Is it a stereotype if it's true?
The truth is a lot of fighters have a shaved head, tattoos, and a hairy eyeball. Take perhaps the most beloved figure in the sport, Wanderlei Silva.
However, if looks could kill, Kimbo Slice would be the openweight champion of the Universe. In MMA, things are a little more complex.
Below are twelve awesome fighters, who don't necessarily look it.
#12. Kazushi Sakuraba
Debatably the greatest fighter of all time. Scary looking only in an "OK why did that man draw eyes on his chest" way.
#11. Chris Horodecki
Looks like he is finally ready for a paper route.
#10. Mike Russow
After Russow crushed Todd Dufee at UFC 114, UFC President Dana White explained the phenomenon. “You’ve seen so many boxing events where you see this young, ripped-up guy who’s the next up-and-coming guy fighting some big flabby dude, and (fans are) like, ‘This is a setup. This guy’s supposed to win,’” said White. “But you can’t do that with MMA.”
In a sport where it is exceedingly hard to win, Russow is on an 11-fight win streak. And as he says, “I have a belly, I’m fat and some people see that, but I’m always in good shape.”
#9. Masakazu Imanari
Rousimar Plahares has the reputation and looks every bit the part of a guy who would literally rip you limb from limb, but Imanari has broken more legs.
Why? “Because it hurts the opponent," Imanari explains frankly.
#8. Joe Lauzon
Lauzon graduated with a degree in computer science major from the Wentworth Institute of Technology, and went to work as a network administrator at Charles River Analytics. Since then he has had twelve fights in the UFC, earning an 'of the Night' bonus in over half.
#7. BJ Penn
"We get fat, then we train and get skinny and the cycle goes over and over again," explains Penn, who holds wins over an entire Marvel Comic of ripped fighters including Sean Sherk, Matt Hughes, and Diego Sanchez.
#6. Roy Nelson
#5. Kenny Florian
Florian posseses an uncanny Ben Stiller impression, Hellbows, and the nearly unimaginable heart and skill to fight at 185, 170, 155, and 145, including three title shots.
#4. Jeremy Horn
In Enter the Dragon, the Jim Kelly character sneers at the bad guy with the line "Man, you come right out of a comic book." Jeremy Horn does not look like he came right out of a comic book.
But MMA is real and Horn has had probably over 150 fights, with wins over Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, and Chael Sonnen (three times). He has gone the distance with the likes of Anderson Silva, Big Nog, and Randy Couture.
Horn probably knows more about MMA than any man alive. He just doesn't fit the stereotype.
#3. Royce Gracie
The sport of Mixed Martial Arts was born from the performance of one man - Royce Gracie. And he was chosen by his brother Rorion, who co-founded the UFC, exactly because, unlike his older brother Rickson, nothing about Royce but his stare appeared menacing. If this skinny guy could beat anyone in the world, people would instantly grasp the value of 'Gracie' Jiu-Jitsu.
And we all did.
#2. Shinya Aoki
Looks like he asking to be fed.
#1. Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor was at once, a little chubby, a little small, and perhaps the greatest fighter in the sport's history.
When not fighting, only his eyes are frightening. When fighting, everything was.
Honorable mentions: Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Kazushi Sakuraba.
Who would you add to the list?
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