Randy "The Natural" Couture had an awesome nickname. It was everything a nickname should be: it was fitting, inspirational and simple, it flowed easily off the tongue, and, most importantly, it sounded cool.
There are some who have extravagant formulas when compiling a list of the best nicknames in MMA. They feel the moniker should have some sort of personal meaning and/or reflect the fighter’s style in some way.
I’m not here to rain on that parade. It’s great if those criteria can be met. If they cannot, however, then it's perfectly fine to just go with something that sounds good.
That being said, it’s also okay not to even have a nickname, especially if you’re going to call yourself something way too close to J-Lo, hypothetically speaking of course. Matt Hughes didn’t have a nickname and he was one of the best fighters of all time.
Nicknames are nice and all, but much like a hairpiece, it’s better not to have one at all than to have a bad one.
Here are the 10 best nicknames in MMA today, in no particular order.
It's been a while since Mayhem has lived up to his nickname, in the cage at least, but that doesn't diminish its greatness.
Yahoo.com defines Mayhem as, "A state of violent disorder or riotous confusion."
Anytime a fighter can choose a nickname that not only adheres to the traditional last initial rule, but also means "riotous confusion" then that's about as good as it gets.
This one is a no-brainer.
A nickname that sounds as good as this one, fits right into the last name, and means the end of the world is about as much as a fighter can ask for.
It might help if Day hadn't dropped his last three outside of the UFC, but hey, he's got a first-round TKO victory over Alan Belcher that he can always brag about.
When your nickname is so good that it actually becomes your first name then it automatically deserves to be ranked in the top 10. If most fans do not even know your real first name, it's top five.
When that nickname refers to an ancient warlord during lawless times, it's top three.
Shogun will always be remembered for his tenacious fighting style and epic battles, but he'll also be remembered for an awesome nickname.
Rampage enjoys the same benefit as Shogun. He's not Quinton to MMA fans. He's simply Rampage.
But he surpasses Shogun in one crucial area: he's actually lived out his nickname both in and out of the cage.
After losing his title to Forrest Griffin in 2008, Rampage was arrested after going berserk in his gigantic truck on a California freeway, slamming into several other cars and driving on the rims when the tires blew out, all while the cops were chasing him—basically going on a real life rampage.
That sort of behavior is never to be glorified, but it did lend credence to his nickname, which is something most fighters, wisely, never do.
Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry can pull off the nickname Cyborg. You have to have a certain look about you.
We all know from The Terminator that a cyborg is a cybernetic organism, or half man, half machine. Well, no one in MMA pulls that look off better than Cyborg Santos.
Maybe it's the aura of emotionless intimidation he so naturally carries. Maybe it's the physique. Maybe it's the tattoos on his skull. Heck, it's all of that and more.
This guy is downright scary, and that's exactly what any man named Cyborg must be.
I can hear the accusations of Star Wars geek already.
I'm a fan of the film, yes, but I'm definitely not a fanatic. In fact, I haven't even seen the last three, or the first three,or whatever the heck the newest ones are.
It's just one of those cool nicknames that works. It has absolutely zero significance, in or out of the cage. It offers no correlation to fighting style—Darth Vader didn't have to fight, he just mind-slapped people.
So aside from the rhyming factor it makes no sense whatsoever. But hey, sometimes that rhyme is enough.
Self-deprecation is the lifeline of any good comedian. The logic is that if you spend your days making fun of everyone and everything, you had better not take yourself too seriously either.
Meathead gets that better than anyone. In fact, it's what made him a known commodity long before he got into the UFC and won five straight fights.
Cast on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, he was given the name by his coach, Rashad Evans, because, well, it just fit. He acted like a meathead. And whether or not he was just playing a part is insignificant.
Until UFC 147 I never would have included Ace in this list. But after that Dumb and Dumber hairdo he showed up with, it just seemed right.
Of course, Ace is a reference to Ace Ventura, not Lloyd Christmas, whom he highly resembled, but that's irrelevant. Come on, look at that picture and tell me you don't see Jim Carrey on steroids!
Ace moved into the big time with a simple hair style change, and that's about as silly as a Jim Carrey movie, but it works.
No "Best Nickname" list is ever complete without Wandy.
His isn't a nickname that will ever commonly be used to refer to him. It's not particularly clever. It's not all that interesting either.
What makes it so good is that it perfectly captures the wanton disregard for life and limb that has defined Wandy's career.
In the early days he would charge forward with hands so lethal he may as well have been yielding an axe. Not many guys can pull off a psycho killer style nickname, but The Axe Murderer is definitely one of them.
There was a time when the mere mention of the Gracie name inspired fear and respect in the MMA world. It still inspires respect, but the fear factor has been absent for quite a while. One of the reasons for that is The Gracie Hunter, Kazushi Sakuraba.
After becoming the first man to officially defeat a Gracie in decades—Royler by technical submission (Kimura) in 1999—the Gracie clan sought revenge on Sakuraba for sullying their untouchable name.
Well, Sakuraba was more than up for the challenge.
He would go on to defeat three more Gracies: Royce by corner stoppage, Renzo by technical submission (Kimura again), and Ryan by unanimous decision—all within a 13-month period.
This is one of those earned nicknames. He didn't ask for it. It doesn't flow. It's not a fearsome animal or a homicidal tool. It's just a nickname earned through battle.