Every MMA fan knows that nicknames can be apart of the sport as much as height, reach, and weight. The problem with nicknames in MMA is they’re not always honestly represented by the fighter. Sure “Bad Bonez” might be a cool name to a meathead brawler, but “Bad Bonez” won’t seem so bad after he gets tapped out by someone nicknamed “Dolphin Boy” in a few seconds. Rather than pick out obvious ones, (The Axe Murderer, Iceman, etc.) I went for ones that didn’t receive much of the spotlight.
Whether you’re a fan of nicknames or not, here’s a list of some of the best and worst nicknames in MMA.
Best: “Deep Waters”
Fighter: Matt Riddle (7-3)
How can you not think this nickname is awesome? It perfectly describes Riddle’s suffocating fight style. He brings his opponents into the later rounds (deeper water) and tires them out.
Worst: Twinkle Toes
Fighter: Frank Trigg (21-9)
I don’t really know where Trigg was going with this one. I just know that 21 people were not so happy telling their families they lost to a guy named “Twinkle Toes”
Fighter: Pascal Krauss (11-1)
This prospect’s nickname translates to “tank” in english. And if this German’s stare doesn’t give a fighter fear, “tank” should be able to tip those scales.
Worst: The (blank) Assassin
Fighters: Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard
Josh “The Babyfaced Assassin” Barnett
Houston “The Assassin” Alexander
Sokoudjou “The African Assassin”
Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover
The list goes on and on. I’m not too sure why fighters still want to copy this. It was okay sounding the first time, but you’re just beating a dead horse.
Best: “The American Psycho”
Fighter: Stephan Bonnar (15-8)
The soon-to-be Hall of Famer has one of the most memorable nicknames in any sport alone. When you think of the nickname and see Bonnar mid fight, it makes sense. It portrays someone who is down to fight whoever and whenever and that is who Bonnar is.
Worst: “The Barn Owl”
Fighter: Ian Loveland
Again, there’s not much logic behind this one. Either Loveland was looking to make a joke or is completely serious. Either way “The Barn Owl” is not a nickname that grabs your attention in a good way.
Fighter: Rich Franklin
I can’t think of one person who isn’t a fan of Rich Franklin or Jim Carrey. Throughout Franklin’s MMA career, he’s been known as the “angry Jim Carrey” and his nickname “Ace” is a poke at Carrey’s character Ace Ventura. Sweetness.
Worst: “The Texas Crazy Horse”
Fighter: Heath Herring (28-14)
What was Herring thinking? This name might have been frightening to his crowd at Pride, but not in America. If any nickname makes you think of a beer-loaded fat guy, it’s this one.
Best: Nicknames that replace names
Some names are just tricky to say, in this case “Filipovic”
Cro Cop is short for “Croatian Cop” which is derived from Mirko’s time in a Croatian Police Special Forces tactical unit. And Cro Cop really comes out smooth. Ronaldo Souza is not a hard name to pronounce, but his nickname became so catchy to say that it’s taken over his real name. “Jacare” translates to alligator and how much cooler of a name can a ground specialist get?
Worst: “The Hillbilly Heartthrob”
Fighter: Brad Imes (13-7)
Do I really have to say anything?
Best: “Big Frog”
Fighter: Jeff Curran (35-15)
It’s been a rough ride for Jeff Curran and it’s a shame to see. With a nickname like that, I would love to see him return to a bigger stage. It’s such an odd nickname but stellar at the same time.
Worst: “The Janitor”
Fighter: Vladimir Matyushenko (26-7)
I can see it now. The school bell rings and all the kids leave. The only person left is Vladimir Matyushenko, alone, mopping up spaghetti stains off the cafeteria floor. But, that is far from his choice of profession. Instead of cleaning spills on aisle four, Matyushenko is fighting in a cage with a bad nickname.
Fighter: Alessio Sakara (15-10)
When someone inks a contract with Sakara, they have to wonder “Is this guy from the Middle Ages?” A name like Alessio Sakara is already an ancient sounding name, but when you add the nickname “Legionarius” it snowballs the thought. Sakara sometimes dons a spartan-esque beard. It’s name that fits perfectly.
Worst: “The Robot”
Fighter: Steve Cantwell
I don’t like to kick somebody when they’re down but, “The Robot” sounds like Cantwell’s inner-child picked this one out. Whatever path he was thinking, it’s still awkward to hear an announcer call this one.