When you’re limited to nothing but shorts and a mouthguard, it can be
hard to express your personal style – but not for these fighters, who
let their follicular flags fly inside the Octagon. Here, our tribute to
the best hair in the UFC.
Dan Hardy's Punk Rock 'Hawk
The Mohawk has been popular at various points over time. The preserved body of one ancient warrior discovered in an Irish bog sported an early version of the hairstyle. It was commonly sported by warring members of the Native American Mohican tribe in upstate New York, after whom it was named. In the late 1970s, punk burst onto the British music scene, reinterpreting the warrior’s hairstyle for their own brand of shock.
You’ll see the style again on Saturday night when Dan Hardy takes on Anthony Johnson in the UFC Fight Night Live co-main event. In MMA culture, Hardy's mohawk isn’t the first, but it's certainly the loudest. The mohawk is, in many ways, a physical extension of Hardy’s own in-your-face braggadocio – need proof? Check out Hardy’s pre-fight interview, in which he giggles that his friend Anthony Johnson got “fat” between fights.
"I listen to a lot of punk and haircuts don't get much more punk rock than a mohawk," said Hardy. "When it's fight time," says Hardy, "I get the red dye put in. It's like a ritual before I leave for battle."
Hardy faces Anthony Johnson this Saturday, March 26th, live on Spike.
Miguel Torres’s Upgrade
He calls it an upgrade. He calls it an East Chicago waterfall. Fans stand in line at UFC Fan Expo to get one from the man himself.
Part of what made Miguel Angel Torres an icon in the WEC (where he dominated at bantamweight) and now the UFC is his ferocious fighting style. The other part screams business in the front, party in the back. “Rocking a mullet is like feeling the effects after taking a shot of tequila, but all the time,” tweeted Torres. http://twitter.com/migueltorresmma
Other tweets of wisdom about his hairdo?
• I support the awareness of mulletry everywhere I go, making changes in the world one life at a time.
• My mullet is so sharp, I had to get a permit just to walk around in public.
• I don't trust anyone these days, not even myself. I am just a monster in brown skin and a sweet ass mullet.
• I'm like damn that guy in the mirror has an awesome Zeus like mullet.
Although Torres has evolved as a fighter in recent years, taking on new coaches, moving for training camps and developing new skills, he’s still self-trained in one area: He does his own upgrades. Tweeteth the Torres: “Real men cut their own hair cause they don't have time to go to the barber shop.
Chris Leben's Rainbow Connection
With his painted fingernails, wild behavior in The Ultimate Fighter house, and an aggressively unorthodox fighting style, Chris Leben doesn’t need much help distinguishing himself from the other fighters. Still, while he swings for the fences in the cage, he sees no reason to take chances when it comes to marketing his look.
Leben's ever-changing pastiche serve as the perfect metaphor for his style in and out of the ring. Whether he's executing a double-handed open palm slap to the ears of Yoshihiro Akiyama or dying his hair fire engine red, opponents are never quite sure what they're going to see when they step into the Octagon with him.
"I started doing my hair probably about my third fight," Leben told UFC.com. "I think I've seen one fighter have his hair like that. I thought it was a great idea so people would notice me."
There may be one other fighter with that hairstyle, but there’s certainly no one like Leben.
Georges St-Pierre's Dome of Dominance
Why’s a bald guy on a list of best hairstyles? Georges St-Pierre may lack hair, but he is nothing if not style.
Bald looks odd on some guys: indentations, pointed noggins, scars, moles, and other blemishes make a Bic job a risky proposition. But GSP’s buzzed cranium is just like his fight game - clean, well-rounded, and polished to perfection.
It’s his skill and his look that have made GSP what he is today: the UFC Welterweight Champion, a fan favorite, a fitness-empire founder, a Men’s Health cover model. And Rush doesn’t even need hair to do it.
Chuck Liddell's Icehawk
Rock and roll had Chuck Berry. Electricity had Thomas Edison. The United States had the Founding Fathers.
When it comes to fighter hair, the pioneer is former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell. His mohawk is one by which all other hair in MMA is judged. It is, in fact, the prototype for style.
Chuck was the first of many to rock hairstyle that would look ridiculous in public, but works perfectly inside the Octagon. And now that now that Chuck's retired as an active fighter and gainfully employed as the UFC’s Executive Vice-President of Business Development, the mohawk, remains. Because who's going to tell him he can't have a mohawk? Nobody, that's who. You try negotiating with a guy with a Mohawk.
Fans wouldn't have it any other way.
Urijah Faber's Blond Ambition
Of all the acquisitions that came from the WEC merger, perhaps the most anticipated was that of former featherweight champ Urijah Faber and his golden tresses.
Out of the cage, Faber sports flowing locks that rival those of the mythical Samson and bring to mind the fine follicles of the famous professional wrestling family the Von Erichs. But when it's go time, Faber rocks cornrows like no other.
"Braiding my hair was a way to keep my hair long and get it out of my face," Faber told UFC.com. He debuted the look against Jens Pulver in their first encounter before a raucous hometown crowd. "It was the first time I came out to 'California Love' by Tupac, so I just thought it would be a nice fit."
Faber dismisses any notion that any of it is an intentional ploy to intimidate his opponents."I'm not a big maintenance guy,” he said.
The cornrows returned last weekend at UFC 128, where made his UFC debut and conquered Eddie Wineland, furthering his ascent in the 135-pound division. With Justin Bieber's recent chop job, forget about Bieber – the world’s falling ill with Faber Fever.
Clay Guida's Captain Caveman
Fans love Clay Guida’s energetic fighting style – his bob-and-weave(-and-tumble-and-repeat) moves are highlighted by his flailing mop of loose locks.
His creativity started at a young age: "Clay used to change hair styles so often as he was growing up," Clay's mother, Debbie, told UFC.com. “I was doing some work in the kitchen and looked onto the patio and there Jason had Clay's head lathered up with shaving cream and was shaving his head with a straight razor! I was afraid to scream because I didn't want Clay's head to get cut open."
Obviously, the hair grew back and then some.
"Then there were the four lines the boys used to shave into the sides of their heads," Momma Guida added. "So many great memories."
The good memories are still being made, as Guida's hair defies gravity and physics during his notoriously kinetic matches. Next up: A headlining bout against Anthony Pettis at the TUF 13 Finale on June 4.
Roy Nelson's Country Mullet
Roy Nelson, and Roy Nelson’s mullet, for that matter, are unique creature.s Whereas other mullets draw attention to themselves with their irony, Roy's is a natural fit for the man they call "Big Country."
"My hair and the Octagon is like me and my patented belly rub," Nelson told UFC.com. "They go hand and hand. My hair started as a joke in The Ultimate Fighter house, but then I embraced it."
Many view the mullet and the belly and overlook the talent, striking aptitude, and training behind Big Country's fight game. As a result, more than one opponent has underestimated Nelson and paid the price for it. "I am a man that surprises everyone," he said.
Nelson’s hair is as versatile as his fighting style: Short and slicked, its curves echo the dangerous muscles hidden under his ample belly; wild and curly, it moves from all angles, telegraphing the seemingly-impossible punches he throws.
Nelson's hoping that his mullet can make him as much money as his fists, truly putting the business angle into “business in front.” "I'm always looking for the big endorsements, like Troy Polamalu for Head and Shoulders,” he said.
Big Country, big dreams.
Amir Sadollah's Euromullet
Amir first rose to fame when he won season 7 of TUF with a combination of muay thai, Forrestian wit and a shapeshifting hairstyle. As he – and his locks – prepare to fight DaMarques Johnson this Saturday in Seattle, we asked him to give us some insight into his updo:
"When I first heard that you were writing about the greatest hair in the UFC, I immediately thought of one thing: The garden hose I left on in the front lawn,” he said.
“Then I thought about my former euro mullet, in all its Eurotrash retro glory. Not quite a mohawk, not quite a mullet, and three speed lines on the side. It was an actual fact that I had become the coolest, best looking guy... ever really... when I first got it.
“It communicated to my opponents, ‘Try not to hit me too much in and about the head region, I have taste and stature, and possibly money to throw a sweet rave.’ I owe most, if not all of my early successes to that 'do.
“Then I remembered that hose again, and went outside and turned it off."