scheduled for June 28th, 2014.
3. The Mexicutioner – Joey Beltran
This nickname is unforgiving, graphic – and not entirely original. It’s been used by others and will no doubt be used again, but right now Beltran has the name and he’s lived up to it entirely. The name does a great job of pairing up Beltran’s Mexican heritage with his execution-style moves in the octagon. He’s a popular fighter among fans and knows how to punish his opponents in the cage (as well as take punishment at times too). He first entered the UFC for UFC 109 and had his last bout during UFC Fight Night 29 in 2013. He’s now showing his executioner style in Bellator MMA.
2. Uncle Creepy – Ian McCall
One word can probably sum up this nickname: creepy. But it’s also kind of awesome and suits the tattooed, rough-around-the-edges Ian McCall in some weird way. He got this sinister moniker courtesy of the son of his friend. One day he called McCall “Uncle Creepy” in front of a group. The name stuck and the mysterious McCall chose to embrace it rather than fight it. McCall is known in UFC circles as a pretty courageous fighter (and a bit awkward in terms of personality). He came into the UFC at the time it was deciding the first flyweight titleholder. He crept his way through three fights and got his first win at UFC 163.
1. The Korean Zombie – Chan Sung Jung
Few would question how awesome this nickname is, and it’s become so synonymous with Chan Sung Jung that even the UFC President refers to him as “The Korean Zombie.” Born in South Korea, UFC Featherweight fighter Jung has 100% embraced his nickname and the fans love it (almost a little too much!). The best part? Jung actually looks like a Korean zombie when he fights sometimes – he is relentless and keeps plodding on through the fights just like a blood-thirsty undead zombie probably would. In his most recent UFC bout, Jung dislocated his shoulder in the cage and tried to keep going but was eventually defeated by Jose Aldo.