7 Best MMA Personalities of All Time
Plenty of legendary mixed martial artists made their names primarily based on their handiwork inside the cage or ring. Others tried to develop their fanbases through amusing and sometimes polarizing antics outside of the realm of competition.
These breeds, however, discovered a way to become proficient mixed martial artists and entertaining showmen.
Here are the seven best MMA personalities of all time.
Honorable Mentions: Conor McGregor and Jason "Mayhem" Miller
At this point in their careers, Conor McGregor and Jason "Mayhem" Miller share little in common. But in regard to how they became popular, they certainly took similar routes.
Both McGregor and Miller backed up bold words with skill, passion and aggression in the cage, and as a result, both men built gargantuan followings at relatively young ages.
McGregor has given his best Chael Sonnen impersonations and called out several world-ranked featherweights. As for Mayhem, before his legal troubles he became insanely popular through hosting the MTV series Bully Beatdown between 2009 and 2012.
7. Quinton Jackson
Fans globally marveled at the larger-than-life persona that Quinton "Rampage" Jackson spawned during his early years with PRIDE FC in Japan.
Since then, he hasn't really changed much in terms of his personality or his fighting style, and that's probably why he has such a massive following.
Rampage still enjoys cracking jokes, attempting to rub up on reporters and getting extraordinarily personal with his opponents. Those capers make him despised and beloved by fans worldwide.
6. Nick and Nate Diaz
It may not seem fair, but because of their uncanny similarities, the Diaz brothers, Nick and Nate, belong in together on this list.
Like Rampage, the two Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu disciples have taken unconventional routes in becoming two of the most polarizing figures in the sport.
Hate or like their vulgarity, honesty and boldness, though, people can't deny that the Diaz boys always rouse the interest of fans when their names enter a conversation.
Fans can depend on an honest response any time Nick or Nate is asked a question, and when it comes to believing in themselves, the Diaz brothers never stop, even in the face of certain defeat.
5. Joe Rogan
It doesn't take much figuring out to realize why most MMA fans adore longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
A credible commentator who's usually accurate and always honest, he has become an integral ambassador for the sport who constantly promotes MMA, even when he's not working for the UFC.
Some fans may only get exposed to Rogan's brilliant mind during UFC broadcasts. However, tune into any episode of his renowned podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, and you will find that many of the wildly entertaining conversations on the show revolve around MMA.
And it's easy for most MMA fans to trust the many beliefs of Rogan. After all, the renowned comedian holds black belts in Taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.
4. Genki Sudo
Considering the fact that he retired roughly 7.5 years ago, many modern-day MMA fans have never witnessed the utter spectacle that was a Genki Sudo fight.
Sudo, known for his showmanship and extravagant ring entrances that often included skillful robot dances, always used playful antics in the cage that would eventually turn violent.
He hypnotized fans with his ability to use slick and highly unorthodox setups to execute traditional and functional techniques.
A skilled kickboxer and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, "Neo-Samurai" offered equal amounts of personality and fighting talent to the loyal fanbase he built between 1998 and 2006.
Sudo has so much personality, in fact, that three years after retiring from MMA he formed the Japanese techno band World Order, which have helped to immortalize Sudo's robotic dance maneuvers.
3. Don Frye
A genuine pioneer of MMA who like Sudo has long since retired from competition, fans will remember Don Frye for his no-nonsense attitude and his propensity to both take and deliver a ferocious beating.
The former NCAA Division I wrestler fought recklessly nearly every time he graced a cage or ring. In his enthralling 16-year career that finally ended in 2011, "The Predator" won 20 fights and lost nine.
Thanks to a hysterical set of videos that Frye calls The Predator's Predictions, the character of the 48-year-old wiseguy still remains relevant in the scope of MMA.
2. Bas Rutten
When injuries forced Bas Rutten out of MMA prematurely in 1999, it seemed only fitting that the witty and humorous former UFC heavyweight champ would stay in front of a camera.
Since then, he has succeeded in many ventures outside the ring, including acting, coaching and commentating, among other endeavors.
"El Guapo" put his one-of-a-kind personality on display when he released Lethal Street Fighting Self Defense System in 2004. This hysterical yet informative video shows Rutten in his element and delivering his unique form of combat comedy.
He landed a stable gig as co-host alongside Kenny Rice on AXS TV's Inside MMA. He has shined in that role as a hilarious yet highly respected analyst since 2007.
In 2012 he finally got a significant break in his movie career, scoring a major role in the sports comedy Here Comes the Boom.
1. Chael Sonnen
He may never own a UFC belt, or any belt for that matter, but three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen makes a prime Muhammad Ali seem like an amateur trash-talker.
Whether fans love or hate him, Sonnen has liberally offered unfiltered and unadulterated insight on a wide spectrum of issues since his informal coming-out party in 2009. Truth be told, the 36-year-old Oregonian doesn't mind critics; he just wants to remain relevant.
"The American Gangster" apparently learned that being silent and essentially obscure in the first 12 years of his career wasn't a winning remedy. And with his shift in personality, he has seemingly gotten what he yearned for, utilizing his linguistic prowess to become one of the most talked-about athletes in MMA.
Even though he now needs around-the-clock security during trips to Brazil [primarily due to his feuds with Anderson Silva], Sonnen, who sports a UFC record of 9-8, has parlayed his brash persona and above-average fighting chops into super stardom.
Boxing legend Mike Tyson put it bluntly when asked by Fuel TV's Ariel Helwani whether he thought Ali or Sonnen was the better trash-talker.
"Oh, Chael Sonnen. Chael. Chael talks too much. Because I think Chael believes what he says. Chael. Chael hands down. Nobody talks more s*** than Chael."
But because he's provocative, humorous and rarely willing to break character, Sonnen has separated himself from his peers on this list.
He's got personality galore and he can't hide it. It's just a shame for fans, and for The American Gangster's wallet, that the Sonnen we know today didn't emerge sooner.
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