Long gone are the days when someone had to be bigger than George Foreman or own a scowl like Mike Tyson to strike fear in everyone, everywhere. Royce Gracie's unassuming, pajama-clad domination in the early UFC days started a trend of deceiving bad dudes. They may not look like "Kid Dynamite," but they sure know how to dish out some explosives. Martial arts nerds have been around since Bruce Lee posters were available at local record shops, and now, an elite few have graduated from watching fighting on VHS to kicking ass in high definition.
This 135-pound Georgia native has a haircut most give up by age 13. A quiet Southern boy, Bowles also worked as a sales representative for Pepsi Cola. There’s nothing more American -- and in this case, nerdy -- than soda pop.
With only three years of mixed martial arts training, though, Bowles is 7-0 overall and undefeated in four WEC appearances, where he has finished four world-ranked opponents. He may only be 5-foot-7, but he moonlights as a bouncer back in Georgia. He was also a police officer in his home state. In the cage or in the streets, crossing Bowles is a true health hazard. Don’t let this WEC bantamweight title contender’s straight-and-narrow looks fool you, and don’t let him guillotine you either.
The UFC’s Web site lists Tamdan McCrory’s strengths as “awkwardly strong” and “deceiving appearance.” Translation: Don’t judge Tamdan Wade McCrory on his pasty, lanky frame and glasses.
He started fighting because of “pent up rage” from being a self-admitted nerdy kid and met his trainer through MySpace. A 3-2 UFC record is also deceiving. “The Barn Cat,” 6-foot-4 and one of the sizeable welterweights in the UFC at just 22 years old, is among the UFC’s brightest 170-pound prospects.
Despite competing for mixed martial arts’ most prominent organization, McCrory has no luck with the ladies. The bad luck prompted him to audition for VH1’s “The Pick-Up Artist” reality dating show. Topping his own nerdiness, the native New Yorker dedicated his televised post-fight victory speech at UFC 96 to critiquing his entrance music rather than use the time to thank friends or family. He stated he wanted to enter the Octagon to Metalocalypse’s “Thunderhorse” from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Then the former librarian worker implored fans to listen to the track. McCrory is expected to return to action in August, likely revealing more of his geeky gems in the process.