5 of the Craziest Fight Callouts in UFC History
Part of what makes combat sports entertaining is the promotional aspect of it. When fighters call out other fighters, it ignites the imagination of fans to see how a potential matchup would go down. When done right, a good callout can bring an exciting fight to life. There are many instances, however, where a fighter makes a callout that clearly falls flat. Oftentimes that is because the proposed fight makes little to no feasible sense and leaves fans scratching their heads in confusion.
5. Anything from Rafael Fiziev
Any time that lightweight fan-favorite Rafael Fiziev wins a fight, two things can be expected: a callout for a fight, and for the potential opponent that he calls out to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Although it is all done in jest, many fans consider it to be a head-scratcher to not only refuse to call out anyone on the UFC roster, but to take it a step further by calling out celebrities with limited martial arts experience.
His string of callouts started at UFC 265, where he took a page from Nate Diaz‘s book to call out Dagestani social media influencer Hasbulla, interrupting Daniel Cormier’s initial post-fight question to say “Hasbulla… Hasbulla, you’re taking all my work, my life in the UFC. If you want the money fight, you fight with me, bro!”
After his #UFC265 win, @RafaelFiziev called out…
…Hasbulla 😂 pic.twitter.com/4sTqZtdHUf
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 8, 2021
It doesn’t stop there, though. In his next fight, a scintillating TKO win over Brad Riddell at UFC Vegas 44, “Ataman” made sure to call for a fight with someone sitting cageside… actor Vince Vaughn. “We have one legend here, maybe he wants to fight with me,” said Fiziev, “his name Vince Vaughn. Yeah, I love him.” What made the callout even funnier was that Fiziev had to ask his coach twice for the correct pronunciation of Vaughn’s name before finishing the callout. Vaughn, for his part, is at least a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the same level as Fiziev. Maybe a grappling match between the two could be in the future?
Who better for @RafaelFiziev to callout than… Vince Vaughn sitting cageside 😆 #UFCVegas44 pic.twitter.com/xOrQHJLGJy
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 5, 2021
The Azerbaijani Muay Thai specialist’s most recent win came in a “Battle of the Rafaels”, as Fiziev scored a fifth-round KO win over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 58. After the fight, he made it known that he wanted to face another athlete that shares his first name – tennis legend Rafael Nadal. He said, “Now we know who the best Rafael is in the UFC. Now we know. And now I want to make a new challenge – who is the best Rafael in the sport? Rafael Nadal, come here. Come here.”
Who does Rafael Fiziev want next in the Octagon?@RafaelNadal 😅 pic.twitter.com/3Btfo5b82u
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 10, 2022
Fiziev is currently on a two-fight skid, most recently losing to Mateusz Gamrot when he tore his ACL in the second round of their contest.
4. Mickey Gall Asked for a Long-Retired Former Title Challenger
Mickey Gall’s callouts were a hallmark of his early MMA career. After scoring a submission victory in his professional debut, with UFC president Dana White in the audience, Gall called out the recently-signed CM Punk. White took notice, signing the New Jersey native after just one fight. After defeating Mike Jackson in his UFC debut, Gall secured his spot in the Octagon against the former WWE superstar. His fame reached a fever pitch when he bludgeoned Punk in short order on the pay-per-view main card of UFC 203. Once again, Gall seized the moment and called his shot, asking to face fellow young Dana White Lookin’ for a Fight prospect Sage Northcutt.
In just his fourth professional fight, Gall faced Northcutt on network television, serving as the co-main event for UFC on Fox 22. Just like his three previous fights, Gall garnered a rear-naked choke submission victory. After giving his gym a shoutout, he took another big shot with his next highly-anticipated callout, asking to drop down to lightweight to battle former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy.
At the time of the callout, Hardy had been retired for nearly three years and had not fought for nearly four years after a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome forced an early end to his career. Despite rumors of a potential return at the time, as well as at times more recently, “The Outlaw” has not competed since his 2012 win over Amir Sadollah.
While Hardy was honored by the callout, he was also admittedly shocked, saying that he almost spat out his tea while watching the fight card around 4am in England. He respectfully declined the callout, citing Gall’s lack of experience and his desire to face a veteran in a potential comeback fight. Gall would never drop to lightweight in the UFC and would lose his next bout to Randy Brown, bringing his hype train to a halt.
3. Two Bitter Rivals Thought They Could Beat a Legend in His Prime
Fans love to discuss hypothetical matchups with athletes from different eras. In basketball, one of the most heated debates today is the infamous “Jordan vs. Lebron” discussion. It is a discussion without a definite resolution, because the two never have nor ever will step on the court against each other competitively while simultaneously in their athletic primes.
MMA fans do the same. In the midst of Jon Jones’s dominant run as UFC light heavyweight champion, many pondered how he would fare against a prime Chuck Liddell or Tito Ortiz, two of the most famous champions in the division’s and sport’s history. “The Iceman” Liddell and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz were heated rivals themselves, fighting twice in the Octagon in 2004 and 2006 and once more in a squash match that headlined the lone Golden Boy MMA card in 2018. Despite all of their differences, though, the two agreed on one thing – not only that they could both beat Jones in his prime, but that both could be competitive with the active champion while being in their mid-40s.
Hardly anyone took the callouts seriously despite the fighters’ sincerity. For his part, Jones is still going strong, capturing the belt he sought for many years: the UFC heavyweight title. He is set to make his first defense at UFC 295 in November against Stipe Miocic.
2. Tony Ferguson Wanted to Ankle Pick a Heavyweight Champion
This callout was one that was not premeditated, but came about in the heat of the moment. While at a media lunch for UFC 216, the then-soon-to-be UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was answering questions from the media when he was interrupted by former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. Ferguson snapped back, saying to Werdum, “Hold on, I’m talking brother.”
Werdum did not appreciate the tone and energy in which Ferguson approached the situation, and the two got into a heated argument in both Spanish and English, with many expletives and slurs being thrown back and forth. “El Cucuy” then made it clear that he wasn’t afraid of Werdum despite the large size disparity, telling him “you don’t want none of this sh*t” and “have fun fighting on my undercard” before delivering his now-iconic threat: “shut up before I ankle pick you”.
Tony Ferguson & Fabricio Werdum got into a heated argument at the #UFC216 Media Lunch 😳. Stay tuned for story on https://t.co/uu3K3IQYju pic.twitter.com/kNK1nEwVC0
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) September 28, 2017
The feud seemingly started because of Ferguson’s war of words with Werdum’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, on Twitter (now known as X). Immediately after the incident, Ferguson doubled down on his callout once again saying that he would ankle pick “Vai Cavalo”, saying that “they’re (heavyweights) the same size on the ground as everyone else,” and predicting a ground-and-pound TKO victory against him.
Ferguson is now scheduled to face Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 in December, and is looking to snap a six-fight losing streak. Those seeking to make UFC bets will find Ferguson a sizeable underdog, with the current odds having him at a 3.40 (+240 American) clip.
1. Ronda Rousey and UFC Brass Took Aim at One of Boxing’s GOATs
2015 was a wild year for the UFC, as it was featured the meteoric rise in popularity for two of the biggest stars in the sport’s history: Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. Rousey was running roughshod through every opponent that she faced, leaving many to wonder what her true ceiling actually was. Pundits and fans alike speculated how she would fare against opponents of the opposite gender, including the then-UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
The matchup that got the most attention, however, was a potential showdown with Floyd “Money” Mayweather. While most agreed that Mayweather would best Rousey in the boxing realm, a large number of UFC fans thought that Rousey could best “TBE” Mayweather. Supporters of the sentiment included former Mayweather opponents Manny Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya, but also many figures within the UFC. Two of the most vocal advocates were commentator Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White, both of whom went on record to support the Olympic bronze medalist in Judo in a “no-rules” fight between the two combatants.
Rousey herself believed the same, responding with the following when asked the aforementioned question during a Reddit AMA session in 2015: “Floyd is one of the best boxers of all time. He would definitely beat me in a boxing match. I unfortunately don’t get into ‘matches.’ I fight for a living.
In a no-rules fight, I believe I can beat anyone on this planet. Boxing is a sweet science with strict rules that I respect very much and aspire every day to improve at. But you said ruleless fight, and that’s my honest answer.”
Shortly afterward, Rousey would be on the receiving end of a knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, putting an end to all of the debates. Another knockout loss at the hands of Amanda Nunes at UFC 206 would spell the end of her MMA career, after which she would move to the world of professional wrestling and sign with the WWE. For his part, Rogan would later say that he made a mistake in making such a prediction.
Hindsight being 20/20, those beliefs were a sign that the hype behind Rousey was getting out of hand, but now it is highly unlikely that such predictions will ever be made again.