Watch and Listen: The 50 Best Entrance Songs in UFC History

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterMay 4, 2011

Watch and Listen: The 50 Best Entrance Songs in UFC History

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    Photo credit: Bling Cheese

    You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    Maybe that's why the big entrance is such an interesting part of fight night. Though obviously secondary to, you know, the fight, a good entrance energizes the fighter and his team, whips the crowd into a frenzy and maybe even psyches out the enemy.

    And the biggest part of that entrance is the song. The guy up in row double-Z can't see your menacing scowl (and neither can your opponent, for that matter), but they can darn sure hear your anthem.

    What makes a great entrance song? Clearly, music is completely subjective at the end of the day. But in general, a great walkout song pumps you up. However, that doesn't mean the loudest song is always the best.

    Great UFC entrance songs do intimidate, though, as well as offer some kind of a window into a fighter's personality or style. Ideally, they should also be original, because then it's a signature song, and not just some regurgitation of the warmed-over leftovers from some T-shirt cannon TV timeout.

    So with all those criteria in mind, here are my submissions for the 50 best entrance songs in UFC history. Lots of weight classes and music genres represented.

    I attempted to include walkout videos whenever possible, but failing that, I included a YouTube clip of a performance of the song.

    If you're looking for some kind of definitive walkout song ranking formula, well, good luck in your continued search. That said, if your favorite isn't on here, let me know in the comments. 

    Scott Harris is a columnist and slideshow writer with Bleacher Report MMA. For additional entrance-song commentary and other hard-hitting MMA news, follow him on Twitter @ScottHarrisMMA

Dishonorable Mentions

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    Photo credit: TheSmokingGun.com

    The following songs are used by one or more fighters who shall remain mercifully anonymous.

    They stand out for being especially hackneyed, or just plain old or not very good:

     

     

    "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins

    Any song from the "Rocky" franchise (used by at least four fighters)

    "Enter Sandman" by Metallica

    "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed

    "I Gotta Feelin'" by the Black-Eyed Peas

    Actually, anything by the Black-Eyed Peas

    For that matter, anything by Kid Rock, too.

50. Chuck Liddell—"Too Cold" by Vanilla Ice

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    Last used at: UFC 43

    I don't know what we were thinking back in 2003. But it was something great.

    Yes, that is Chuck Liddell walking out to the nu-metal version of "Ice Ice, Baby." Presumably, it's because it works with his nickname, which is "The Iceman." See? I'm telling...2003. It was a year of magical thinking. 

    Not that they're needed, but the video gets extra cool points from a haunted house-inspired intro from the late Charles "Mask" Lewis.

49. Tamdan McCrory—"Thunderhorse" by Dethklock

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    Last used at: UFC 101

    McCrory gained a relatively sizable fan base in the UFC, though in most cases it probably wasn't for his 3-3 record. He was known primarily for his kick-ass nickname—"The Barn Cat"—and his affinity for different types of extreme metal. This is what he walked out to at his final UFC fight.

48. Kyle Noke—"Down Under" by Men at Work

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    Last used at: UFC 127

    An Australian fighting in Australia using a song by Australians about Australia. And he won the fight. Any questions?

47. Rich Franklin—"For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" by AC/DC

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    Last used at: UFC 126

    By the time the chorus on this slow-burner finally arrives, the song is in full blaze. 

    "For those about to rock—FIRE!"

46. Phil Davis—"Right Above It" by Lil Wayne Feat. Drake

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    Last used at: UFC Fight Night: Seattle

    This one mixes the goosebump factor, in the form of the opening horns and strings, with a harder edge, courtesy of Weezy's lyrics.

45. Frank Mir—“Amazing" by Kanye West

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    Last used at: UFC 111

    Auto-tune may finally be going the way of the dinosaur, but this computer-drenched Kanye beat perfectly complements the pace of Mir's smirking sashay to the Octagon.

    The song's shoulder-chip refrain of "no matter what, you'll never take that from me" provides an appropriate mantra for a cocky but sometimes-overlooked former heavyweight champion.

44. DeMarques Johnson—"Mice and Gods" by Clutch

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    Last used at: UFC 112

    Apparently DeMarques is a Clutch fan, as he has come out to multiple songs from this venerable spacecore outfit from Maryland.

    The first line in the chorus—"fire it up, and let the flesh be damned"—is delivered with a motorcycle-gang snarl that almost demands confrontation.

43. Matt Brown—"I'd Love to Knock the Hell out of You" by Hank Williams Jr.

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    Last used at: UFC 123

    Pretty straightforward here. Boot-stompin' country boy comes out to boot-stompin' country classic about not takin' nothin' from nobody.

42. Frankie Edgar—"Kick in the Door" by Notorious B.I.G.

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    Last used at: UFC 125

    A big beat and a big voice for a big-hearted dude in Frankie Edgar.

41. Amir Sadollah—"Annabel Lee" by Tiger Army

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    Last used at: UFC 106

    Sadollah has a bit of a clown-prince reputation in UFC fan circles, but he seems pretty serious about his music. This deep cut from psychobilly mainstays Tiger Army illustrates this (as do some of his other walkout selections).

40. Sean McCorkle and Kimbo Slice—"All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled

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    Last used at:  UFC 124

    Hip-hop heavyweights Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross and T-Pain chip in on this track. If nothing else, the title probably helps fighters get in the right frame of mind.

    Plus, when the song comes on, everybody's hands apparently go up. And then they stay there. So that's impressive.

39. Anderson Silva—"No Sunshine" by DMX

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    Last used at: UFC 126

    This isn't the last time you'll see DMX on this list. The New York MC no longer resides on the Billboard Hot 100, but MMA fighters apparently don't get a vote on that list, because his gravelly delivery and alpha-male bravado are still in demand on the entrance song market.

    This darker, slower track provides plenty of menace, but I always thought the planet's quickest striker might be better served by something with a slightly quicker beat.

38. Roy Nelson—"Fat" by "Weird" Al Yankovic

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    Last used at:  UFC 117

    It's good for a laugh, sure. But I posit that it does more than that.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Nelson hears a lot of cracks about his weight. This entrance music is a great way of co-opting the joke, thus helping to neutralize and maybe even win over some detractors inside the arena.

37. Ivan Menjivar—"Chulin Chulin Chun Fly" by Voltio

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    Last used at: UFC 129

    The air-raid horns and heavy reggaeton beat are a perfect lead-in for the swaggering lyrics, and for a rising and dangerous fighter like Menjivar.

36. Mike Swick—"Ambitionz Az a Ridah" by 2Pac

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    Last used at: UFC 109

    The "let's get ready to rumble" declaration in the opening seconds is the obvious appeal for this song from an MMA perspective. But the sinister beat also darkens the mood nicely during Swick's walkouts.

35. Jorge Rivera—"Power" by Kanye West

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    Last used at: UFC 127

    Would have been better if Rivera had been able to hang with Michael Bisping, but it's still a cool entrance song.

    The chanting at the beginning, which then carries on underneath the verses, always sends a tingle up my spine.

34. George Sotiropolous and Gleison Tibau—"Iron Man" by Black Sabbath

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    Last used at:  UFC 128

    Not the world's most original selection, but perhaps it's still the original slow-burning sludge metal anthem.

    Whenever this song comes on, I picture someone kicking in a door, Shining-style. Then in the doorway I see the crooked silhouette of a man who's reached his breaking point. And you wouldn't like this guy when he's reached his breaking point.

    In any event, let there be no confusion: without Black Sabbath, hard rock and metal as we know them today would not exist. That probably even goes for Limp Bizkit.

    As far as the video, come for the classic tune, stay for the delightfully campy action figure and cartoon revue.

33. Thiago Silva—"Ratamahatta" by Sepultura

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    Last used at: UFC 125

    Guttural tribal chants kick off the song but soon give way to Sepultura's trademark metal brutality.

    Sounds like the right combination for Silva, who looks to savage opponents at every opportunity.

32. Lyoto Machida—"Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park

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    Last used at: UFC 129

    Probably not something I'd put in my iPod any time soon, but that doesn't mean it's not a great entrance song. You've got the sing-along chorus, the scratchy vocals and a steady rock-rap rhythm.

    What makes it even more appropriate, though, might be the chorus' main line—"I bleed it out, digging deeper just to throw it away"—which in its own way kind of sums up the entire fighting experience.

31. Chris Leben and Peter Sobotta—"Welcome to Jamrock" by Damian Marley

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    Last used at: UFC 122

    He may not be as well-known stateside as his old man, but Damian Marley is positively on fire in this quintessential example of toasting (basically Jamaican hip-hop).

    The lyrics and steady beat are hypnotic, but the clincher is the refrain from the background singer: "Out in the streets, they call it murrrdeeeerrrrr." 

    Nice touch, especially for a fit-to-burst balloon of enmity like Leben.

30. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua—"Sail" by Armin Van Buuren

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    Last used at: UFC 128

    A simple but hard-driving techno beat that Shogun has made his own, in spite of the rather unlikely song and artist names.

    Now, whenever I hear this song, I immediately think of Shogun.

    Have I ever heard in anywhere else? No. But that's beside the point! The point is, I would recognize it as Shogun's if I heard it, probably.

29. Rashad Evans—"Step into a World" by KRS-One

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    Last used at: UFC 108

    KRS-One is an old-school legend, but this is actually one of his more latter-day tracks. You'd never know that from the way this beat has been co-opted, though. For a while there, it was everywhere.

    This song definitely makes me want to get up and jump around a little (even if it didn't exactly have that effect on this particular crowd).

    If I ever owned a basketball team, I would want the starting lineups to happen to this song. ROCK ONNNN!

28. Eddie Wineland—"Shoot to Thrill" by AC/DC

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    Last used at: UFC 128

    AC/DC is about as common in the UFC as the mouth guard, but this is one of the relatively lesser-known, and more effective, of the group's tracks.

    The song kicks along at a quick pace, and the lyrics are fitting for someone like Wineland, who likes to give crowd-pleasing performances. A sampling:

    "Shoot to thrill, play to kill,
    I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will
    yeah, I'm like evil, I get under your skin."

27. Rory MacDonald—"One More Road to Cross" by DMX

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    Last used at: UFC 129

    One of the UFC's youngest heads goes with one of the best tunes from this longtime entrance song mainstay. Give this a listen and then let me know if there's any road you're not ready to cross.

    There's also one of those built-in pep talks at the beginning, talking about how "this is my LIFE, dude!" and so on.

    I personally don't get so amped for that sort of thing. Then again, that kind of phrase usually only goes through my head while I'm changing poopy diapers.

26. Randy Couture—“The Star-Spangled Banner" by Jimi Hendrix

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    Last used at: UFC 52

    Switching to the wider lens for a moment, this song goes down as one of the great moments in American music, and maybe culture.

    Back in the MMA context, it makes for a rock-solid walkout song, especially if you're feeling patriotic, which I guess I sort of am at the moment.

25. Royce Gracie and Demian Maia—"Fort Battle" from "Last of the Mohicans"

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    Last used at: UFC 87

    The soundtrack to this pivotal film scene is a terrific musical representation of what it feels like to march into an epic battle.

    And if you know anything about the Gracie family, you know they view each of their battles through a thick lens of epicness.

    Seriously, though, if Gracie's entrance at UFC 60 doesn't give you goosebumps, you may want to call a dermatologist.

24. Alan Belcher—"The Hurricane" by Bob Dylan

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    Last used at: UFC 100

    It's the story of a fighter who (eventually) succeeded against long odds, and it's told by the greatest songwriter in American rock history. Nothing to dislike here.

    But if you're one of those hard-to-please types, I'll throw in this clip from "Dazed and Confused," which could very well constitute this song's biggest moment in the mainstream spotlight.

    All right, all right, all riiiiight.

23. Edson Barboza—"Na Frente Do Reto" by O Rappa

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    Last used at: UFC 123

    Just a great, great entrance song. The hand claps, the urgent guitar strumming and the opening chant of "oh-oh-oh-OHHHH-oh-OHHHH" are simultaneously comforting, exciting, strong and haunting.

    Delving deeper, though, if you'll indulge me, it seems that the music and lyrics are suggesting a sense of both celebration and determination, and as such could arguably be a sonic metaphor for what the soul of a great fighter should contain.

    Or something like that.

22. Evan Tanner and Razak Al-Hassan—"All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix

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    Last used at: UFC 104

    One of the great entries in the American rock songbook is also one of the more foreboding. Throughout the song, riders are approaching, the wind is howling and it basically seems like all mugglefracking heckfire is about to break loose.

    And maybe I've seen "Forrest Gump" too many times, but I inextricably link the song's opening chords with helicopters, door gunners and, basically, war.

    Bottom line: something about this track suggests the coming of a momentous reckoning. Sounds like good entrance-song material to me.

    (And R.I.P., Evan Tanner)

21. Peter Sobotta—"Them Belly Full" by Bob Marley

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    Last used at: UFC 99

    In this song, the reggae king's usually sunny demeanor takes a decidedly menacing turn.

    As the bassline grumbles and the background singers chant darkly, Marley warns that "a hungry mob is an angry mob." Some bad stuff might be fixin to go down.

    Like "Watchtower," this song exudes impending dread. That makes it kind of a brilliant choice as a song to play on your own behalf before you enter a fight.

20. Yushin Okami—"Battle Without Honor or Humanity" by Tomoyasu Hotei

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    Last used at: UFC 122

    Perhaps better known as the de facto theme song of the "Kill Bill" movies. Definitely the second-best song title on the list.

19. Spencer Fisher—"God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash

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    Last used at: UFC 127

    And now for the first-best song title on this list.

18. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria—"Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones

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    Last used at: UFC 110

    Big Nog's longtime theme is just one of those songs that gives you chills. After all, war, children, is just a shot away.

17. Andrei Arlovski—"Onward to Victory" by Icepick

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    Last used at: UFC 70

    Guttural snarling, rabid dogs barking, jackboots, alarm sirens, then crushing, growling hardcore?

    I wouldn't want to fight that guy.

16. Michael Bisping—"London Calling" by the Clash

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    Last used at: UFC 66

    The Count is typically associated with Blur's "Song 2," but I much prefer this one. I like the thought that London, in the form of Bisping, is knocking at your door. That's pretty intimidating.

    Plus, The Clash, man. Can't say anything bad about The Clash.

15. Wanderlei Silva—"Sandstorm" by DJ Darude

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    Last used at: UFC 110

    Loses a few originality points, but still an absolutely classic walkout song. The frenetic electronica beat primes the pump, just before the torrent of energy that is Wanderlei Silva bursts forth in the cage.

14. Mirko Cro Cop—"Wild Boys" by Duran Duran

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    Last used at: UFC 119

    When this song started playing in Japan, the ovation was sometimes so loud you couldn't hear the music.

    They were screaming before he ever showed his checkerboard shorts. Now THAT is a theme song.

13. Stephan Bonnar and Nate Marquardt—"Eminence Front" by the Who

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    Last used at: UFC 128

    A classic example of a song that doesn't need to make you bleed to get the blood flowing.

    It starts with chilly keyboards that slowly build into a song that evokes cold streets and hard business. It's a serious song for a serious world. And there's no more serious world (in the sports world) than the UFC world.

    Except maybe the golf world. But that's different. Though it would be cool if they had entrance songs, too.

12. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira—"Da Rockwilder" by Method Man and Red Man

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    Last used at:  UFC Fight Night: Seattle

    Apparently the Nogueira brothers know their music.

    A somewhat old but underrated track for a somewhat old but underrated fighter.

    Off the album "Blackout," one of the best party records of the mid-1990s, this song is pure fire. Turn it up some time and watch people stop what they're doing to tap their feet, nod their heads or celebrate an imaginary touchdown.

    Red and Meth, still at the tops of their games on this record, go note for note with the molten beat. It's a song made to stimulate adrenal glands.

11. Joseph Benavidez and Randy Couture—"Stranglehold" by Ted Nugent

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    Last used at: UFC 128

    A particularly fitting song for Benavidez, a guy for whom seven of 14 MMA wins have come by way of chokeout.

    That said, the best single use of "Stranglehold" probably belongs to Couture, when he strode out to face fellow legend Mark "The Hammer" Coleman.

    It's worth checking out the video if only to listen to Joe Rogan lose his mind as soon as the opening notes come over the sound system.

10. B.J. Penn—"Hawaii '78" into "E Ala E" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

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    Last used at: UFC 127

    Fans forgive Penn's arrogant, sometimes nettlesome exterior in part for the deep well of respect and love he carries for his sport. That feeling is embodied in Penn's thoughtful and, frankly, beautiful entrance music.

    I've been lucky enough to watch a Penn fight in person, and when the first strains of this song began, the crowd didn't so much erupt as enter into a respectful hush.

    It was like a Hawaiian king was being carried to the cage. And, in a way, I suppose that's not so far off.

    Maybe I just needed to lay off the $12 suds, but something about the song seemed to not only command respect but create a kind of communing atmosphere.

    It wasn't Penn's song. It was our song, man!  I must say, it was quite a moment.

9. Dan Hardy—"England Belongs to Me" by Cock Sparrer

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    Last used at: UFC Fight Night: Seattle

    AYE AYE!!

    Like the cocky fighter it represents, this song bursts through the curtain and belts you in the face. But the more you listen, the more you realize you kind of like where its head is at.

    Hardy may be on a downswing at the moment, but thanks to this razor-sharp British street punk standard, he'll always have a place on this ranking as far as I'm concerned.

8. Yoshihiro Akiyama—"Time to Say Good-Bye" by Andrea Bocelli/Sarah Brightman

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    Last used at: UFC 120

    Say what you want about Akiyama. But the guy has style.

    This song's ethereal, operatic tones give a sad quality to Akiyama's entrance spectacle (oh, it's a spectacle, all right). But in a way, it's surprisingly effective as an intimidation tool, because there's a kind of finality to it. It has an "I'm sorry I'm about to either kill you or die trying" feel.

7. Jon Fitch—"Rusty Cage" by Johnny Cash

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    Last used at: UFC 127

    This is the entrance song that best encapsulates the fighter it represents.

    Never did the late-career Johnny Cash's death rattle sound so at home as it did while picking its way through this grungy Soundgarden ballad, looking for a place to bury its axe and lay down its bones.

    It's the perfect complement to Fitch and his unique brand of combat, which seems to try and submit your soul more than your physical body.

    Both are reminders that the worst kind of suffering doesn't always happen at the point of some high-octane, laser-guided prototype. Sometimes it happens beneath sludgy, slow-grinding wheels.

6. Dan Henderson and Randy Couture—"Lunatic Fringe" by Red Rider

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    Last used at: UFC 129

    Though Couture chose this as the theme music for what was likely his final walk to the Octagon, I myself will always associate it with Henderson.

    Not only is it the theme of the wrestling film "Vision Quest," it seems to give off this vibe of "hey! something's happening!" 

    The fact that two titans of the sport have made the song their own doesn't exactly hurt anything, either.

5. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson—"Ain't Stoppin Me" by Al Kapone

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    Last used at: UFC 114

    If this song doesn't get you amped, then I'm afraid you might be dead. I'm sorry you had to learn this way.

    Add in the signature "Memphis bounce" that is a staple of the hip-hop that comes out of Jackson's home town, and you've got all the makings of an ideal walkout song.

4. Forrest Griffin—"I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys

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    Last used at: UFC 126

    Another one that sums up the fighter really well. This is a bar-brawling, beer-scented shout-along that uses irreverent humor to take the edge off the edge.

    Though it has its detractors, I've only heard (either in person, on TV or during this research) three UFC entrance songs that works the crowd up to that dangerous-to-your-hearing decibel range. Not the fighters, necessarily, but just the walkout songs. Those are this one, "Wild Boys" and the song in the No. 1 spot. If there's one I'm missing, just give me a name.

3. Matt Hughes—"A Country Boy Can Survive" by Hank Williams, Jr.

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    Last used at: UFC 123

    The real-life theme song for the real-life "Walker, Texas Ranger."

    Probably the song that a fighter has most successfully "branded" as his own. Hughes has done so by virtue of longevity, popularity and sheer success in the sport.

    His steely walkout is legendary, and that's due in no small part to his anthem.

2. Nate Quarry—"Shut 'em Down" by Public Enemy

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    Last used at: UFC 91

    I had to throw a curveball in there.

    Obviously, this is not up here because it's identified with a big-name fighter (no disrespect to Quarry). It's up here because it is, in my opinion, the second-greatest entrance song ever used in the UFC.

    You've got Chuck D and his immortal staccato, with Flavor Flav (back when he was sane, or at least, ehhh, quasi-coherent) egging him on in the background.

    The beat is like a mixture of alarm sirens and doors getting punched in.

    A snippet of the lyrics:

    "But look around
    Hear go the sound of a wreckin' ball
    BOOM and pound
    When I shut 'em down"

    And then the call-and-response chorus between Chuck and Flav is all like

    "I shut 'em DOWN."

    "Shut 'em down! I shut 'em shut 'em down!"

    "I shut 'em DOWN."

    "Shut 'em down! I shut 'em shut 'em down!"

    I mean, how can you not be pumped? I got pumped just typing that out. How this isn't one of the frequently used entrance songs, I'll never understand.

    Props to Quarry for snapping it up. But nonetheless, there's an opportunity out there for somebody, assuming Quarry doesn't reclaim it. Calling all old-school hip-hop fans in the fighter population...

1. Tom Lawlor—"Real American" by Rick Derringer

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    Last used at: UFC 105

    I can just hear the hardcore fans now.

    "How can you put a pro wrestling homage atop a list of MMA songs?!?!?!"

    "No way should this top 'Lunatic Fringe' or 'Country Boy'!"

    "Where is Fedor Emelianenko's song? He once wrote a Siberian polka using only his skin flute and the skulls of his vanquished enemies!"

    I stand by this selection, though. And I do so for three reasons.

    First, sports is supposed to be fun. Attending and watching sporting events is supposed to be a fun thing. I know...seems weird, right? But it's true. And this entrance song is about as fun as you can get.

    Second, Hulk Hogan's theme song was the first theme song in the history of theme songs. Maybe not technically, but it definitely took entrance music to a new and higher stratum.

    You simply cannot go wrong with an original. And yes, I realize it's a different sport—and not really a sport at all, if you want to get technical—but I applaud, not deride, Lawlor's decision to use this song in an MMA context. Lawlor has a well-earned reputation for hilarity, and I, for one, hope to never see that get beaten out of him.

    Third, and most importantly, the crowd went absolutely bananas when they heard this song. They lost their minds. Maybe Aaron Simpson's mother was still behind Simpson after this, but that's a definite maybe. He won over every fan in the building before throwing a single blow.

    If you don't think that's a big advantage in a fight, then you're crazy. (By the way, I do realize he lost the fight, but that doesn't mean having the crowd behind him didn't provide some advantage.)

    Scott Harris is a columnist and slideshow writer with Bleacher Report MMA. For additional entrance-song commentary and other hard-hitting MMA news, follow him on Twitter @ScottHarrisMMA