Goodbye ‘Pooh Bear’, Hello “The Butcher’ at UFC Vegas 66

Bryan Battle, UFC Vegas 59
Bryan Battle, UFC Vegas 59 post-fight Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

On The Ultimate Fighter 29, we were introduced to a young prospect nicknamed ‘Pooh Bear’. The North Carolina native was Team Volkanovski’s very last pick and wasn’t given much of a chance to win the show. That quickly became a silly assumption as Battle ran through the show and quickly became a fan favorite. Although the unique nickname may have been part of what drew fans to him in the first place, Battle is ready to shed that nickname for another ‘The Butcher’.

“Here’s the thing, ‘Pooh Bear’ was a great nickname for a while. It served its purpose – it helped me stand out because it was an interesting name,” Battle said. “But I just feel like I grew out of it, you know what I’m saying? I’m not that guy anymore.”

Fresh off of a nasty head kick KO over Takashi Sato, Battle was ready to embrace his violent side, which is part of where the new moniker comes from.

“With the violence and the finality that I’m going to start fighting with, [The Butcher] just felt appropriate,” he said. “I listened to a lot of Benny the Butcher and it just sounded good. Bryan ‘The Butcher’ Battle – I can picture Bruce Buffer saying it.”

While Battle loves the ring it has to it and how fitting it is to his fighting style, he’s aware it’s not a universal hit for everyone. In fact, some of those close to him aren’t a fan.

“I lot of people didn’t like it… one of my head coaches, my mom, random people on the internet,” The Butcher said with a laugh. “That’s okay, I like it.”

We’ll get to hear the announcers test out that nickname for the first time when Battle faces Rinat Fakhretdinov at UFC Vegas 66. That fight takes place on the ESPN+ prelims.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 32:25.