Like a picture-perfect knockout or a super-slick submission, a cool moniker is as much a part of the game as any of the other many elements that mixed martial arts has to offer.
Throughout the years, countless mixed martial arts stars and champions have made a name for themselves and a lot of them have reached a certain level of stardom wherein they can easily be identified just by their nicknames, so to speak.
When you hear “The Natural”, that’s Randy Couture. “Iceman”? Definitely Chuck Liddell. “The Spider”? Nobody but Anderson Silva.
Others have even adopted their monikers as their primary names like “Rampage” Jackson or “Shogun” Rua.
The nickname is often an extension of a fighter’s personality or characteristics inside the field of combat, and while there are a lot of quite common nicknames, others are undoubtedly very unique.
Here are some of the most uncommon monikers in the world of mixed martial arts.
Rich “Ace” Franklin
No, former Middleweight World Champion and Hall of Famer Rich Franklin wasn’t a card aficionado before becoming a mixed martial arts icon. In fact, Franklin was a school teacher who eventually self-trained himself to become one of the best middleweight competitors ever. As for the nickname “Ace”, well it comes from his uncanny resemblance to comedian Jim Carrey, whose most iconic role is that of wacky animal detective Ace Ventura. You can also say that since he was a former school teacher, he “aced” becoming a champion, but, yeah, the Jim Carrey one sounds like a better story. Franklin is now a Vice President for Asian martial arts powerhouse ONE Championship.
Paul “Semtex” Daley
English welterweight Paul Daley is known for his explosive knockout power, which has earned him the nickname of “Semtex.” For those that don’t know, Semtex is a plastic explosive that is said to be more powerful than C4. With 30 of his 41 career victories coming via knockout, it can be said that Daley has “Semtex” in his fists…get it?
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang
The usual nickname is that of a deadly weapon or a ferocious animal or the odd job kind. Then, there are those who go the “natural disaster” route, and arguably the most unique one of that bunch is the one that belongs to Filipino lightweight and two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang. The Philippine hero goes by the nickname “Landslide” which is an homage to his hometown of Baguio City, a mountainous area in the Philippines where landslides are a common occurrence. Folayang also said that the nickname is partly thanks to how he ran through the competition early in his career…much like a landslide.
Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson
Thai-American women’s mixed martial arts star Michelle Waterson is the owner of one of the most unique monikers in the game today with “The Karate Hottie.” Beginning her martial arts journey at the age of 10 when she began to take up Karate, the very beautiful Waterson became a black belt in American Freestyle Karate and eventually made her way into the mixed martial arts industry, first as a ring girl, and then transitioned into becoming a professional mixed martial artist without any amateur experience. Fun fact: Waterson’s daughter Araya goes by the nickname “The Karate Cutie”.
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko
Retired Belarusian Vladimir Matyushenko was given the nickname “the Janitor” by American wrestling legend Dave Schulz because he looked like he had been cleaning the mats. Matyushenko also went on to defeat members of the American National Wrestling Team in a meet in Siberia. He would go on to have a decent mixed martial arts career which included a run as the IFL Light Heavyweight World Champion.
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen
Vietnamese-Australian star Martin Nguyen may have the most unique custom nickname in mixed martial arts history. It doesn’t get any more uncommon than “The Situ-Asian”, now does it? According to the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion and the promotion’s first-ever champ-champ, the nickname came from when he finally developed abs, and his teammates started calling him “The Situation” in reference to the popular reality TV star with the same nickname on the show “Jersey Shore”. Because he didn’t want that as a nickname, it was tweaked a bit to honor his Asian heritage, and the rest was history.
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate
MMA nicknames are usually ones that invoke intimidation or fear, but Miesha Tate’s is the exact opposite unless of course, you’re someone who’s watching your weight. Formerly known as “Takedown”, Tate adopted the nickname “Cupcake” during the latter part of her career because of her love for baking. “Cupcake” would go on to become a multiple-time world champion in her career, before calling it quits. Now she works as a Vice President for ONE Championship.