Israel Adesanya’s entrance to the ring at UFC 243 was spirited, creative and well-executed. The middleweight title-winning performance inside the cage that he followed the dance routine with made the moment even more memorable.
Epic entrances are nothing new in the sport of MMA, however. In fact, Adesanya’s anime-inspired dance routine follows in the tradition of many fighters before him who have taken time to put on moving, funny and downright strange theatrics before heading into battle.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 6, 2019
Some legendary fighters, like Kazushi Sakuraba and Genki Sudo, have become almost as notorious for their fight entrances as for their impressive competition feats. Those two alone have put together enough elaborate walkouts throughout their careers to make their own individual lists possible.
They’re not alone, however, so below are just a sampling of some of the most unique and entertaining ring entrances in recent MMA history. In no particular order, here are seven epic MMA fight entrances whose levels Adesanya and his team might have been aspiring to reach, Saturday in Australia.
James Te Huna, UFC on Fuel 7, 2013
The dangerous knockout artist was downright playful during his entrance to fight Ryan Jimmo. The Australian and his cornermen entered the arena wearing black suits, ties and sunglasses, and mimicked Will Smith and his “Men in Black” music video dance routine while the song played overhead.
Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, K-1 Premium Dynamite 2006
Akiyama set out to face the living fighting and entrance legend Sakuraba himself in this bout, but not before putting together an elegant entrance involving dozens of people, set to the song “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. The choreography for this was somber and beautiful, and featured Akiyama cutting through a large group of apparent devotees on his way to the ring.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Dream 9, 2009
The flamboyant Miller had serious business ahead in this title fight against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, but that didn’t stop him from having what looked to be a great time with his entrance. Miller was flanked by dancing women wearing schoolgirl outfits, complete with white shirts, ties and plaid skirts.
Miller didn’t just let the women dance around him, as he fully engaged in a choreographed routine along with them all the way to the ring. The announcer Michael Schiavello was perhaps a bit too inappropriately excited as he gushed that Miller was living out his own fantasy, but this might be one of the least actually scandalous things that Miller has done in the past decade.
Tom Lawlor, UFC Fight Night 20, 2010
Perhaps no modern-era UFC fighter has put more effort into their weigh-in and entrance wardrobes, narratives and choreography than Lawlor. The man known as “Filthy” deserves his own top-five list for weigh-in performances to say nothing of his entrances.
His entrance on the way to fight Aaron Simpson may very well have been his strangest. Well, maybe not ... he’s given himself plenty of competition in that regard.
In any case, on this night, along with fellow fighter and corner man Seth Petruzelli, Lawlor put on a cringeworthy display that makes Henry Cejudo’s recent antics look well-adjusted.
Lawlor excitedly walked out to the ring holding a leash with Petruzelli at the end of it, on all fours, with a dog-toy in his mouth, while the song “Who Let the Dogs Out” blared over the speakers.
Akihiro Gono, UFC 94, 2009
In a culture full of insecure tough guys and rampant homophobia and transphobia, Akihiro Gono certainly seems truly secure in his manhood. On the way to fighting Jon Fitch at UFC 94, Gono and his cornermen donned wigs and sparkly evening gowns while dancing in-synch with one another.
Gono took his dress off to fight, but his cornermen kept theirs on throughout the duration of the three-round contest.
Anderson Silva, Pride 22, 2002
Before fighting Alexander Otsuka, Anderson Silva did a pretty remarkable Michael Jackson impersonation as he donned flashy clothes and a black fedora while dancing his way down the Pride stage. Silva’s Chute Boxe teammates and coaches, including fellow all-time great Wanderlei Silva, gave Silva space to do his thing and applauded and smiled the whole while.
Genki Sudo, K-1 Hero’s 4, 2006
Sudo always had something to say, from thrilling fights, to shows of respect to opponents, to political statements of unity. Sudo also may have put on the most elaborate entrances in the sport’s history throughout his career.
Before his second-to-last fight, Sudo once again impressed before the first round even began, with a captivating short narrative involving him and an ensemble of actors and dancers.
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