24 Male UFC Fighters With Long Hair (Ranked By Length!)

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Since mixed martial artists are fighting in close quarters and often grappling, they don’t want to give their opponent any advantages — like hair to pull on.

That’s why you see most fighters with short hair when they come to the cage. Some even shave their heads entirely to make weight!

But there are a few legendary examples of fighters who wear martial arts hairstyles for long hair with pride even inside the octagon.

Below I’ve ranked UFC fighters with long hair in order of how lengthy their mane can get! Let’s take a look.

1. Elias Theodorou

Elias Theodorou
MMAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Elias Theodorou, known as “The Spartan,” was a charismatic figure in the world of MMA.

His long, flowing hair was as much a big part of his brawling persona.

Theodorou’s hair, often left loose during his fights, was a distinctive feature that added to his unique appeal in the ring.

Occasionally he would also use a dreadlocks hairstyle to tighten his mane and keep it neater for the needs of cage fighting.

He had some notable achievements during his MMA career, competing in the UFC over a five-year stint between 2014-2019.

And his first major accomplishment came from the moment he first stepped into the octagon, winning The Ultimate Fighter Nations Middleweight title in 2014 after beating Sheldon Westcott by TKO.

He also secured wins over Bruno Santos, Roger Narvaez, Dan Kelly, and Trevor Smith.

The Spartan was more than just a fighter as he became a pioneer for the use of medical marijuana in sports and became the first athlete to receive an exemption to use marijuana alongside his career.

One of the active ingredients of marijuana is CBD, which is becoming more commonly used by MMA fighters today.

His luscious locks and handsome good looks also saw him participate in acting, working as a stuntman, and even a model, having appeared on – count it – eleven romance novel covers.

I am despondent to add that his entire career and life were cut horribly short as he passed away from colon cancer, aged just 34 years old.


Let’s always try to remember him and his service to combat sports entertainment.

It’s always sad when someone passes before their time should have come up, especially someone so charismatic and with a prosperous career ahead in martial arts.

2. Chris Gruetzemacher

Chris Gruetzemacher, known as “Gritz,” is another mixed martial artist with a considerable length of hair.

Whenever he steps into the UFC cage, he has styled a unique cornrows method that often looks tribal with an interesting pattern.

Depending on how long his hair is at the time, it’s either weaved tight to his head when slightly shorter or finished with a ponytail at the back.

His TKO win against Joe Lauzon at UFC 223 was one of his career highlights. He won from a corner stoppage after delivering a ton of slicing shots to cut open Joe’s brow.

In that particular fight, his hair length was much shorter than usual, with a harsh back-and-sides and a miniature top-knot going on.

When he faced Rafa Garcia at UFC Vegas 33, his hair length was back at its peak but wrapped up tightly with cornrows.

His long locks didn’t save him from a kneebar submission by Claudio Puelles at UFC Vegas 44, a moment that showed even the most lion-haired fighters can be tamed.

He is the kind of fighter that loves a dog fight, whether or not he’s coming out on top. I actually haven’t seen him fight since 2021, so he may be due for a return.

3. Josh Quinlan

Josh “The Reneage” Quinlan has been an exciting newcomer to the UFC since entering via Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021.

His first UFC Fight Night in 2022 was when he could show the fans just how much impact he could make with his hands, knocking out Jason Witt with a beautiful left hook in the first round.

He was rocking a 6-0 record after that victory but has suffered his first loss recently against another UFC newcomer, Trey Waters, during UFC on ESPN 45 in 2023.

This Renegade has incredibly long jet-black hair that flows down across his shoulders and a beard to match.

During his cage fights, he has his fringe cornrowed like most long-haired fighters and tied up at the back so it doesn’t get in the way.

His career had not come without its setbacks, as his Contender Series win was overturned into a No Contest when his PED testing detected a level of steroids.

Let’s hope he’s learned his lessons from that because he’s undoubtedly an exciting fighter to watch.

4. Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle was one of the exciting prospects on The Ultimate Fighter Season 7. I remember his distinctive creepy smile all too well.

His performances in the cage were solid, so much so that he won the finale by defeating Dante Rivera by decision.

He consistently had long hair, sometimes mid-length but often growing down past his shoulders.

His skills in the octagon came primarily from his wrestling background, having beaten Jon Jones twice in wrestling competitions and becoming a state champion.

Although his MMA career was relatively short, lasting just six years between 2008 and 2014, he still earned plenty of recognition.

He had his problems in the sport, though, as two of his most recent MMA fights were overturned to a No Contest result because of the use of marijuana.

These days, marijuana use is more accepted. With even CBD oils being removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substances list.

Those result changes might have broken the camel’s back for Riddle to enjoy pursuing mixed martial arts further.

Luckily he could use his wrestling expertise elsewhere to become a full-time WWE star.

5. Benson Henderson

Benson Henderson
Zekerags, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Benson has had a long prosperous career in mixed martial arts, starting all the way back in 2006 and working his way through several promotions.

He had a wild time in the UFC, facing opponents like Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos, and even secured notable wins over Nate Diaz and Frankie Edgar.

In 2016, he switched to Bellator, where he’s been competing up until today. Very recently, losing his Lightweight belt to Usman Nurmagomedov.

He announced his retirement soon after.

Henderson’s hair has always been a unique part of his persona, as his hair resembles dark curly ribbons tumbling down his shoulders. He’s always been proud of his locks.

Quite the legend across all combat sports with an incredible 17-year-long career.

6. Matthew Semelsberger

The American, known as “Semi The Jedi,” Matthew has been building his following in recent years after being very active in the UFC at Welterweight.

He’s constantly pushing his opponents to the decision, typically going a full three rounds in his fights, with mixed results.

A recent loss to Jeremiah Wells sets him back, but I think there’s still plenty of juice in the tank from this man.

He has an incredibly unique, bigfoot-esque appearance with long hair flowing down near his shoulders and often a big beard to match.

In the past, we’ve seen Semelsberger bring the fire with two sub-20-second knockouts over Martin Sano and Jason Witt.

There are still several years ahead for Matthew to keep improving his form, where we might see this brawler create more highlight KO moments for the fans.

7. Josh Samman

Josh was an American Middleweight fighter that began his career with the UFC in The Ultimate Fighter Season 17.

He had a great exhibition record during the show, only being beaten by the now-legendary Kevin Gastelum in the semifinals.

He still went on to compete in the finale, beating Kevin Casey by TKO.

He later returned again to the show’s 21st season finale to beat Caio Magalhaes via rear-naked choke.

Josh had different hairstyles during his UFC career, from buzzcut to shoulder-length hair.

He’d occasionally cornrow up his long hair when fighting.

Josh “Anqa” Samman sadly passed away at the tender age of 28. There was speculation about the cause of his death, but his mother negated the “lies” in a statement:

“And in spite of speculation, there was no heroin found in Josh’s system whatsoever. No matter what people are posting on social media.

The reason I am making this statement is, because Josh touched so many lives, and loved inspiring others, especially young people. I don’t want them to lose faith in him, and whatever he brought out in them, because of the lies. He would want them to never give up.”

Josh Samman’s mother, reported statement by Fox Sports, 2016

Samman was also an author, having released a book titled “The Housekeeper: Love, Death, & Prizefighting.” (Available on Amazon).

In that book, he openly discussed his life, struggles with drugs, and the challenging loss of his girlfriend in a car accident.

I can hope that his story lives on through this book that looks into what it means to overcome life’s tragedies.

8. Michael Graves

Michael Graves entered the UFC as a finale winner of The Ultimate Fighter 21, beating Vicente Luque by decision.

Graves only featured in a couple more fights with the promotion, winning one against Randy Brown and drawing with Bojan Velickovic.

In 2017, he was officially released by the UFC after an arrest, citing a breach of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy.

He moved on to compete with Fight Nights Global, then Titan FC for four straight wins but hasn’t competed since 2020.

During his run with Titan FC, he secured the Welterweight title and defended it.

His hairstyle switched between wiry bangs and a long ponytail style that would occasionally get cornrowed down to the very tips to keep it out of the way.

9. Clay Guida

Clay Guida
Mark Richardson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Clay, also known as “The Carpenter,” is one of those fighters you always love to see on the fight card.

Maybe it’s the fact that he never backs down from a fight and pretty much gives it his all every single time he appears in the octagon.

Or maybe it’s just because we love to see his long curly hair thrash around while his coach slaps him repeatedly across the face to fire him up for his fight right before he enters the cage.

Whatever it is, he is always entertaining because of his heart.

He’s not exactly the most technically gifted fighter, but he has the pure drive to try and wear down any opponent — thus his carpentry-themed nickname.

He’s always had wild curly long hair for his fights, which is constantly getting in his face, but it doesn’t seem to bother him from giving his all.

I think that’s what makes him so entertaining to watch, he gets hit a lot in the face, and his hair thrashes around like a harmonic dance, but he just keeps coming for more.

10. Sean O’Malley

Sean O'Malley
Optic Gaming, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Suga Show, Sean O’Malley, is one of the rising talents in the UFC and mixed martial arts.

He’s a striker with skills many can’t replicate with his long reach and versatile movement.

They’re skills that, at the time of writing, have landed him eleven knockout or technical knockout victories out of sixteen wins.

Suga walks into just about every fight with a brand-new hairstyle. His hair has been long for several years, but it’s the vibrant color he picks out each time.

Sometimes it’s pink, yellow, and teal, or a mix of several colors at once.

He’ll have his hair cornrowed from fringe to tip and tightly snug behind his head so that it isn’t going to affect his octagon time.

Outside of the cage, the ‘fro is released and sits atop his head like a monumental mushroom.

The guy has style, flamboyance, and the fans to support him all the way to the top.

11. Jorge Masvidal

Jorge Masvidal
Miami Beach Police Department, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The recently retired “Gamebred” Masvidal has a long history of fighting, from backyard brawls to (nearly) the top of the UFC.

His professional MMA career began way back in 2003, and after 52 fights across many promotions and a record of 35 wins and 17 losses, he retired in 2023 after his last defeat to Gilbert Burns.

That’s an incredible twenty years in the professional fight game of mixed martial arts.

And even before that, he was bringing the heat with amateur filmed street fights alongside the likes of Kimbo Slice.

Jorge has had long, thick, flowing hair for a significant latter part of his career. Though he did once sport the younger clean-cut look.

When he would prepare for his fights, he’d have his hair professionally cornrowed tightly to keep it managed during one of his slug fests.

Masvidal liked to throw hands, with many of his wins coming by KO/TKO.

His career will always be remembered by his five-second knockout of Ben Askren and winning the BMF belt.

And not forgetting his beef with Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, and other fighters during his fight years.

12. Cody McKenzie

Cody, AKA “The AK Kid,” is one mixed martial artist that has had a long and diverse career in the sport.

He cracked onto the scene way back in 2007 in a little-known promotion called Gladiators Cage Fighting in Columbia.

Over his career, he’s jumped between promotions that will have him, and of course, featured with the UFC between 2010-2013, entering via The Ultimate Fighter TV show and then on to prime time events.

He’s crafted a particular fighting style for himself in the cage, becoming well-known for his unique version of the guillotine choke, dubbed “The McKenzietine.”

At the time of writing, his 17 wins came by way of 15 submissions – and in no short use of his finishing move.

McKenzie is one MMA fighter that has often sported long, flowing hair during many of his fights.

He often ties up his hair with a scruffy top knot and lets his locks hang loose down the sides of his head.

He is a real character of fighting, considering his lanky body type and hairy appearance.

13. Brian Ortega

Brian Ortega
MMAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“T-City” is one more highly talented UFC fighter that has been rocking the long hair to significant effect in recent years.

His hair is potentially one of the longest on this list, but we’ve also seen him with mid-length hair that is greased up and slicked back.

For a short time, he even shaved it all off and joined the roster of bald UFC fighters.

Brian Ortega’s nickname comes from his preference to use the triangle choke to defeat his opponents, which has been helpful for 4 of his wins in his career so far.

He’s also handy with the guillotine choke.

But he’s no slouch when it comes to using his hands. In particular, his victory over Chan Sung Jung (“The Korean Zombie”) is where he used imaginative spinning elbow attacks.

T-City has suffered some hard losses recently, but he’s still a skillful fighter who I’m sure we’ll see rise the ranks again soon.

14. Joseph Holmes

Joseph Holmes not only has one of the most unfortunate fighter nicknames, “Uglyman Joe,” but he also has a unique long hairstyle.

It’s often long and bound up in a dreadlocks style, sometimes with the occasional blonde coloring on top.

The nickname apparently comes from his friendship group in college. Nice friends.

But despite his appearances, good or bad, he’s currently rocking a high win rate by submissions. The rear-naked choke is his bread and butter.

He’s appeared in several high-profile promotions throughout his MMA career, including Bellator, LFA, Fury FC, and now the UFC.

Holmes’s career has had its downfalls, especially recently with losses to Claudio Ribeiro and Jun Yong Park.

But he’s made three appearances in 2022, showing his desire for activity, which might just mean we’ll continue to see his unique hair entering the octagon for several more years.

After all, he’s only in his late twenties, so there are plenty more years of fight-ready physicality for this man.

15. Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber
Kelly Bailey, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Urijah Faber is well-known in MMA circles. Not only is he an ex-UFC fighter, but he’s also one of the lead coaches behind the successful Team Alpha Male gym.

Team Alpha Male produces many great performing fighters and even UFC champions.

Known as “The California Kid,” Urijah is well-remembered for his surfer-dude appearance with his golden flowing hair, white teeth, and tanned skin.

He has faced several other legends of the promotion, including Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo, and many more, totaling 46 separate pro fights.

And we can’t forget just how hilarious his inclusion was against Team McGregor in the 22nd season of The Ultimate Fighter.

“You look like a 50-year-old retired skateboarder.”

16. Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling
MMAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aljamain Sterling may not be one of the favorite fighters of the fans, but his abilities in the cage have been proven stellar with recent results.

Not only did he overcome Petr Yan in a rematch, but he’s also gone and defended his title against two Bantamweight greats, T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo.

It seems like Dana White has been pulling out the very best he can to throw against Sterling.

The “Funk Master” has an incredibly awkward wrestling style whereby he keeps pressure on his opponents, avoids the majority of their best striking, and secures takedowns with single-leg grappling.

I’ve included Sterling on this list because he has a pretty sizeable afro. It’s just tapered to appear tall rather than rounded.

He has a unique New York style as he often walks out to his UFC fights wearing a giant gold chain around his neck.

17. Roy Nelson

Roy Nelson, nicknamed “Big Country,” the massive Heavyweight fighter that represents everything Nevada, USA.

He’s not only a big hunk of a man, but he also has considerably long hair atop his head. It’s shorter on top but seriously long at the back.

The hairstyle is often called the Country Mullet, likely because of its origins of people from the ‘backcountry.’

At the time of writing, Nelson is still competing in mixed martial arts at the age of 46! I’m recording 24 wins and 19 losses.

He’s fought recently (and won) against Dillon Cleckler in the Gamebred Fighting Championship.

Before that, he lost five times in a row with Bellator before being let go.

But he was also with the UFC between 2009-2017—a massive eight years with the promotion.

It seems that his career, just like his unique hair, is far from being cut short.

18. Paddy Pimblett

Paddy Pimblett
James English, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The scouse-and-proud Paddy Pimblett always entertains fans, in no small part because of his appearance.

Paddy has a unique hairstyle that could go by many different names.

It resembles the 70s ‘bob’ but could also be referred to as the ‘mop’ or even a ‘ketwig‘ if you’re from Liverpool, England.

The term ‘ketwig’ comes from users of the drug ketamine (‘ket’) who wouldn’t take care of their appearance and end up with a long-all-over hair. (‘wig’).

Fans went bonkers over Paddy “The Baddy” when he first came to the UFC, and I was one of them.

He brought a fresh extreme personality who was proud of who he was and where he came from, and he had a unique accent and banter to boot.

Paddy’s walkouts are always wild, entertaining, and especially electric when they take place in a London arena.

In the last year, though, his fanbase has turned against him due to conflicts with the MMA pundit and journalist Ariel Helwani.

That, alongside a couple of questionable victories, has seen fans convert to other idols.

But whatever you or I think of Paddy’s behavior in or out of the octagon, there’s no doubt that his mop-top hairstyle is entertaining to see in the cage.

19. Evan Tanner

Tanner was one of the early GOATs, joining the UFC in 2000 at UFC 29.

Over his career, he fought several other greats like Tito Ortiz, Rich Franklin, and Robbie Lawler.

A wild man at heart, his appearance often represented that with a grizzly beard and hair to match that would occasionally get as long as his shoulders and need cornrows to secure for fights.

He was an excellent Middleweight contender whose career was only cut short by his unfortunate death in 2008.

During one of his walkabouts in Death Valley, Tanner suffered a heat stroke and died.

Joe Rogan was one of his friends and talks very respectfully about him, getting visibly upset while doing so on his podcast:

Many in the community remember Evan as more than just a fighter.

He was also a philosopher, a writer, and a poet. He connected with his fanbase in thoughtful blog posts online.


20. Diego Ferreira

Diego came back on the radar recently as he returned to fight in the UFC after a 17-month layoff due to a rib fracture.

Diego was on an unbeaten run in the Lightweight division between 2016-2020, winning six times until a three-fight losing streak in 2021 sidelined him.

His return saw him face Michael Johnson, a fight where he was the clear underdog.

But after analyzing his opponent and noticing that Johnson dropped his left hand on defense, Diego waited for the right opportunity to throw an overhand right and got the KO.

The Brazilian is included on this list as his comeback came with a longer hairstyle that was seen thick and curly in his pre-fight interviews and was cornrowed for the fight.

21. Ricky Simon

Ricky is a strong Bantamweight fighter who has been swiftly moving up the ranks after piecing together five consecutive wins in the UFC.

That is until Yadong Song halted his progress with a fifth-round TKO.

Despite that, Ricky Simon has shown promising performances against challenges like Jack Shore and Brian Kelleher to be victorious, and it validates his skill level for another comeback.

Ricky has a bit of a mullet hairstyle, where it is often well groomed and styled on top with a neat crop, shorter on the sides, and much longer at the back.

And he doesn’t seem to cornrow it up like most fighters. He just lets it hang loose.

This fighter definitely has some tenacity to have some heavy brawls, and with just a few losses on his record, there’s going to be more to see from him.

22. Kennedy Nzechukwu

Kennedy is one of those fighters who is consistently improving. Even after a couple of losses in the UFC, he bounced back to go on a three-fight win streak recently.

He seems to understand where he went wrong, takes it to heart, and improves any holes in his fight game to come back stronger than ever.

I’ve included “African Savage” on this list as he’s another fighter with a curly afro that often sits tall upon his head.

Even though it rises up, rather than cascading down, it’s still ‘long’ hair — right?

Personally, I always enjoy seeing him in the cage as a very tall Light Heavyweight fighter.

He’s often leering over the top of his opponents with great stature.

I think this guy could have been a great competitor to the likes of Jon Jones in the future. That is, if Bones didn’t decide to move up to Heavyweight recently.

Nzechukwu has the grappling game and the heavy hands when he finds his mark, giving him a lot of abilities to win.

At the time of writing this, Jamahal Hill is the Light Heavyweight champ, and I can see a fascinating matchup between the pair to come.

Kennedy’s calculated performances are getting better each fight, and just maybe, his hair length will continue to grow, too.

23. Michael Chiesa

Michael Chiesa
MMAnytt, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael “Maverick” Chiesa is a Welterweight competitor who often has a hillbilly mullet haircut.

It’s often seen as short on top and the sides but seriously long at the back.

This is why I placed his long hair ranking somewhere near the bottom, as it’s a bit of both short and long.

But one thing that always seems consistent with his hair is the thickness of his beard. It’s pretty glorious.

On a couple of occasions, he entered fights with a substantial untamed and matted head of hair, looking like he walked straight in off the streets. But sometimes that’s just his style.

Chiesa has had a rough run of fights recently, with a couple of losses in 2021 against Vincente Luque and Sean Brady.

After being on the sidelines for two years, he’s expected to return to face the dynamic freestyle fighter Kevin Holland.

Time will tell to see just how much Michael has in the tank to continue competing at this level.

24. Gabe Green

Gabe “Gifted” Green finishes up this list of long-haired fighters because while at times he’s let his hair grow as far as his chest hair, it’s a lot more groomed and braided recently.

We’ve seen him sporting a very short buzzcut once upon a time, but now he more consistently prefers to keep mid-length hair that is cornrowed from root to behind his head.

Gabe is another Welterweight on this list who’s had a rocky road with the UFC, grabbing some wins with his heavy punches but also losing in a similar fashion.

Most recently, he’s struggled to return to form after losses against young(er) guns Ian Garry and Bryan Battle.

He’s one fighter that doesn’t purely pursue the physical rewards of mixed martial arts competition, as he’s even taken up a bachelor’s degree in business on the side.

I think that all this man needs is one swift knockout to bring his career back on track – and he does have the hands to do it.

Will his braided hair give him the power to believe in himself again? Let’s see what is next in store for him.

What to read next

That’s concluded this ranking of the longest hair in UFC history.

Now you know everything about the luscious locks of mixed martial artists – these next articles might be worthwhile:

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