Jordan Newmark, UFC - Mixed Martial Arts
is a sport of mutual respect between competitors, and training and
fighting in MMA is like joining an international brotherhood of fellow
fighters. That closeness explains the preponderance of actual real-life brothers who work, train and fight together in the UFC and its brother organization, the WEC.
On January 2, for the first time ever in the UFC, two brothers will appear on the same fight card -- Joe and Dan Lauzon.
By Jordan Newmark
Mixed Martial Arts is a sport of mutual respect between competitiors,
and training and fighting in MMA is like joining an international
brotherhood of fellow fighters. That closeness explains the
preponderance of actual real-life brothers who work, train and fight together in the UFC and its brother organization, the WEC.
On January 2, for the first time ever in the UFC, two brothers
will appear on the same fight card -- Joe and Dan Lauzon. And two other
men on the lineup -- Cole Miller and Jim Miller -- have siblings who've
also laced up the gloves in the WEC and UFC, respectively. Here, meet
some of the active fraternal pairs who've gone from sharing Flintstone
vitamins and bunk beds to clinch techniques and takedown defenses.
Joe and Dan Lauzon
Hailing from Bridgewater, Mass, the Lauzon brothers will both be fighting on the UFC 108
card. Joe, 25, has been a fan favorite in the UFC due to his
lightning-quick knockout of Jens Pulver in 2006 and earning a semi-final
berth on The Ultimate Fighter 5. Joe will try to continue his trek
towards a lightweight title shot by taking on the heavy-handed Sam
Stout. Meanwhile, Dan, 21, is riding high on an eight-fight win streak
and will be beginning his second UFC stint against Cole Miller. Dan -
who was the youngest UFC fighter ever when he took on Spencer Fisher in
2006 at the age of 18 - has big plans for himself in the UFC to move out
of older brother Joe’s shadow, hence his nickname and his collar line
tattoo, which reads “The Upgrade”.
Dan and Jim Miller
hermanos Lauzon aren't the only men who'll appear Saturday night as
part of a family business. Dan, 28, and Jim, 26, are the pride of
Sparta, NJ. The brothers
train together with the AMA Fight Club in nearby Whippany, NJ. Rising
stars in their respective weight classes, each have very tough
challenges awaiting them in 2010. Jim -- who's slated to take on Tyson Griffin Sean Sherk Duane Ludwig at UFC 108
-- has a 15-2 record that includes a victory over TUF 6 champ Mac
Danzig. Dan fights at middleweight and has earned himself an 11-2, 1 NC
record with a looming bout against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Demian Maia
at UFC 109.
Cole and Micah Miller
Same card (UFC 108). Same last name (Miller). Different brothers
(Cole, 25, and Micah, 22). These Millers train at the highly acclaimed
American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. Cole may best be known for
silencing loudmouth Junie Browning in April
of 2009 with a tight guillotine choke in under two minutes. Cole also
fought on Jens Pulver’s team on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter
and he returns to action Saturday night against Dan Lauzon. Micah is a
veteran of the WEC.
Raphael, Junior and Freddy Assuncao
The Assuncao brothers
are black belts from Recife, Brazil. Raphael, 27, has a near perfect
14-1 record in MMA, suffering his only loss via a close decision against
Jeff Curran. Raphael has fought some stiff competition in the WEC with
his toughest match coming up January 10th against former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber.
Older brother Junior, 28, also fights professionally, with three of his
fights coming in the UFC; both of them are black belts in BJJ. Freddy,
Raphael's fraternal twin, has a black belt in capoeria and has begun
training in BJJ with his brothers in preparation for a pro career. The brothers recently opened their own gym, Ascension Mixed Martial Arts, in Atlanta, Georgia, where Junior is the head instructor.
Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Brothers? How about identical twins?! The 33 year old Nogueira brothers
spent the majority of their careers as highly celebrated fighters in
Japan’s PRIDE organization. Antonio Rodrigo (aka Minotauro aka Big Nog
-- that's him to the near left) was the first one to hit the UFC and
made an immediate splash. He submitted Tim Sylvia to become the Interim
heavyweight champion in 2008 and became one-half of a “Fight of the
Year” candidate against UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture last August. Not
to be outdone, Antonio Rogerio (aka Minotouro aka Lil Nog) made his
light heavyweight UFC debut with a devastating knockout victory over
fellow Brazilian striker Luiz Cane in 2009.
Nate and Nick Diaz
The young men to the left aren't twins, though they do bear a striking (heh) resemblance. The Diaz brothers
of Stockton, California. Nick, 26, and Nate, 24, simply love to fight,
even against one another, with or without sais (search youtube). The
quick-tempered twosome train under Cesar Gracie and regularly corner
each other’s fights. Younger brother Nate (on the far left) has gone 4-2
against great competition in the UFC since winning season 5 of The
Ultimate Fighter and will face Gray Maynard in the main event of January 11th’s UFC Fight Night event. Nick is a UFC vet who went 6-4 in the organization from 2003 to 2006.
Kenny and Keith Florian
UFC 107, top lightweight contender Kenny Florian got back to his
winning ways with a second round victory over Clay Guida. “KenFlo”, 33,
slapped on a fight ending rear naked choke which marked his seventh
submission victory in the Octagon. Cheering on Kenny as he sunk the
choke in was his cornerman, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach and younger
brother, Keith Florian. The Florian brothers operate and teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as black belts at Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Lyoto and Chinzo Machida
UFC’s current light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is a
family act. Seriously. The native Brazilian Lyoto, 31, is trained and
cornered not only by his Shotokan Karate black belt older brother,
Chinzo, but also his 63-year-old Shotokan Karate master father, Yoshizo.
Lyoto’s speed, pinpoint accurate strikes and “elusive” style can be
credited to the training of his father and brother. Chinzo is one of the
best Shotokan Karate fighters in the world, but spends most of his time
helping his younger brother with his undefeated MMA career. Lyoto won
the UFC’s 205-pound belt with the highlight reel knockout of Rashad
Evans in May 2009. Welcome to the “Machida Era” indeed.
Mauricio and Murilo Rua
The Rua brothers from Curitiba, Brazil are probably the most brutal brothers
in the bunch. Murilo, 29, and Mauricio, 28, began their MMA careers
training in the ultra aggressive Muay Thai style of the Chute Boxe camp
before garnering international success in Japan’s PRIDE organization.
Murilo “Ninja” has a tough journeyman’s record of 18-10-1 with some
fights against opponents two weight classes above him. Mauricio “Shogun”
was a nearly unstoppable force in PRIDE, where he won the 2005 PRIDE
Middleweight Grand Prix. Recently, “Shogun” lost a very controversial
decision to Lyoto Machida for the light heavyweight belt. The two still
train and corner each other.
Matt and Mark Hughes
Again? The 36 year old Hughes men from Hillsboro, Illinois are
identical twins... except when Mark grows his hair out. The grappling
teammates in high school and lifelong punch-buddies under the Christmas tree
began their MMA training together under the tutelage of UFC veteran Pat
Miletich in the 90s. Mark went 6-2 in MMA and 1-0 in the UFC before he
decided to take on the family farm. Meanwhile, Matt went on to become
the most prolific welterweight champion in UFC history with a career of
16 wins and 5 losses inside the Octagon. Mark and Matt still train
together in Illinois at the H.I.T. Squad gym. Mark also regularly
corners Matt at his fights.
BJ and JD Penn
The flying Hawaiian Penn brothers began training together in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1996. By far the most famous of the brothers
is 31 year old Baby Jay, BJ Penn, who is the current UFC lightweight
champion. Although BJ is the only brother to fight in the UFC, JD
(shown) is BJ's manager, and older brother Jay is also a black belt. Sib
Reagan runs Penn's website, appeared on season 5 of The Ultimate
Fighter as Team Penn’s BJJ coach and is something of a prodigy himself,
winning the blue belt division of the World Championships in Brazil
after only two months of training. Most recently, “The Prodigy” followed
up his one-sided beating of Kenny Florian at UFC 101 with another
one-sided beating of Diego Sanchez. The brothers all train and run a Martial Arts gym in Hilo, Hawaii.
Matt and Nick Serra
Serra’s name will forever be remembered in UFC history for his shocking
first round upset victory over Georges “Rush” St-Pierre to win the
welterweight belt in 2007, a title shot made possible by him winning the
fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter. The 35-year old “Terror” then
went on to coach the sixth season of the reality show against rival Matt
Hughes. The Long Islander’s younger brother, Nick (31), fought Benji
Radach in his lone UFC fight in 2002, and the Serra brothers
were the first (Matt) and second (Nick) Americans to earn Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu black belts under Renzo Gracie. Currently, they train and
operate together two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools in Long Island, NY.
Rich and Greg Franklin
of the most popular fighters in UFC history is Rich Franklin. “Ace” is
the former UFC middleweight champion and was a head coach against Matt
Hughes on season two of The Ultimate Fighter. Rich is a perennial
contender with an excellent 12-4 record in the UFC. Rich’s brother,
Greg, has also spent time in the Octagon, but as a referee. Greg
Franklin has fought MMA professionally, but nowadays earns his money
officiating in the cage. Recently, Greg could be seen pulling TJ Grant
off of Kevin Burns in the first round of their bout at UFC 107.
Clay and Jason Guida
know Clay Guida as the never-relenting cardio machine of the UFC’s
lightweight division. Most know his older brother Jason as the big guy
who slaps Clay repeatedly across his face before entering the cage.
Clay, 28, has a grinding wrestling style and a record of 25-8, with
notable victories over Nate Diaz, Mac Danzig and Marcus Aurelio. Jason,
32, a six year vet with over 40 fights to his name, is probably best
remembered by UFC fans for his brief stint on the eighth season of The
Erik and Keoni Koch
“New Breed” Koch is 21 and from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An undefeated
record and five submission victories earned him a debut fight in the WEC
against the tough Jameel Massouh, who he decisioned on December 19th.
Erik trains with brother Keoni, who's won in local pro shows -- all by
submission. Erik says that training with his brother is key to his
developing career. “He pushes me the hardest because he is my brother
and wants to see me succeed more than anyone.”