Often before a big fight, there’s talk of “which version” of a fighter will show up. This isn’t just idle speculation of how prepared or motivated a mixed martial artist will be, but actually refers to the fact that certain fighters, through various means, often moonlight as other competitors. What follows is a completely real and serious look at just a few of these fighters, since one of them will be competing in the main event of UFC 196.
A quick caveat: this list only chronicles non-related fighters in different weight classes. Any time two fighters in the same division look similar, like Urijah Faber and Liz Carmouche, that’s clearly a case of identical cousins.
Patrick “Paddy” Holohan to “The Notorious” Conor McGregor to Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett
This fighter strain starts out with plenty of heart, but isn’t that effective in the cage. After a few battles and some luck, you can upgrade your Holohan into the brash, cocky McGregor and he learns the deadly Straight Left. Even an average trainer should be able to win Gym Championships with a McGregor.
McGregor does sometimes struggle against ground-type fighters, so you can upgrade again into a Barnett, sacrificing earning power for catch wrestling. The Double Wristlock is a good move to teach your Barnett, but keep it away from shady doctors, otherwise Barnett will be banned from competition. While not necessary, also prevent Barnett from getting too close to anime stores unless you want Josh to reference Fist of the North Star in every sentence.
Zach “Fun Size” Makovsky to “Irish” Joe Duffy to Matt “Meat Head” Mitrione
This entry is a corrupted version of the fighter strain above. You can tell by the flyweight, Irish featherweight, and heavyweight evolutionary path. Makovsky starts out stronger than a Holohan, but that’s about where the advantages end.
An evolved Duffy can beat a McGregor, but the encounteres are extremely rare, and usually only happen when both haven’t been fully trained. For some larger foes a Mitrione is a good choice, but it’s prone to having its own words backfire on itself, and is very susceptible to Blind attacks, even moreso than Duffy.
Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon to Stefan “Sky Scraper” Struve
Joe Lauzon is a solid striker and grappler, but sometimes just doesn’t have the size to deal with larger opponents. By using the ancient words “INYUK CHUK!”, Lauzon doubles in size and becomes Stefan Struve. Unfortunately, Struve still fights like he’s got the same reach as Lauzon, so smaller opponents can easily get inside on him.
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt to Brandon “Rukus” Thatch
Brandon “Rukus” Thatch is a solid welterweight, despite his original terrible hairstyle. He had some early success, but quickly ran into a problem – a tiny guy. After falling to a former lightweight champ, Thatch got a haircut and looked into getting tiny himself. He didn’t have Rick Moranis for a dad, so the chance to get shrunk through those means was out of the question. It’s rumored that he started experimenting with size-altering cakes and drinks, but there’s no hard evidence to that fact. However, it was around that time that an equally tattooed and handsome bantamweight by the name of Cody Garbrandt entered the UFC, and he’s remained undefeated. Curiouser and curiouser.
Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch to “Big Ben” Rothwell
Boetsch is a decent enough fighter, and can even take a ferocious beating and come back to win a battle. However, for true fear-inducing potential, it takes a Space Witch to hurl her scepter at Boetsch to command him to grow into the monstrous Rothwell. With a deafening cackle and an unstoppable sleep spell, Rothwell wreaks havoc on all who stand in his way, stopping only to dance, dance, dance!
As stated above, this is an incomplete listing, so always be on the look out for more fighters that look like other fighters. Researchers tried to link Chris Cariaso to Renan Barao and even Liam McGeary, but they were devoured by a goblin horde. Luckily, anti-size transmogrification testing is only getting better, so it should be just a matter of time before all of these cheaters get caught by USADA, WADA and INNA GODDA DAVIDA.