9 Origin Stories For Bellator Fighter Nicknames

What’s in a nickname? They say you can’t choose your own nickname - or can you?

Here are 9 of the most interesting Bellator fighter nicknames. Some are obvious, some are a little more obscure, some, you need the backstory!

  1. Javy “Eye Candy” Ayala What sounds like a humble brag has a funny origin story. When getting ready for a fight with his coach at the time, he was asked for his nickname. Ayala said that he didn’t have one, then his coach piped up and said “Yeah you do! It’s “Eye Candy” - You’re always saying you're the best-looking guy at the gym!”. “No, no, no, that’s not it!” he protested, but when he walked out for the fight, they introduced him as “Eye Candy”, and it stuck ever since.
  2. Ryan “Darth” Bader This one is easy, but one of our favourites nonetheless! Who would miss this reference to Star Wars’ biggest villain “Darth Vader”? The force must be strong in this one.
  3. Phil “Mr Wonderful” Davis Davis garnered the nickname “Mr Wonderful” after winning by a one-handed modified kimura submission in a fight against Tim Boetsch in 2010. It was dubbed ‘The Mr Wonderful’, winning ‘Submission of the Night’, along with $80,000!
  4. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher Connor McGregor can be blamed for Gallagher’s official nickname! After picking it up from an old gym where he used to train, it caught on with Dublin fighters after his second fight, and they began to call him by it. It was McGregor, however, that really made it stick after they met at a fight in Derry, Ireland. ‘Here comes trouble, here comes “The Strabanimal”’ they would say’ says Gallagher. Then that was it, everyone loved it, and it stuck.
  5. “Gentleman” Josh Hill Namesake or nickname? You could say Josh Hill’s nickname is somewhat of a family inheritance! His grandfather’s brother was a professional wrestler back in the days of World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). His most famous role was ‘Gentleman Jerry Valiant’, part of ‘The Valiant Brothers'. They fought against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and The Iron Sheik. My Uncle and my Dad were joking around one day and said, you should go by “Gentleman”!
  6. Cris “Cyborg” Justino Justino is probably better known by her nickname, than her given name! Originally a nickname belonging to her ex-husband, retired MMA Bellator Fighter Evangelista Santos, it has well and truly transferred ownership to the one and only Cris “Cyborg” Justino!
  7. Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef In Japan they call him “The Cannibal”, but it was his coach that dubbed him “No Mercy”. His trainer told him if he won a particular fight, he’d call him “Marvelous”, but he fought so relentlessly, that they called him “No Mercy”.
  8. Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi For a man who says he doesn't like nicknames, he has a lot! In Japan he was called “Kingo”, he’s been called “Young Vagabond”, “Strikeforce”, and “Soldier of Fortune”. Then his friend came up with “The Dream Catcher". Mousasi believes his fighting style cannot be named, therefore doesn’t like any nickname that he has been given.
  9. Emmanuel “El Matador” Sanchez His old coach Duke Rufus bestowed him with the nickname back in 2014, who wanted him to emulate early boxers like Jorge Liars, Oscar de la Hoya, and Canelo Alvarez. He would say ‘the bull is stronger, but the matador is smarter!’ He believes he lives up to his moniker.

Check out the list of male fighter nicknames here

Check out the list of female fighter nicknames here