Who would have thought that one could find romance in the up-and-down, rough-and-tumble world of fighting?
Fighters tend to enjoy dating other fighters; maybe it’s the fact that it’s a tough lifestyle for a non-fighter to adjust to, with long hours of training and travel that just makes it easy to date someone of common interest.
Whatever the reason, fighters and other big-name personalities surrounding the sport have coupled up more often than you think, so here are the 10 hottest couples in MMA:
10. Travis Browne & Ronda Rousey
Perhaps these two could be higher on the list, but these two aren’t active in MMA at the current time.
But Rousey was once MMA royalty, so by extension “Hapa” was one half of MMA’s hottest power couple.
Although they ultimately found love, things took an unexpected turn when the two took their talents to Glendale Fighting Club. Under Edward Tarverdyan’s tutelage, Browne and Rousey began losing fights consistently, and “Rowdy” couldn’t mentally handle defeat. “Hapa,” too, is on the worst skid of his MMA and UFC career and has been violently finished in all of his recent losses.
Now, Ronda is in the WWE and Browne has still yet to fight or have a fight scheduled since his last defeat to Oleksiy Oliynyk in July 2017.
9. Joseph Benavidez & Megan Olivi
Longtime UFC flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez and Megan Olivi have been an item now for years, with Olivi working as an MMA reporter and correspondent and Benavidez kicking a** inside the cage.
The two got hitched back in 2015 and are still going strong today.
Olivi may not be a professional fighter herself, but she has been involved in the sport for nearly a decade now and is a fixture of all UFC on FOX pre- and post-fight coverage.
8. Randy & Kim Couture
Randy Couture is one of the all-time greats when it comes to MMA. As a multiple time world heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, Couture’s legacy is nearly unparalleled.
His ex-wife Kim, however, didn’t have as much success as Randy, but she did fight some good competition, taking on Raquel Pennington and Alexis Dufresne in losing efforts.
For a while, the two were the most powerful couple in MMA, and Randy’s son/Kim’s step-son Ryan Couture would go on to fight for Strikeforce, the UFC, and eventually Bellator, making the Couture name synonymous with mixed martial arts.
While Randy Couture reached the pinnacle of MMA, Kim ended her professional MMA career with a record of 3-8. Regardless of their MMA records, the Couture’s were MMA royalty for a long time.
Unfortunately, this MMA power couple was not meant to be, and the two went through an extremely acrimonious divorce.
7. Brandon & Kerry Vera
These two kickboxers-turned-mixed martial artists married all the way back in 2005, back when Vera was on top of the world and on the cusp of becoming a UFC champion.
Vera was so good at the time that it wasn’t unrealistic when he said he would win both the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion simultaneously, and his wife Kerry enjoyed some MMA success of her own, defeating Leslie Smith in Bellator and Kim Couture in Strikeforce back in 2009.
Like many of the couples on this list, and like many married folk in general, these two lovebirds couldn’t make it work, and ultimately divorced in 2014. Vera said that the divorce was being finalized during his fight camp for his ONE FC debut:
“I’m going to let it out now…The paperwork’s already in. That’s what I was dealing with during this camp.” “I found out in my PR tour (last September) I was getting divorced and it kind of sucked.”
The divorce must have been relatively smooth, because Vera would not only go on to win his ONE FC debut by first-round knockout, he’s remained undefeated under the ONE FC banner with three first-round knokouts since his divorce from Kerry.
6. Cris “Cyborg” Justino & Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos
These two Brazilian knockout artists were married for six years, with Cris becoming the most feared woman in mixed martial artists throughout their relationship.
Both of them shared the nickname “Cyborg”, and they would often corner each other or attend each other’s fights to support one another. Fight fans might remember Cris “Cyborg” crying as Nick Diaz flipped her off after defeating her now ex-husband with an armbar under the Strikeforce banner.
Fans might also remember their nude photo shoot, which is a hard thing to forget. Santos recently retired after a flying knee from Michael “Venom” Page caved his head in while Cris is the UFC featherweight champion, and the two remain on very good terms.
Cris even kept her “Cyborg” nickname long after the two divorced.
5. Cody Garbrandt & Paige VanZant
It’s too bad these two couldn’t make it work, because for a time Garbrandt and VanZant were the darling couple of MMA.
Both were hot prospects in their respective divisions, and each had the good looks to draw some serious attention from the press. But both young prospects were in their early 20’s, and ultimately it was just not meant to be.
The two broke up before Garbrandt won the bantamweight title, and both have since moved on to other romantic interests since then.
But for a short time, these two were the young power couple in MMA. Paige just recently had a breast augmentation surgery, so whoever she is dating now or dates next is one lucky SOB.
4. Tecia Torres & Raquel Pennington
Torres and her girlfriend Raquel Pennington are the perfect couple: they work together, they train together, they eat together… The list goes on. Most relationships couldn’t withstand that much togetherness, but not for these two.
Torres helped Pennington as she prepared for her title shot against Amanda Nunes, and the two are known to corner each other.
Thankfully, Torres fights at strawweight while Pennington fights at bantamweight, so there’s no threat of the two ever being matched up against one another.
Relationships among fighters and relationships in general take a lot of work, so the fact that these two are still an item despite the stresses of a fighters’ lifestyle. In fact, the two were recently engaged.
3. Amanda Nunes & Nina Ansaroff
Nunes and her girlfriend Nina Ansaroff are trailblazers in MMA, as Nunes is the first openly gay UFC champion in the promotion’s history.
In a sport filled with testosterone very brimming with masculinity, Nunes’ relationship with Ansaroff is a massive step forward for the sport of MMA. For a young sport always looking to break down misconceptions and break into the mainstream, Nunes’ championship reign and her relationship with Ansaroff have done more for the sport than any other couple in MMA.
These two are still going strong despite the rigorous lifestyles the two live, yet their relationship endures regardless. For these reasons, Nunes’ relationship with Ansaroff is one of the most important in MMA history.
2. Miesha Tate & Bryan Caraway
These two former lovebirds dated for several years before breaking up and their relationship made them one of the more alluring power couples in MMA history.
Tate and Caraway’s relationship was prominently featured on “The Ultimate Fighter” when Miesha coached against rival Ronda Rousey. The spotlight on their relationship grew exponentially after Tate won the women’s bantamweight belt from Holly Holm, and the constant exposure and pressure put an end to what Caraway describes as “one of the most public relationships in all of sports”:
“Obviously, Miesha and I were one of the most public relationships, not only in MMA but in all of sports. She was the champ of the world, I was a top-five fighter, we both came from nothing. It’s not like she was a top, world-class fighter and I was a world-class fighter and we met up. We both came up from nothing, from the same place, and that was always tough. I think that ended up being kind of our demise, being young and going through all that, not knowing how to handle all of that. It creates a lot of problems and resentment and it stacks up.”
1. Rose Namajunas & Pat Barry
Pat Barry was a UFC heavyweight long before Rose Namajunas ever stepped into the Octagon, but under Barry’s guidance, “Thug” Rose has become the greatest women’s flyweight in the world.
These two lovebirds conduct interviews together, Barry helps train and corner his girlfriend, and the two seem to genuinely make each other happy. “Hype Or Die” basically put his entire fighting career aside to focus all his attention on making Rose a champion, which they accomplished after knocking out Joanna Jedzerjek SP at UFC 217.
Their chemistry both on and off the camera is immediately apparent, and you can tell how much they genuinely love one another. Rose even stuck by Pat when the former UFC heavyweight was binge drinking and dealing with a serious alcohol and substance abuse addiction, as well as the ensuing legal issues following a drunk driving charge Barry received while helping Brock Lesnar prepare for Mark Hunt back at UFC 200.
Rose detailed the experience on The MMA Hour and told host Ariel Helwani that she still stuck by Barry in spite off his addiction issues, and she has managed to keep him clean and sober ever since. These two are two of the most real people to ever fight professionally, and their relationship has only made them better people and fighters overall.