While we at MMAFrenzy are all about delivering serious MMA news to our readers, it doesn’t mean we’re beyond having some fun. With one of the sport’s leaders in the “what does he have on his face” game headlining UFC on FX 3 in a flyweight tournament rematch, the world looked to a man who knows all the ins-and-outs of facial hair to ask, “what’s good?”
Being a man who is known for his questionable choices in grooming, it’s only natural that I was chosen to put this list together. Facial hair says a lot about how a man views himself; the following list is a look at the best and worst our sport has to offer.
Best Facial Hair in MMA:
1. Cody McKenzie – Van Dyke
At the height of their power, the musketeers were viewed as the epitome of manhood. Cody McKenzie attempts to channel that power with his choice of aesthetics. There are goatees, which anyone who has seen any 90’s footage can have, then there is the Van Dyke. Named for the 17th century Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck, the peculiar style is known to mean that the bearer is “selfish and sinister”. Given the Alaskan’s tendencies to selfishly take necks home with him in his victories, it is a fairly accurate description.
2. Ian McCall – Handlebar Mustache
One of the main event fighters on tonight’s UFC on FX 3 card, “Uncle Creepy” is one of the men who has brought questionable facial hair to the forefront of the sport. While The mustachioed one (a name he has earned) has worn several variations of the “Wild West” style scruff into the cage, he is best known for the traditional handlebar mustache. Maintaining such a perfect mustache is a lot of work. McCall, himself, recently commented on his ‘stache being crooked in a recent UFC promo shoot. The magnetic fighter has even named his fans the “Underground Creepy Top Team,” using a silhouette of his mustache as their logo.
3. Andrei Arlovski – Beard
While the word “beard” is both applicable to someone who can take a punch, and a man with memorable facial hair, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion finds himself sitting exclusively on the latter side of things. While Andrei’s chin has proven to not hold up against the harder-hitting heavyweights, “The Pitbull” has maintained his crown with possibly he greatest beard in MMA history. The Belarusian’s propensity for keeping a tight mane has even earned him a sponsorship by a popular trimmer company in Wahl. Arlovski’s fur isn’t compared to that of the stylized cast of “300” for no reason, it’s basically perfect.
4. Dan Severn – Mustache
A pioneer of MMA, Severn remains a titan in the facial hair department. The man seamlessly transitioned from the Magnum P.I. to a full-gown horseshoe on several occasions. Likely known to the general population for his run in the WWE (then known as WWF), “The Beast” came equipped with the manliest of mustache. Meanwhile, his rare horseshoe style was great enough to warrant a tribute from UFC Middleweight Tom Lawlor, who is known for his outrageous throwback entrances. If your mustache can inspire men to that length, something is being done right.
5. Chuck Liddell – Horseshoe Mustache
There is neither a name nor a style of facial hair more synonymous with MMA. For years, “The Iceman” was the face of the sport. While it looks like Jon Jones may dethrone the long standing king, Chuck lorded over the division, holding that title in a more dominant fashion than all of his predecessors. While longtime rival Tito Ortiz holds one more title defense, he was never “the man” the way Liddell was when he was knocking people senseless. Chuck’s chinless goatee remains iconic. While seeing it on any other man would guarantee a “look at that douchebag,” it was a style that was truly “The Champ’s”.
*Dan Severn and Don Frye were duking it out over the mustache slot, yet Tom Lawlor’s tribute to “The Beast”swung the pendulum in his favor.
Worst Facial Hair in MMA:
1. Nick Thompson – Neck Beard/Chin Curtain
Are there words for this? Seriously? I have enjoyed several Nick Thompson fights, but this is a look that no man, anywhere, from any time period should hope to mimic. In short, this sucks. While Thompson has racked up a great record for someone who’s been given a journeyman tag, he should have just avoided this look at all costs. I’m aware it’s part of “The Goat” gimmick, but is this really justifiable?
2. Hong Man Choi – Van Dyke
There is a lot that is memorable about Hong Man Choi, specifically his losses to Fedor and Cro Cop. “The Techno Goliath” is most well known overseas for his celebrity outside the cage. That being said, there are two reasons for a man to grow a Van Dyke, either you can’t grow a full goatee, or you have excellent taste. Unfortunately for the Korean, the former seems to be a reality. Never mind the beautiful Korean woman at his side, look at that scraggy hair on Choi’s face. It screams “Dude, just stop.”
3. Tank Abbot – Goatee with EXTREME Chin Puff
Terrible, just terrible. Nothing about this chin puff says anything but “hate me”. While Tank is considered one of the sport’s pioneers, he’s pretty much the opposite. I refuse to go any further. His horrible taste in facial hair is almost as putrescent ground game.
4. Tim Sylvia – Winnfield
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion comes into this list with one of the more exotic aesthetic choices, he just doesn’t pull it off. “The Maine-Iac” is currently attempting to make it back under the Zuffa banner, yet hasn’t seemed to spark any kind of flame in the process. His constant error of keeping his chops trimmed at a one hasn’t helped, especially behind the Civil War look.
5. Jorge Masvidal – Anchor Beard
Masvidal joins this portion of the list as the youngest fighter, who is the most relavent. While “Gamebred” has shown flashes of brilliance in the cage, his taste in facial hair may have been too questionable. The “Anchor” is a style that seems sound in theory, but realistically is too difficult to pull-off for any man, as they all end up looking like a villain from the campy 70s Batman series.
*Due to the shear volume of terrible beards in MMA, that type of facial hair was omitted from the “worst of”. Roy Nelson, Kimbo Slice, and the others are safe.