How Do UFC Fighters Get Their Nicknames?


It’s hard to imagine MMA fighters without their nicknames, but most of them were given the moniker long before they stepped into the octagon.

In fact, many of them have been fighting with those names for years. Learn about how these UFC personalities got their nicknames and whether or not they actually like them.

How are UFC nicknames chosen?

Nicknames are a big part of the UFC experience. Just like with in-game avatars or street names, fighters who have earned their names through years of dedication and hard work deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments. So, how do UFC Fighters get their nicknames? Fighters get their nickname based on their style of fighting, the way they look, or even where they come from. It can be for self-given,  performance-based, or promotional purposes.

  • A coach can give a fighter his or her nickname.
  • A friend or family member might also come up with one for them (or an opponent).
  • The media can dub the fighter with a new name when they do something impressive in the ring—like knock out an opponent or win a title belt!
  • Fans will often give nicknames as well…but unlike the other options on this list, these tend to be less serious than those above because they’re not officially adopted by anyone else.

Fighters have the ultimate say

The fighters get to choose their nicknames and they do so with a variety of factors in mind, something that is meaningful to them, or something funny or quirky. You can also find some fighters who name themselves after their hometowns (Hispanic backgrounds). There are plenty of other reasons why some people pick a nickname for themselves, including:

  • A play on their name
  • Descriptive
  • A pun or joke

Not all nicknames are created equal

Nicknames are a big part of UFC culture. In fact, many fighters will go on to change their legal names to reflect their nickname, as it becomes a part of who they are as an athlete and person. But not all nicknames have the same meaning or come from the same place. Some nicknames are just random words that sound cool and others have deep connections to the fighter’s life story or family history.

Some fighters prefer their real name over a nickname

If a fighter has a nickname for their first name, they might have one for their middle name as well. The same goes for last names: some fighters have nicknames for both their first and last names. For example, UFC Champion Amanda Nunes has “The Lioness” as her moniker and she’s known by that name more often than not. She also goes by her real-given name of Amanda Lourenço Vieira de Souza Nascimento in Brazil where she was born. If you know of any other examples like this one or if you’re curious about how to get your own nickname, please let us know in the comments section!

Fighting is a very up close and personal sport.

In MMA, a fighter’s nickname is an essential part of their identity. A fighter’s nickname can be earned by winning fights or given to them by the media and fans (just as in boxing). Either way, nicknames are often used by fighters to market themselves, promote their next fight, or selling merchandise.

Do fighters pick their nicknames?

When it comes to nicknames in MMA, there are lots of different ways they can get their monikers. Some fighters choose their own nicknames, some are given by fans, and some by coaches or friends. It all depends on who you ask!

Most Common MMA Fighter Nicknames

In MMA, the most common nicknames are those that are based on the fighter’s last name. These nicknames often come in a shortened version of their last name. For example, Anderson Silva can be called “Anderson” or “Silva” depending on who is giving it to him or who he decides he wants to be known as. Similarly, Jon Jones has also been called “Jon” by some fans and commentators because they feel like this nickname best represents his personality and character traits as an athlete and person overall. Other fighters have received nicknames based on their fighting styles and tactics inside the ring so here’s a list of some of these types:

  • Killer (for fighters who are especially aggressive)
  • Storm (for fighters with strong leg kicks)
  • Dirty Bird (to describe someone who plays dirty during fights)

Best UFC Nicknames

RankingFighter’s nameNicknames
1Chan Sung JungThe Korean Zombie
2Wanderlei SilvaThe Axe Murderer
3Carlos ConditThe Natural Born Killer
4Jackson QuintonRampage
5Liddell ChuckThe Iceman
6Rua MaurícioShogun
7McCall IanUncle Creepy
8Souza RonaldoJacaré
9Fedor EmelianenkoThe Last Emperor
10Filipović MirkoCro Cop

Do UFC Fighters like their Nicknames?

Some UFC fighters have very generic, boring nicknames that don’t really have anything to do with fighting. Other names are more creative and catchy and sometimes they’ve even related to fighting but not always. Some fighters have names that are related to their personality or how they fight or act in the Octagon.

There’s a UFC Hall of Fame for nicknames

The UFC Hall of Fame for Nicknames is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Hall of Fame includes a total of 19 fighters from various promotions. The requirements to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame for Nicknames are as follows:

  • The fighter must have been retired for at least five years.
  • The fighter’s nickname must be at least three words long.
  • If the fighter has only one nickname, it must have been used by him/her for a minimum of 10 years.

How did Michael Bisping get his nickname?

Michael Bisping’s nickname is “The Count.” It came from his time on the British version of The Ultimate Fighter. He was nicknamed “Count Dracula” for his habit of biting his opponents’ ears during fights. In addition to the nickname, he also has a signature move: the Bisping knee strike.

How did Chuck Liddell get his nickname?

One of the most recognizable nicknames in MMA is Iceman, which was given to Chuck Liddell by his fans and teammates for his calm demeanor and ability to keep his cool in the ring. In fact, you’ll often hear fighters mention Liddell when discussing their own mental state before a match. But how did Chuck get this nickname? Well, it all started back in 1997 at UFC 13: Ultimate Field Goal. At that event, Chuck was fighting against Kevin “The Monster” Randleman who was known for having a very aggressive style of fighting that left many opponents bruised and battered after fights with him. However, after five rounds of MMA action between these two men (with no judges needed), there were no signs of damage on any part of Chuck’s body—and he wasn’t even sweating!

How did Adesanya get his nickname?

Adesanya’s nickname, The Last Stylebender, is a reference to his friend’s hip hop group and their song “Stylebendaz.” A stylebender is someone who changes their style from time to time. Adesanya’s friend was inspired by the rapper Jay-Z and decided to name his group after him. When he saw Adesanya fight for the first time, he gave him the nickname because of his ability to change styles in each round.

How did Dustin Poirier get his nickname?

Poirier’s nickname is a shortened version of “The Diamond.” He got it from his first fight in the UFC when he wore a diamond-encrusted grill to the weigh-in and announced himself as “The Diamond.”


Most of the fighters we mentioned here are proud of their nicknames and will often refer to them as such. But sometimes, it can get to a point where they feel like their nickname doesn’t represent them anymore, or there’s another fighter with the same name.  However, this is not the case for all fighters. Some seem to have found a name that sticks and they’re happy to continue using it.

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