How Jon Jones and 4 Other UFC Champions Got Their Unusual Nicknames

How Jon Jones and 4 Other UFC Champions Got Their Unusual Nicknames

Byron Pillay
  • New UFC Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones actually got his name while playing American football
  • UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jamahal Hill got his nickname from the lyrics of a Beyonce song
  • Growing up in a life of violence, Leon Edwards earned the title Rocky because he was mostly fighting

Have you ever wondered how some of the UFC’s biggest fighters got their nicknames?

Having a catchy or intimidating nickname can really set a fighter apart from their peers, especially when Bruce Buffer announces it after a title match.

Jon Jones, Leon Edwards, Alex Pereira, Jamahal Hill, Aljamain Sterling, Beyonce, UFC Champions, Nicknames, Sport, World, MMA, UFC
Jon Jones, Jamahal Hill, and Aljamain Sterling each have unusual nicknames. Image: Mike Roach.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at five current champions and how they got their unusual nicknames.

Jon Jones – Bones

The newly crowned Heavyweight Champion goes by the name Bones, a nickname he actually picked up in college. He explained that it was given to him because of his skinny frame when he played American football.

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Aljamain Sterling – Funk Master

The current UFC Bantamweight Champion goes by the unusual nickname of Funk Master.

As noted by SportsKeeda, Sterling explained the inspiration came from his 'funky' unorthodox wrestling style. He didn’t want to use Funky as his nickname because Ben Askren was using it, and therefore tweaked it.

"I didn't want to use the same nickname as [Askren], so I decided to figure out something else by still keeping the funk in there, and Funk Master was born," he said.

Jamahal Hill – Sweet Dreams

The Light Heavyweight Champion probably has the most unusual inspiration behind his nickname.

Hill explained that he was getting ready for his first amateur fight and after filling in the paperwork, he was asked what nickname he would be using. It was then that Beyonce inspired his unusual nickname.

“I was sitting there trying to think and then this Beyoncé song ‘You can be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare’ comes on and one of my teammates was like ‘You should be Sweet Dreams'."

Hill liked how it sounded and it stuck ever since.

Leon Edwards – Rocky

The name Rocky always conjures up images of Sylvester Stallone as the iconic boxer, but it is also the Welterweight Champion’s nickname. talkSPORT reported that Edwards actually got the name from his time growing up.

He explained that he was part of a gang growing up in England and was involved in a lot of crime, as he went through a dark time in his life. He added that his crew was involved in fights, robberies, and stabbings, as well as smoking and drinking.

“It was mostly fighting. I fought to defend friends, I fought to intimidate and I fought because of beefs. I fought all the time. That’s why my nickname is ‘Rocky’. I got that from school. That’s before I got into MMA. I got it just from scrapping in the streets,” he said.

Alex Pereira – Po Atan

Jon Jones, Leon Edwards, Alex Pereira, Jamahal Hill, Aljamain Sterling, Beyonce, UFC Champions, Nicknames, Sport, World, MMA, UFC
UFC Middleweight champion, Alex Pereira. Image by Carmen Mandato.
Source: Getty Images

The Middleweight Champion goes by the nickname Po Atan, a name that comes from Brazil’s native Tupi language. Pereira is a native Brazilian and explained that both his parents are from the native tribal people who lived in the country before anyone else.

Po Atan roughly translates to Stone Hand and pays tribute to his ability to knockout opponents with his fists, Glory Kickboxing noted. Pereira also has a tattoo of a collection of rocks and pebbles on his left hand.

Jon Jones' 5 greatest knockouts

Jon Jones added to his legend recently, defeating Ciryl Gane to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.

As a result, the American fighter has improved his MMA record to 27-1-0 (1 no-contest) with the win.

Five of Jones’ victories in the UFC have come by knockout, but which is his greatest? Sports Brief takes a look.