11 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About UFC Fighters

There’s more than meets the eye to these fist-wielding champions of the Octagon. Find out some surprising stories behind the faces of these fighters, and get excited for the first all-female UFC championship fight to take place in the Octagon! Be sure to tune in Saturday Feb. 23rd at 7pm/10pm PT/ET for the UFC 157 US Bantamweight Championship, only on PPV.

1. Ronda Rousey’s “second job” is a veterinary assistant.

Esther Lin/__username__ / Getty Images

It’s true! Pop into the California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) in Los Angeles to see her giving acupuncture to animals in need. But don’t think this affects her toughness outside the Octagon — Rousey once beat up two thugs in a movie theater.

2. Liz Carmouche was a helicopter electrician in the United States Marine Corps.

Josh Hedges/__username__ / Getty Images

She spent five years in service, and completed three tours of duty before turning her attention to MMA fighting.

3. Jon Jones was the first MMA fighter to be sponsored by Nike on a global scale.

Al Bello/__username__ / Getty Images

In August of 2012, Jones became the first fighter to be sponsored by the iconic sports label in an international way. UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva already had a deal with Nike Brazil, but Jones’s contract is the first of its kind because it includes an all-new MMA clothing line.

4. Lyoto Machida is one of the least hit fighters in UFC history.

Josh Hedges/__username__ / Getty Images

In 2009, it was widely reported that Machida was the least hit fighter in the history of the organization, absorbing just 47 strikes over 83 minutes in the Octagon.

5. Dan Henderson represented America in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics.

Josh Hedges/__username__ / Getty Images

Dan Henderson was an NCAA wrestler who also went to the Summer Olympics — once in Barcelona in 1992, and again in Atlanta in 1996.

6. Shane Carwin (“Engineer”) has only had one fight go to decision.

Josh Hedges/__username__ / Getty Images

Essentially, Carwin has won every fight of his career by knocking the other guy out or holding, choking, or punching him into submission. He’s only lost twice, once in decision. And in 2009, no one had even lasted more than a couple of minutes in the ring with him. Did we mention he has a degree in mechanical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and another degree in environmental technology from Western State College?

7. Court McGee pulled off the ultimate comeback.

Mark Kolbe / Getty Images

Court McGee has had a miraculous comeback from a struggle with addiction, but not before he almost died of an overdose in his Cousin’s home. His mother Noel, a registered nurse, found him passed out and concluded he was clinically dead. Luckily, a nearby team of paramedics was able to quickly revive him. He’s been clean since 2006 and now uses his story to encourage other who are struggling with addiction.

8. Caros Fodor has a brother who is also an MMA fighter — and a real-life superhero.

Anthony Bolante / Reuters

Caros Fodor once wanted to be a homicide detective and did a tour in Kuwait in the Marines, but he’s not the only hero in the family. His brother is Ben Fodor, better known as Phoenix Jones, a leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement in Seattle. It’s a ten-member citizen crime prevention patrol, consisting of ordinary civilians all with military or MMA backgrounds.

9. Lavar Johnson survived a random shooting that kept him out of the ring for almost a year.

Esther Lin/Forza LLC/__username__

Lavar Johnson was just enjoying a family reunion in Bakersfield, California when tragedy struck: a teenaged gunmen approached the front lawn and fired on the crowd, striking five random people. Johnson was hit in the abdomen and was said to be between serious and critical condition in the following days. He survived, and a year later — thanks to hard work and determination — he was back in action.

10. Tim Kennedy was in the U.S. Army Special Forces for eight years…

Esther Lin/Forza LLC/__username__

Tim Kennedy is one of the only Americans ever to serve his country and fight professionally in the UFC. He was awarded a Bronze Star for valor under fire.

11. …and similarly, Paulo Thiago is a member of Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal and works for BOPE, a special forces unit in Brazil.

Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/__username__ / Getty Images

Paulo is actually fighting on two fronts — in the Octagon, and against criminals and injustice in his home country of Brazil as a member of the special forces unit known as BOPE. “When society needs help, they call the police. When police need help, they call BOPE.”

Now that you know some of the participants, tune in Saturday to witness history in the making… click the poster to see the full card.

The UFC will make history on Saturday, February 23rd. Undefeated superstar “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey defends her UFC bantamweight title against Marine Corps veteran Liz Carmouche in the first women’s fight ever in the UFC Octagon.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!