Since the UFC became mainstream in the early 2000s, MMA walkouts have been a huge part of the sport. Having taken a few pages out of the WWE’s book, walkouts can be theatrical and flashy at times, intense during others, and sometimes just weird as hell. While most walkouts today simply consist of a fighter walking out to the octagon to their favorite song, there has been a good amount that have stuck in fans’ minds over the years.
Conor McGregor: UFC 246Conor McGregor has always had a flair for the theatrical, and his walkouts are no exception. The Irish tricolor lights. Sinead O’Connor’s rendition of The Foggy Dew. The transition into Biggie’s “Hypnotize”. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch. As the sports biggest star, McGregor knows how to put on a show like no other.
Israel Adesanya: UFC 243
Since his days as a kickboxer, The Last Stylebender has always been a showman. Unlike, McGregor, Izzy changes his walkouts pretty much every fight, and they never disappoint. At UFC 243, he produced one of the best of all time. I can’t tell if the Liam Neeson narration at the beginning is epic or cringe as hell, but I still love it. Adesanya then reminds us of his past as a professional dancer ahead of his title KO win over Robert Whittaker. The three men accompanying him are the guys who originally taught him to dance in New Zealand. Then he goes full nerd, hitting the Rock Lee stance, flashing some Naruto jutsu hand signs (the Reaper Death Seal to be exact for my fellow nerds out there), and his accomplices Naruto running to the back. His most recent walkout at 263 was pretty epic as well.
Peter Queally: Bellator 217While many of you may not be familiar with Irish fighter Peter Queally, his walkout at Bellator 217 in Dublin was one to remember. It’s not so much what Queally did, it’s more the song choice and the crowd that makes this one of the better walkouts in MMA. “Zombie” by The Cranberries is always a great choice for any event requiring music, but this being in Dublin and a little over a year after Dolores O’Riordan passed makes it that much more special. We discussed this entrance in our latest episode of 10k MMA, featuring guest, Irish combat sports journalist Donagh Corby.
Georges St. Pierre: UFC 129. As always, with his headband and gi, GSP is no-nonsense jogging out to some French-Canadian rap. Doing that in front of 55k fans in the SkyDome was intense as all hell. Also, him stiffing a GSP headband-wearing Jon Jones during his walk was great.Brock Lesnar: UFC 121. Minnesota’s own comes out to “Enter Sandman” looking pissed as all hell. Dude even shoves a cop that was unfortunate enough to get in his way. Joe “You ever done DMT?” Rogan also provides some goofy soundbites comparing him to a Viking.
Ronda Rousey: Every Damn Time. I feel like she just always looks pissed off and ready to punch someone in the face. Cringe? Yes. Intense? Also yes.
Diego Sanchez: UFC 95. One of the most intense walkouts of all time. He screams “YES” at least 50 times.
Stephen Thompson: UFC 205
WOOOONDERBOOOOY! WHAT IS THE SECRET OF YOUR POWER? In all honesty, is there a more likable guy in MMA than Stephen Thompson? The guy always looks like he’s having fun, even when he’s knocking dudes unconscious. As for the walkout, it’s the Tenacious D and Jack Black’s angelic vocals for me. Nothing beats listening to the World’s Most Awesome Band, and “Wonderboy” might just be their best song (aside from “Tribute”, the best song in the world) (Also peep Chef Gordon Ramsey on the right at 1:20).
Darren Till: UFC LiverpoolMan, I love Darren Till. Dude’s a super entertaining fighter and great on the mic. I really hope he’s able to earn himself a title shot sometime soon. That being said, I absolutely hate “Sweet Caroline”. It’s overplayed and the Red Sox ruined it for me. Does that make this walkout any less awesome? Hell no. Again, it’s the crowd getting into it and how excited Till seems to be going to the octagon.
Anderson Silva: PRIDE FC
Not gonna lie, but I cried laughing the first time I saw this. Not only is this an MMA fighter dancing to Michael Jackson, fedora and all, but it’s one of the best to ever do it. Anderson Silva is best remembered for his record-breaking championship reign (and gruesomely snapping his leg on Chris Weidman’s shin), but this may have defined his career had he not gone on to kick everyone’s ass. Weirdly enough, these kind of shenanigans were pretty common in PRIDE. The Japanese-based promotion featured some of the best fighters and by far the craziest walkouts back in its day.
Colby Covington: UFC on ESPN 5
Talk about embracing being the villain. Here Colby goes full pro wrestling heel (as if he hadn’t already), inviting a chorus of boo’s and the classic “You Suck!” chant synonymous with Kurt Angle’s WWE entrances back in the day. In all sports, there’s always a guy or team you just love to hate for whatever reason. For the UFC, Covington’s trying to make that guy him. Weirdly enough, he goes on to beat the shit out of Robbie Lawler in this fight.
Jason Miller: Dream 9
Uffda. Yes, that is a fighter performing a choreographed dance routine with Japanese schoolgirls. What a sport. The crazy thing about this is that Miller was a pretty damn good fighter, holding wins over Kazushi Sakuraba, Tim Kennedy, and Robbie Lawler. Since retiring, Miller has racked up quite a legal rap-sheet, including live-tweeting a 5-hour standoff with a SWAT team in 2014.
Chuck Liddell: UFC 43
100% just died of cringe watching this. I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know who this Mask guy was, but TapOut was one of the cringier things about MMA in the 2000s, so I already hate him. Even if we ignore the abomination that was the narrated intro, we still have one of the most iconic fighters of all time walking out to Vanilla Ice’s rock remix of “Ice Ice Baby”. Henry Cejudo only dreams of reaching these levels of cringe.