As fight fans know, to have a long stint in the UFC, fighters need to win as often as possible. An impressive winning streak can push you up the rankings, potentially ending with the proverbial title, the ultimate goal of most mixed martial artists. It seems obvious to say, but to get that far a fighter will need an impressive and well-rounded MMA skill set, although sometimes that is still not enough.
While winning is encouraged by UFC President Dana White, the big American boss has a soft spot for UFC fighters who can sell a fight without even stepping foot in the Octagon. The UFC is first and foremost an entertainment business, and a “boring” champion – see Demetrious Johnson – is often shunned to make way for someone more marketable.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three UFC fighters with incredible natural charisma:
# 3 Sean O’Malley – UFC career 2017-present
“Sugar” Sean O’Malley landed a UFC contract in 2017 after performing a knockout against Alfred Khashakyan in Dana White’s Contender series. In his six UFC appearances, O’Malley has won three “Performance of the Night” bonuses and one “Fight of the Night” bonus. The 26-year-old has a penchant for superb knockouts on foot.
It’s rare to see an unranked UFC fighter gain so much popularity, but it is a testament to O’Malley’s sympathy. With his unique skills, “Sugar” has built up an online cult following through his YouTube channel, Twitch, and regular podcasts with his friend and trainer Tim Welch.
# 2 Nate Diaz – 2007-present UFC career
Very few fighters can remain popular with a loss record of over 50%, but then again, very few fighters are like Nate Diaz from Stockton. The southpaw is arguably one of the biggest draws in the UFC, but winning doesn’t seem so important to the man representing “209”.
Diaz would rather lose a bloody brawl reminiscent of a street fight to keep fans entertained than a shot from a distance to comfortably win a borefest on points.
Ever since he bowed to the public by submitting Kurt Pellegrino in 2018, Diaz has been somewhat of a fan favorite. However, what cemented his place in UFC folklore was his famous post-fight “I’m Not Surprised ..” speech after his shocking victory over “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. Natural charisma personified.
# 1 Conor McGregor – UFC career 2013-present
Today the richest athlete in the world, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor is the most famous MMA superstar in the history of the sport to date. From humble beginnings, the Irishman lived on unemployment benefits in his native Dublin.
Conor McGregor used his power and skills to regularly take down his opponents on the UFC road, and when he got there, he let his mouth go wild.
Teaching a UFC fighter to be both funny and intimidating on the microphone is impossible; you have these skills, or you don’t. The Irishman has them in abundance.
From “who’s that f ** k this guy” in response to Jeremy Stephens, to telling Rafael dos Anjos to “pull out the red panties”, to “surprise, surprise, the king is back”; there are too many hilarious moments to fit in one post. McGregor’s charisma and comedy is a difficult act for anyone to follow.