From Shoryuken Wiki, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Strategy and More!
Japan Vs. USA Naming
Many Street Fighter fans are already aware of this, but the names of the three of the characters are actually switched around when you are looking at the game from the U.S. or the game from Japan. When Street Fighter II was first originally released, there were four boss characters: the boxer from the U.S., the Spaniard with the mask and claw, the Muay Thai kickboxer, and the evil dictator with the hat from Thailand. In America, we know these characters as Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison.
However, in Japan, these characters were originally names M. Bison, Balrog, Sagat, and Vega in that order. So the boxer was M. Bison, the Spaniard was Balrog, and the dictator was Vega. Apparently, someone feared a lawsuit from Mike Tyson, since the boxer looked exactly like him and had such a similar name in M. Bison. So they swapped the names around... you know, it wasn't a big deal, right?
Who knew Street Fighter would have become the cultural phenomenon it did? As a result, this name mix-up has been plaguing the Street Fighter community for years and years. Some people don't know who you are referring to when you say, "Vega." Do you mean the guy with the claw? Or the dictator?
And so, to make things easier on people, nicknames started making their rounds throughout the Street Fighter culture, mostly started by NKI when discussing Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The three characters who had their names swapped were now referred to as Boxer, Claw, and Dictator as opposed to their names. This made sure you knew who anyone was talking about when they said "Vega" or "Balrog."
Some people have gotten very used to these nicknames. This is being brought up mostly because:
This guide will not use those nicknames.
Instead, the U.S. names that we are familiar with will be used because most people who are just getting into Street Fighter, and a lot of Street Fighter IV players are relatively new to the scene, do not know about the name swap. So this is a warning to everyone: characters will be referred to by their American names throughout this FAQ. This includes Akuma, who is known as "Gouki" in Japan. So please just be aware of this. Thank you.