Amanda Nunes ‘The Lioness’

Amanda Nunes became the first female two-division champion in UFC history when she knocked out Cris Cyborg at UFC 232.  Nunes, the champion of both the 135 and 145 pound weight divisions is now regarded as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Women’s MMA athlete.

How did Nunes get her nickname ‘The Lioness’?

In an interview she explained that at the first gym she trained, the logo was a picture of two lions and being the only girl training at the gym at the time everyone started calling her ‘The Lioness’.

Dan Hooker ‘Hangman’

Dan Hooker is a New Zealand mixed martial artist, who got his nickname ‘Hangman’ because he likes to finish fights with submissions. The fighter was quoted saying “I love finishing the fight with chokes; give me half a chance to sink one in and I’ll jump on it.”

Hooker’s job prior to fighting was working as a doorman in Auckland.




Rory MacDonald ‘The Red King’

MMA fighter Rory MacDonald had a few nicknames that his fans used to called him, the most popular being ‘The Canadian Psycho’, ‘The Waterboy’, and ‘Ares’.  However, in late 2014 he announced his new nickname would be ‘The Red King’. The name Rory is an Anglicized form of the Irish Gaelic name Ruairí/Ruaidhrí which means “red king”.

MacDonald partnered with Everlast in early 2018 to launch his our personal brand, Red King (RK). In the following video he explained what Red King meant to him.

Michael Bisping ‘The Count’

Michael Bisping got his nickname ‘The Count’ because of his ancestry, and the fact that he is actually a Count in Poland. Bisping’s paternal grandfather Andrzej Józef Bobola Bisping was a Polish noble, and a military leader of the “Bishop Pings”, and hence the surname Bisping and “The Count” nickname.

Bisping’s MMA career has had many ups and downs, including being on the receiving end of one of the most infamous knockouts in mixed martial arts.

Despite losses against Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy, Chael Sonnen, strong-minded Bisping never gave up on his goals and had a resurgence which lead to him becoming the first British man to hold a UFC title when he defeated Luke Rockhold for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 199.

Junior dos Santos ‘Cigano’

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos explained that he got his nickname ‘Cigano (Portuguese for gypsy)’, because when he had long hair, he used to tie it back and his friends would say that he looked like a gypsy.

The Brazilian mixed martial artist used to hate the nickname, but this encouraged his friends to continue to call him Cigano and eventually the name stuck.

Junior dos Santos now embraces the bald hairstyle, but he will always be known by his fans as Cigano.

Did you know that Cigano learned English by watching The Simpsons cartoons?

Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović

Mirko Filipović’s nickname ‘Cro Cop’ is short for ‘Croatian Cop’, which comes from his membership in the elite Croatian police’s Anti-Terrorist Unit ATJ Lučko.

Filipović also served as a member of Croatian Parliament (2003-2007).

Filipović is most famous for his career and accomplishments in combat sports, and is only the second fighter in the world to win mixed martial arts and kickboxing championships and tournaments.

The biggest successes in the fighting career of Cro Cop include 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix Champion, 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and 2016 Rizin Openweight Grand Prix Champion.

Here is the footage of Cro Cop finishing Amir Aliakbari to become the 2016 Rizin Openweight Grand Prix Champion

Michelle Waterson ‘Karate Hottie’

Michelle Waterson started karate at the age of 10, and now holds a black belt in American Free Style Karate.

Waterson started modelling shortly after graduating high school, and was also a Hooters waitress.

Waterson was a ring girl and with encouragement from Donald Cerrone, made the transition to professional mixed martial artist (see video clip below).

Waterson having worked as a model and background in karate, made her nickname ‘Karate Hottie’ an obvious choice by fight promoters when she made her pro debut.

Waterson shows off her toned physique as one of the featured athletes in ESPN’s annual Body Issue magazine.


Rich Franklin ‘Ace’

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin’s nickname is ‘Ace’ because of his resemblance to actor Jim Carrey, who starred in the Ace Ventura movies.

Franklin explained that in the beginning when people would mistake him for Jim Carrey, it would annoy him, but then he saw the humour in it and embraced it, then the nickname stuck during his MMA career.

Franklin is a former high school mathematics teacher who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati. Franklin is also a great motivational speaker as seen in this Ted Talk


Franklin is going to be inducted into 2019 UFC Hall of Fame class