Scroobius Pip is a UK rapper, spoken word poet and founder of Speech Development Records. He sat down with MMA journalist Ralph Welch to analyse the UFC Fight Night Stockholm fighters walkout music.
Who hasn’t watched a UFC event and wondered what walkout song you’d choose to accompany you to the Octagon?
After many discussions, I decided I would choose opponent-specific songs.
Finally got that big title shot against Jon Jones? March out as Marvin Gaye bellows “Meeee aaaand Mrs Jones,” then watch his reaction.
The walkout song really sets the mood, from Ronda Rousey sending the arena into a spin with Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” to Mirko Cro Cop managing to remain intimidating whilst striding out to “The Wild Boys” by Duran Duran.
Let’s look at the walkout songs for UFC Fight Night Stockholm:
Ilir Latifi: “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti
Anyone who chooses the Rocky theme tune, is making a bold choice.
But it makes perfect sense for Ilir. He IS the Swedish Rocky story. He made his UFC debut as a last-minute replacement against Gegard Mousasi. He lost that fight, but has since gone on to establish himself as an unexpected 205lb contender.
This song is exactly what Latifi and, equally importantly, the crowd need to get fired up for this one.
Tor Troeng: “Friend and Traitors” by Raised Fist
Ah, the semi-obscure punk/hardcore/metal walkout.
This used to be far more popular a few years ago. Now it seems rap is the go-to genre.
Yet there was a time when the walkout shirts wouldn’t look out of place on a Slayer merch stand and the music would do half the job of the cornermen charged with warming up their fighter.
Tor has a VERY calm demeanour so I’ll be interested to see if this music changes things. Will we get a Gunnar Nelson-esque icy stare or a Clay Guida scream-a-long?
I vote for the latter.
Niklas Backstrom: “Crossroads” by Tracy Chapman
The passive walkout song is a tough one to pull off. I remember when Jeff Monson fought Fedor and walked out to “Imagine” by John Lennon. Jeeeeez. It was like a funeral precession.
Thankfully we are dealing here with someone that I feel can get it done.
Niklas Backstrom has built a big fanbase thanks to his innocently eccentric manner, backed up by his undeniable fighting ability. His debut win at UFC Berlin in May prompted some of the greatest celebratory dancing the Octagon has ever seen.
So expect some snake-like shoulder movement to accompany this walkout. In fact, I think we need to petition now to get Niklas some victory music in the cage if he wins.
Nico Musoke: “Botkyrka Stylee” by The Latin Kings
Finally some rap music!
The Latin Kings were one of the first to release a hip hop record with lyrics in Swedish. So there will be plenty of local pride when this one drops. And, although I bemoaned it as an easy choice earlier, rap music really is the most direct way to look like a badass when walking to the Octagon.
Wanna make people know a scene in your TV show is meant to be sad? Play Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” over the top. Wanna look like you’re ready to bust heads in the Octagon? Walk out rapping along to some aggressive hip hop.
Good choice, Nico.
Magnus Cedeblad: “Highway Man” by Hoffmaestro and Chraa
Now this is an interesting one.
Magnus has opted for local Swedish band Hoffmaestro and Chraa, who are a blend of ska, dub, electro and pop. Not many people outside of the arena are likely to be too familiar with them so this may seem quite odd to the viewers at home.
If you're Donald Cerone or Johnny Hendricks then it makes perfect sense to meander out to some country or blues. But if you aren't, then it may be a tougher one to pull off.
Akira Corassani: “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine
I’m surprised that more people don’t choose Rage Against the Machine.
Maybe it was just my upbringing, but few things fire me up more than a Tom Morello riff and a Zack de la Rocha vocal.
And there are few better choices than this. Opening with the chant of “No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop us now,” it kicks in hard about half way to the Octagon.
I just pray that whoever is doing the cage-side checks lip syncs the “Poppin', sockin', rockin’” line just for that extra touch.
UFC Fight Night Stockholm: Nelson vs. Story is live on UFC FIGHT PASS this Saturday night. Start your FREE trial and watch the whole event.