The world of martial arts can be a bit redundant when it comes to nicknames. However, there are a few prominent figures in the combat sports world whose nicknames are distinct, and just plain cool. The following five stars have unique monikers in martial arts:
Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen
Everything about Martin Nguyen’s nickname is cool. The play and blending of two words are excellent, and it perfectly embodies his cultural background. The Vietnamese-Australian superstar is one of the most unique in the combat sports world. Nguyen’s combination of speed, striking and grappling makes him one of the most dangerous competitors in the world.
Those skills are part of the reason Nguyen is the reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion. He may be the greatest featherweight champion in the promotion’s history, but how did he get the nickname? Nguyen explains, per ABS-CBN:
“It was a joke. I was a 77-kilo fighter back when I first started my MMA career,” Nguyen explained.
“I won two tournaments, and my coaches decided that I had to cut weight down to 70 kilos. When I cut down to 70-kilos, I started showing a bit of my abs, more flab but a bit of abs. At the time, there was this American TV show called Jersey Shore, and there was this guy on the show called ‘The Situation’, he was obsessed about his abs, so they called me ‘The Situation’, and then when I dropped down to featherweight, that’s when I actually had abs, and they were calling me ‘The Situation’.”
“I was like no, I don’t want to be called ‘The Situation’ if you’re gonna call me ‘The Situation,’ at least call me ‘The Situ-Asian’, and it just went on from there, and everyone stuck with it,” Nguyen added.
Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon
Former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin Belingon is accustomed to being the underdog. He’s used to battling back from adversity. Frequently, when you’re in those positions, the critic’s voices can be loud. That’s one story of how Belingon earned the nickname “The Silencer.”
The other story is how Belingon isn’t particularly known to be a man of many words. He would often sit in the back, keep to himself, and is silent most of the time. Even when he is asked to speak, Belingon is soft-spoken. He lets his fists do the talking in the Circle.
No matter how he earned the nickname, Belingon’s mantra has always been to silence the critics. Belingon will be faced with this task again in October when he meets the legendary Bibiano Fernandes for the fourth time. Nicknames that have real history and apply to the fighter’s character are the best, and that’s what The Silencer is all about.
Eduard “Landslide” Folayang
When he’s right, former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, Eduard Folayang can be a lot like a “Landslide” to his opponents. He is a fantastic striker with excellent toughness, and he’s been in the Circle with the best competitors of his era. Folayang explained where he got the nickname:
“That came from when I was fighting in the URCC,” said Folayang. “I won by a landslide, and maybe because in Baguio, there’s always a landslide when it’s raining, so maybe it’s not just because of the landslide win, but also the place where I’m from, the environment.”
No matter the origin, there is no disputing Folayang is like a storm to opponents once he has strikes flowing.
“The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang
While he is a well-rounded competitor, the ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion, Aung La N Sang is a grappler at heart. The native of Myanmar is the greatest athlete from his country and a hero to his people. Because of the squeeze he’s able to apply and his heritage, Aung La earned the nickname “The Burmese Python.”
Aung La has enjoyed one of the genuinely storybook resurgences with ONE. He has won six matches in a row en route to capturing two world titles and defending them both. On the whole, he has a 10-1 record with ONE. The 34-year-old is one of only two athletes to hold two world titles simultaneously with the promotion.
Nicknames based on a combat sports athlete’s country aren’t a new thing, but few more accurately embody the moniker than Aung La.
Aung La defends his Light Heavyweight world title against veteran Brandon Vera on 13 October at ONE: CENTURY.
“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan
Nicknames that seemingly contradict a fighter’s disposition are especially interesting. ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion Xiong Jing Nan has one of those nicknames.
If you watch Xiong compete, the last thing you’d think about is an animal like a panda. Xiong is China’s first-ever mixed martial arts world champion. She has finished 77% of her opponents, and that’s mostly due to her striking prowess.
Xiong’s athletic career began as a weightlifter, but she picked up boxing, and later Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As ferocious as she is as a competitor, she has an affinity for pandas, and thus her fans gave her the nickname.
The two women will rematch on October 13 at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, and it will be Xiong who has the chance to become a two-division champion.