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The 50 Least Intimidating Fighters in MMA

Matt MolgaardCorrespondent IIIJanuary 19, 2017

The 50 Least Intimidating Fighters in MMA

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    Before I plunge into this list, take note: I’m not bashing (sure you'll spot some sarcasm and a few jokes, which is all in good fun) any one of these 50 fighters. In fact, the vast majority of men on this list are established, highly talented guys who have been far more successful in their quest for greatness than not.

    Being intimidating isn’t a prerequisite for success. It isn’t a mandatory for the job, either. However, a sizable chunk of competitors today are indeed a bit menacing, and I suppose that comes with the territory. These guys do after all earn a living beating the snot out of men.  

    I don’t aim to ramble, as this is a monstrous piece, so let’s allow the intro to fade. Get ready to take a look at 50 of the least intimidating fighters in the brief history of this sport!

Jeremy Horn

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    Jeremy Horn’s nickname is “Gumby.” That alone should give you the idea that this man doesn’t possess a bodybuilder’s physique.

    But even beyond the extremely “average” build of Horn, looking at the man’s face and general demeanor, there’s simply nothing to indicate that the guy is a professional fighter, let alone a professional fighter who’s picked up more than 80 victories in a long, storied career.

    He may look like your typical guy on the street, but he’s capable of beating the breaks right off of you, and let’s face it: no one wants to be beaten down by a guy known as “Gumby.”

Jake Shields

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    Jake Shields isn’t physically imposing (I had the pleasure of heading out to San Francisco and spending some time with him in the gym, and believe me, physically, he’s anything but arresting), and his warm, friendly attitude betrays that which is expected of a man who battles inside of a cage for a living.

    Just the same, the man is extremely dangerous, particularly on the mat, and he’s deceptively strong.

    Jake may look like a guy you could get away with picking on, but that’s not the case… at all!

Kenny Florian

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    “Hey Kenny, did you catch up on your TPS reports?”

    Florian looks like a guy you’d find sitting inside a cubicle, typing away for eight hours a day. The truth is, he’s one of the most impressive combatants south of 170 pounds, and while he’s come up short in his attempts to capture UFC gold, he’s a very tough out for anyone.

    Here’s hoping his current hiatus is nothing more than a much-needed break rather than an actual retirement. The guy puts on aesthetically pleasing fights and showcases some amazing footwork in addition to a solid striking game and a refined submission attack.

Luke Cummo

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    Luke hasn’t competed in nearly five years. That’s an awful long time to be playing World of Warcraft.

    Do I really need to say more?

Dustin Hazelett

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    Hazelett, while a hot-cold fighter, is a bad, bad man when performing at his best. The guy owns a potent submission game, and he’s got the kind of frame that, should he learn to utilize range, could lead him into the realm of extremely diverse competitors.

    That said, it’ll take some time to reemerge a noteworthy threat to anyone, as “McLovin” has taken some time off from competing. Perhaps he’s bulking that deceptively frail frame up a bit?

Jacob Volkmann

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    Volkmann’s presence ignites a strange sense of humor (I think it’s the haircut) for me personally. Every time this grinder steps in the cage I think to myself, this guy looks more like a doctor than a fighter, and a silly one at that!

    Well, he is a chiropractor… and he does crack some pretty controversial jokes so… close enough, right?

Joe Lauzon

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    I often envision Lauzon staying up late at night, screaming at his computer monitor, furious that Luke Cummo has once again bettered him in the vast expanse of World of Warcraft.

    Come on; tell me Joe doesn’t look the archetypical computer geek. I’ll tell you you’re lying… although I’d never tell Joe he looks like a computer geek. I like my limbs unbroken, and I loathe the feeling of waking up after being choked unconscious… that’s just a miserably confusing sensation.

Amir Sadollah

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    The unbelievably calm demeanor, the subtle charm, the outrageous haircut. Nothing about Amir, physically, would indicate that the guy absolutely loves to bang. He just seems far too docile for this business, but such is not the case.

    I don’t know exactly what career path I would predict this gentle killer would pursue, but full-contact fighting is the last guess you’d hear me toss out.

Shinya Aoki

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    Aoki looks like the kid who got bullied on the playground five days a week. A lanky guy with little muscle definition and a face that says I’d rather hug you than punch you (which to some degree is actually true), Shinya is about as unassuming as they come.

    I doubt few who knew this man as a youngster predicted he’d end up finding genuine joy in snapping limbs and yanking extremities in all the wrong directions.

    What’s that old saying? Don’t judge a book by its cover?

Royce Gracie

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    The first man to defy all odds, Royce Gracie stormed onto the scene and revolutionized mixed martial arts as we know it. Few knew Jiu Jitsu to be an effective martial arts discipline prior to Nov. 12, 1993, but this 175-pounder changed that in the blink of an eye.

    Royce looks like he couldn’t bust a teenage tagger if he rocked a badge, firearm and taser, but we all know that’s not the truth. This dude completely changed the game, and handed many a massive man defeat in the process.

Chris Horodecki

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    Is Chris old enough to buy beer yet? Hell, is he old enough to buy a pack of smokes, or enter a strip club? He sure doesn’t look like it.

    Horodecki redefines the term “baby face”, as even at 25 years old, he looks like a senior in high school.

    It’s hard to fathom ever being intimidated by a guy who looks like he couldn’t legally sign up to fight for his country, but the wars he’s been involved in within the confines of rings and cages completely defy all outward appearances.  

Tamdan McCrory

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    The last place you’d expect to find Tamdan McCrory? Inside of a cage, of course. The first place you’d expect to find Tamdan McCrory? Inside a laboratory, conducting experiments on rats.

    Need I elaborate?

Fedor Emelianenko

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    Fedor doesn’t look like a cupcake, and I find no difficulties in associating his physique with professional fighting. However, his demeanor works as an outright counter to the true destroyer that he was.

    The man rarely made eye contact with opponents and was often spotted rocking a nice, warm smile, and he even dons Cliff Huxtable sweaters with absolutely zero shame.

    Try to tell me, honestly, that if you had no idea who the man was, and you spotted him walking down the street, that you’d be intimidated. I don’t think so. You’d likely be more inclined to poke a little fun at the Cosby attire than avert your gaze.

Evan Dunham

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    Everything about Evan appears “average.” He’s got your average build, a humble personality that seeps right through his public persona, and a face that lacks the scar tissue to convince anyone that he’s an excellent, and active, mixed martial artist.

    But again, you can’t let looks fool you. There are plenty of seemingly everymen in this business, and Dunham Is one of them. Just don’t challenge him to a fist fight, as he’s sure to remind you the difference between an everyman and a world-class competitor.

Cody McKenzie

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    I’m convinced that Cody should pursue standup comedy. He isn’t remarkably funny, but he kind of looks funny (no hatred here, I dig the guy’s personality and wicked guillotine, I’m just stating an opinion) and with some practice, he could probably come up with a solid 20-minute set.

    Seriously, this guy looks like he’d pursue just about any profession other than combat sports.

Jonathan Brookins

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    If you were hanging out with Brookins, the last thing you’d expect to hear out of his mouth would be something along the lines of “hey, let’s hit the gym!” Now, “hey, let’s go do some yoga!”? Well,that I’d buy.

    A peaceful fellow who looks like he couldn’t escape a laid-back mindset if his life depended on it, Brookins is a surprisingly strong competitor.

    Watch out for the quiet guys!

Brian Bowles

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    When I see Brian Bowles, all I can think is, this guy should be wearing a suit while carpooling to work with Mike Ricci and Kenny Florian. The dude looks business through and through.

    While he’s all business inside the Octagon, it doesn’t change the fact that you’d never guess such a thing if you spotted the man walking down the street and had no idea as to who he was.

    I’m thinking Bowles should really push it over the edge, and take a few fashion lessons from Rory MacDonald; come strutting into arenas wearing overcoats and ties. In his case, it seems so appropriate.

Nam Phan

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    I’ve seen Phan accused of becoming both arrogant and overly sensitive as of late. I’ve had a handful of conversations with the man and I’ll tell you first-hand: he’s an insanely respectful, humble guy who’s always happy to juggle MMA-related dialogue.

    He’s also a guy that seems more suited for video game designing than fighting. I don’t know exactly what it is about Phan, but every time I see the man I have visions of him sitting back, PS3 controller in hand, running through a beta of his latest creation.  

Nick Ring

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    Perhaps it’s Nick’s overall demeanor, which is that of a relaxed, fun-loving guy who seems to favor laughs over punches, that always has me thinking, Nick Ring just doesn’t seem like a fighter!

    Whatever the case may be, Nick’s not an intimidating guy, in the slightest. His in-cage performances however serve as a nice reminder that even mellow guys who don’t feel a desire to puff up their chests can be warriors when the situation calls for it.

    There are few things more admirable than an active fighter who’s so completely secure in himself that he doesn’t feel the need to remind you that he beats people up for a living.

Nick Lentz

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    Even knowing that Nick is a highly effective mixed martial artist doesn’t sway my opinion of him: he looks like your Average Joe in every sense of the term.

    In fact, if you hit the bar, angered by a brawl with your wife, looking to exercise your inner bully, you might target the man.

    Picking a fight with Lentz would be a terrible idea. As “average” as he appears, he’s fully capable of putting a one-sided beating into motion.

Fabricio Werdum

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    I think Fabricio has a bright future in comedy once he’s decided to depart from the sport. The guy is absolutely hilarious, and extremely charming. He just looks like the kind of guy you could have a really entertaining night on the town with.

    Some of his jokes are absolutely priceless, and his trademark, ultra-goofy grin is the thing of legend.

    He may be a big fellow, but he’s not what I’d label an imposing figure. That said, I’m sure his opponents know that Werdum is 100 percent serious inside the cage, and a true fighter deep down in his bones, which more than likely has rendered an opponent or two quite intimidated.

    For the record, if Werdum does ever travel the path of the standup comedian, I hope he drags Cody McKenzie along to open the show!

Mike Ricci

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    My wife summed up Ricci’s presence quite well, noting that he “should be a model for the Men’s Wearhouse.” Mike’s equal parts pretty boy and businessman. He’s not exactly intimidating at first glance, no doubt about that.

Dave Jansen

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    Jansen looks like he belongs on the side of the road wearing an orange CalTrans vest, not inside a cage wearing a pair of four-ounce MMA gloves.

    Of course, anyone who can transform himself from a WEC washout to a certified Bellator standout has clearly chosen the proper career path.

Anthony Perosh

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    I’m not even sure what to say about Perosh, other than the fact that he looks about as frightening as an animated Disney extra.

Chris Camozzi

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    I just don’t see anything intimidating in Camozzi’s outward appearance. Chris has proven a fighter to watch with a couple of really surprising performances inside the octagon, and yes, he’s a big kid, but he doesn’t bring much menace to the table.

    I wouldn’t dream of challenging the guy to a fistic showdown, but I wouldn’t tremble in his presence either. Perhaps I should, given the excellent fighter he’s quickly becoming!  

Tim Credeur

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    Drop Tim Credeur in front a classroom filled with 30 antsy kids and “Crazy” (one of the least fitting monikers in MMA; bold would have fit his style far better) would look right at home.

    Unassuming on a grand scale, Tim is all the proof needed to hammer home the fact that fighters don’t have to look like fighters in order to kick serious ass.

    I’m a huge fan of Credeur, and perhaps it’s his appearance and behavior that have left him such an endearing figure in my mind.

Vitor Vianna

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    No matter how hard I try, I can’t find anything intimidating about Vianna. He’s not built like a fighter, he doesn’t project the obviously detectable confidence of a fighter and he’s (from all I’ve seen) a really friendly guy.

    Fortunately for him, he’s a tough enough guy to defeat quality fighters like Bryan Baker and Sam Alvey. He’s obviously doing something right with his career, regardless of how he looks.

Rich Franklin

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    Rich wasn’t supposed to be a professional fighter. Rich wasn’t supposed to be a math teacher, either. Rich Franklin was supposed (who forgot to send him this memo, I wonder?) to be a double for the prolific Jim Carrey, that’s all there is to it!

Jared Hamman

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    Benjamin Scott is better known as Ben Folds, of Ben Folds Five (and later, simply Ben Folds). But what most don’t realize is that he apparently sports an entirely different moniker, adopted for his time away from the stage: Jared Hamman.

    If you’re familiar with Ben Folds, you know exactly what I’m saying, and you know that nothing about this man is intimidating!

Jason MacDonald

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    Take the tattoos away and Jason MacDonald could easily be pegged as stay-at-home dad who runs a fledgling business operated from his very own residence.

    Seriously, is there anything about MacDonald that warrants usage of the word intimidating? I don’t think so.

Ed West

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    Call me crazy, but whenever Ed West fights, one thing echoes throughout my melon: this dude should be coaching a Little League baseball team.

    Ed’s charismatic, kind and just a bit… bubbly in general. These aren’t typical traits found in professional fighters. Of course, that’s all part of the greatness of West. He just seems like a really cool guy with an almost fatherly aura about him.

Yoshihiro Akiyama

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    Too much Sexyness.

    ‘Nuff said!

Brian Ebersole

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    He’s not built like a miniature version of The Incredible Hulk, his hair is thinning (I think he intentionally uses a pair of thinning scissors in order to ensure he’s got enough hair to glue on his chest to form the almighty “Hairrow”) and he’s a really personable guy.

    These are not things that I associate with intimidating. However those insane cartwheel kicks he likes to throw scare the hell out of me.

Ben Askren

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    There’s something about a grown white man with an Afro that feels counter-productive to all things intimidating. Factor in your very average build, and we’re talking about the one and only Ben Askren.

    He’s an absolutely amazing wrestler, but I’m not entirely sure he strikes fear in the hearts of his opponents.

Brad Scott

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    Brad kind of looks like he could be Ed West’s younger brother. Knowing this, I ponder: do I really need to provide a breakdown for exactly why this kid looks anything but intimidating?

    I don’t think so.

Sam Alvey

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    It’s tough to be intimidating when your nickname is “Smilin',” and you live up to that handle by smiling constantly.

    Sam has proven himself a very capable fighter, having picked up 19 wins in 24 professional bouts, and his victory over Karl Amoussou was a welcomed surprise. That doesn’t change the fact that the guy appears way too happy to engage in full-contact competitions for a living.

    Taking that into consideration, if Sam decides he’s had enough of fighting, the guy would make for a damn fine salesman.

Keith Wisniewski

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    Keith’s enjoyed some impressive victories during his 15 years as a professional fighter.

    The man holds victories over Pete Spratt, Jorge Santiago, Chris Wilson and Carlo Prater, to name just a few, but you can take one fact to the bank with you: intimidation was no factor in the outcome of those fights. Skill alone can be attributed to his success.

    He’s just not a “scary” fighter, at all.

Eduardo Dantas

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    Eduardo joins the ranks of the too-young-to-be-intimidating category with Chris Horodecki. At 23 years old, he still looks like a baby in the cage, and his narrow frame isn’t what I’d acknowledge as imposing.

    His talents inside the cage, however, are incredible. Given the fact that he’s still a really young guy with less than six years banked as a professional, I’d say he’s a certified success story who only stands to evolve into a frightening fighter.  

Myles Jury

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    You can go ahead and toss Myles into the same pool in which Dantas and Horodecki swim. Young, baby-faced and underwhelming to the eye, Jury is still a kid who’s growing into his frame.

    Toss this youngster in there with some killers and he’ll begin picking up his fair share of scars, and as time progresses, his muscle mass will increase. Maybe then he’ll take on a more intimidating presence.

Ramsey Nijem

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    What’s that you say, another comedian? Yes, Ramsey’s a rambunctious and naturally funny guy, and truth be told, if I could shake the image of him prancing about in a pair of Speedos during his time on The Ultimate Fighter, I might view him as a more intimidating competitor.

    Unfortunately, I can’t get the disturbing TUF memories out of my brain… which is just a downright unsettling fact. What it says about me, well, I don’t know!

Joe Proctor

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    Remember the kid in high school who aced every test thrown at him, and found severe disappointment if his report card produced an A-? You know the kid: never out on the weekend, home straight from school, constantly studying. Well, Joe Proctor looks an awful lot like that kid.

    Joe seems like the kind of guy who’d run an accounting firm rather than compete in any form of full-contact activity. But he’s just another example that goes to show you simply cannot judge a book by its cover.

Jimy Hettes

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    Another member of the “we’re just kids, having fun beating people up” crowd, Hettes looks as far from a talented mixed martial artist as you can imagine. But like Myles Jury, Chris Horodecki and Eduardo Dantas, this kid smashes guys.

    The future looks insanely bright for this young 'un, and although he may not physically look like an assassin in training, a few more years could change that.

Cole Miller

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    Cole’s elongated frame may lead one to believe they’re eyeing a beanpole with an attitude, and little more. But Miller’s been around, competing with some of the best in the business for years and he’s earned his respect.

    Physically,. he may not strike fear into many, but his tenacity and aggression has changed plenty of minds over the last few years.

Rani Yahya

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    Rani is another guy that leaves me at a complete loss for words. He doesn’t walk like a fighter, he doesn’t talk like a fighter, and he sure doesn’t carry the physique of a fighter.

    Not in a million years would you spot this man and say “whoa, steer clear of that dude”, but if you like to avoid being strangled, or being turned into a human pretzel, it’s probably a wise decision not to provoke this quite combatant.

Dan Cramer

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    Dan Cramer is too handsome to be intimidating. That’s all there is to it…really, that’s it!

Alex Caceres

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    You’ll spot him with an Afro, you’ll spot him in a skin-tight yellow jump suit, you’ll spot him mimicking the movements of the great Bruce Lee and you’ll spot him with an ear-to-ear grin a good 90 percent of the time his face is visible to the masses.

    Does any of that sound intimidating to you? 

Bryan Caraway

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    When your girl (in this case Miesha Tate) is a more imposing figure than you are, you can’t even pretend to be intimidating.

    The only thing frightened by Caraway is a bottle of hair gel.

T.J. Dillashaw

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    Hey, it’s yet another member of the Baby-face club! T.J. Dillashaw looks like a youngster with big ambition, but his questionable tactics for advancing in the tournament of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter left a nasty taste in the mouths of those who actually tuned in.

    If you missed it, the general consensus in the house was that Dillashaw intentionally sought out matches with the least talented fighters in order to decrease the chances of being eliminated before reaching the finals.

    That tactic worked to get the Team Alpha Male into the finals, but John Dodson brought the man right back down to reality when he stopped him in less than two minutes with a barrage of punches in the season finale.

    Not exactly the kind of guy that leaves men cowering in fear.

Marcos Galvao

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    Galvao’s a technical guy who has no qualms in engaging in a slugfest. A late bloomer, Marcos has really reinvented himself after a hairy stretch in the WEC. Noting that, it’s quite obvious that this guy isn’t intimidating in the least.

    He’s simply too soft-spoken to be feared, and his typical build isn’t going to render many nervous before meeting him in the cage.

    Perhaps they should be...

Demetrious Johnson

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    Demetrious might be the most physically gifted guy to make this list. He’s lightning quick and absurdly athletic. However, two obvious factors land him on this list.

    First off, his nickname is “Mighty Mouse.” Second, he’s a profoundly nice guy. And while this nice guy didn’t finish last, he probably doesn’t invoke terror in the minds of men to meet him inside the octagon.

    It’s tough to fear a guy as jovial as Johnson.

    Perhaps he and Sam Alvey should get together and have a beer, and a smiling contest. First to stop smiling has to pretend to be a hard ass during their next fight.

     

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