The effect of reinforcing styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) with functionalized carbon nanotubes on the mechanical and thermal properties of the nanocomposite was investigated. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were functionalized with phenol functional group to enhance their dispersion in SBR matrix. Surface functionalization of the CNTs was carried out using acid treatment and FTIR technique was utilized so as to ascertain the presence of phenol functional group. This was followed with the dispersion of the functionalized CNTs into a polymer solution and a subsequent evaporation of the solvent. This study has demonstrated the inherent capability of CNTs as reinforcing filler as demonstrated by the substantial improvement in Young's Modulus, tensile strength and energy of absorption of the nanocomposites. The tensile strength increased from 0.17 MPa (SBR) to 0.48 MPa while the Young's Modulus increased from 0.25 MPa to 0.83 MPa when 10wt% functionalized CNTs was added. With the addition of 1wt% reinforcement-a peak value of 4.1 KJ energy absorption was obtained. The homogenous dispersion of CNT-Phenol is thought to be responsible for the considerable enhancement in the reported properties. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.