5 of the BMFs in UFC history

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Brian Pincus
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(L-R) Donald Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, BJ Penn and Royce Gracie are five of the BMFs to ever step foot in the Octagon.
(L-R) Donald Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, BJ Penn and Royce Gracie are five of the BMFs to ever step foot in the Octagon.

So what exactly is a Bad Mother[expletive]? Well, there’s no precise definition of a BMF. It isn’t a weight class or a fighting style, yet you know who they are by the way they carry themselves in and out of the Octagon. With the BMF belt on the line at UFC 244 this Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City we decided to take a look at five of the baddest in UFC history who aren’t named Nate Diaz or Jorge Masvidal.

Donald Cerrone

Does anyone like to fight as much as Donald Cerrone does? With 50 professional MMA bouts, 33 in the UFC, it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone he hasn’t fought. Cowboy has the UFC record for most bouts (33), most bouts in a calendar year (5), most wins (23), most finishes (16), and most performance bonuses (18). The only thing he is missing from his résumé is a UFC belt. His lack of a belt is probably due to how active and willing to step in on short notice he is. He always seems like he’s a win away from another shot at the belt, but comes just short. That never diminishes Cerrone’s spirits and he’s always ready to get back in the Octagon right away.

In a time in MMA where it feels rare fighters fight more than once a year, Cerrone has fought four times during a calendar year in six of of his nine years in the UFC. Back in 2015, Cowboy once fought twice in 16 days. On top of all of this, he is a real cowboy. He lives on a farm where he builds everything by hand and calls it the BMF Ranch. An easy addition to the list.

Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie is a member of the famed Gracie family and winner of the inaugural UFC tournament at UFC 1. The sport and rules the UFC followed then were much different than they are now. For starters, in the early tournament days of the UFC, fighters fought multiple times in the same night. For Gracie to be crowned the champion at UFC 1, he had to finish three contenders. Yes, finish. There were no judges or rounds. The only way for a match to end was by submission, knockout, or the fighter’s corner throwing in the towel. Nowadays, it’s crazy to think about fighters getting back into the Octagon months after a bout, but in the early days of UFC, they had to go back out there and compete multiple times in a night.

There were also no weight classes. Gracie was competing with fighters that weighed 30 to 40 pounds more than him at times. In the current state of UFC, fighters will do everything they can to get an edge. Something that is happening far too often is extreme weight cutting. This is so fighters can get a couple of pounds up on their opponents and be physically bigger. Gracie didn’t care how much bigger his opponent was and still came out as one of the greatest the sport had to offer.

BJ Penn

On the subject of weight classes, BJ Penn never felt restricted by them. Once crowned as the greatest lightweight in UFC history by color commentator Joe Rogan, Penn has competed in six different weight classes in his MMA career. He has fought opponents weighing from 145 to 225 pounds. For a majority of his career, Penn competed in the lightweight division. While taking a brief hiatus from the UFC and competing in other organizations, Penn weighed in at middleweight, then fought future UFC champion Lyoto Machida in an openweight bout where Machida weighed 34 pounds more than Penn. Machida came in as a heavyweight. When Penn returned to the UFC, he challenged George St-Pierre to a title eliminator at welterweight. He ended up losing to St-Pierre but had already captured the vacant lightweight title vs. Joe Stevenson to make him the second UFC fighter to hold a belt in two different divisions (lightweight and welterweight).

Unfortunately, Penn has lost in his last seven Octagon appearances and suffered a knockout during a street fight in August. The UFC subsequently dropped him.

Amanda Nunes

“Lioness” is undoubtedly the best female fighter in the history of the UFC. She beat just about every dominant woman in the sport from Ronda Rousey to Cris Cyborg to Miesha Tate and finished all three with absolute ease. Nunes simultaneously holds the woman’s bantamweight and featherweight belt. Fellow men’s double champion Henry Cejudo jokingly called her out to put her belt on the line, and I have no doubt it would be a close match. A man deserving to be on this list, Michael Bisping, said he would even put his money on Nunes. While that fight will never happen, the fact people are entertaining the result of the match earns her a spot on this list. Nunes’ reign as the women’s GOAT cements her status as one BMF.

Conor McGregor

Despite many fans ignoring this side to him, Conor McGregor has embodied the “anytime, anywhere” element of being a bad MF. McGregor has never shied away from a battle from the moment he first stepped into the Octagon. McGregor’s fighting skills often are overlooked by his superior ability to belittle his opponents and get in their head verbally. This is a style that many have tried to copy, but none could do quite as well as McGregor. And while his trash talk and personality may have made him the star that he is, his path to the title wasn’t easy. After defeating future UFC champions Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier and a slew of MMA veterans, McGregor finally had a chance to compete for gold against one of the greatest, Jose Aldo. Just two weeks before the bout, Aldo pulled out due to injury, and Chad Mendez stepped in to replace him. Aldo is a gifted striker, and Mendez, a wrestler. With such a different stylistic matchup, most fighters would not take the fight and wait for their chance against the champion, but McGregor immediately took the fight.

A similar situation happened at UFC 196 when McGregor was slated to compete against Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight belt. Again, just two weeks before the scheduled bout, McGregor’s opponent backed out, and the UFC was forced to find a replacement. This time, Nate Diaz stepped up. McGregor even agreed to change the fight to welterweight to accommodate Diaz. Even though McGregor did not end up victorious, this loss occurred because both Diaz and McGregor are BMFs. There was no benefit for the featherweight champion to take a non-title fight two weight classes above his own on less than two weeks’ notice, yet McGregor did not back down.

The first-ever champ champ’s “anytime, anywhere” approach continued as he went on to challenge possibly the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather. McGregor went ten rounds with Mayweather and landed more punches than some of today’s top boxers did vs. “Money” Mayweather.

While he might not be as active as many fans hope, no one can doubt his ability to take on a challenge.

Who did we miss?

You have to be a pretty bad mother[expletive] to step into the Octagon in the first place, so this isn’t a definitive list, but let us know who you think we missed in the comments.

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