Verbal and mental warfare is an integral part of fighting. It's the art of imposing yourself your opponent and destroy the other person's confidence or bring them out of their element and nullify their physical or technical prowess. In a way, it is the art of fighting before the actual fight. Trash talking and trading insults is a legitimate skill in the art of professional fighting and in today's day and age it is a very useful skill to have under one's belt.
Talking and trading insults has always been a part of fighting when it is pre-decided as to who will fight whom and this is where the game of trash-talking comes in. It is more so relevant in combat sports and MMA since it's not just about the fight but rather it is also about selling the fight and getting people to watch the actual fight. And people love to watch a trained killer who's also good with words. It is the main reason why Conor McGregor is as big of a star as he his or why Colby Covington got his title shot after beating just one fighter in the top 5.
Irrespective of whether you are a hardcore or a casual fan, everyone is drawn to a trash-talker. You might love them or hate them, but you'll definitely watch them fight. It is in this era of global audience that the trash-talkers are more relevant because it is them who get the eyes on the sport. Be it the brashness and magnanimity of someone like Conor McGregor or Brock Lesnar, or the straight out hood talk of the Diaz brothers, trash talk are and have always been the ones who make the sport grow in popularity. So, here are the top 10 best UFC trash talkers of all time.
#10- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The Polish superstar, the longtime former straw-weight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk kicks off our list at #10. One of the most dominant UFC champions of all time and arguably the most decorated woman in the sport of MMA, Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a master at verbal and mental warfare too. Joanna oozes confidence every time she graces the spot light and never shies away from a verbal jab or two. Her press conferences before her fights with Claudia Gadelha and also her verbal onslaught at the reigning champion Rose Namajunas are testaments of Joanna's prowess on the mic.
Joanna is very witty and funny in her talking and she mixes it up beautifully with her intense stare-downs. She's always in her opponent's face and always imposes herself as the 'boogeywoman' as she calls herself. Rose Namajunas herself confessed on the Joe Rogan podcast that Joanna was successful in getting in her head and though the fight didn't go her way, Joanna certainly won the pre-fight mental battle. Here are some of Joanna's witty trash talk moments and intense stare-downs.
#9 Khabib Nurmagomedov
Surprised? Yes, it is indeed the Dagestani gangster Khabib 'The Eagle' Nurmagomedov at #9 in our list. Despite, his statement that he doesn't like or appreciate trash talking, Khabib is pretty good at the game himself. Khabib is never usually the one to instigate his opponents, but once provoked the Eagle can surely hold his own.
Khabib's trash talking is unique in the way that he'll talk to you while beating the brakes out of you. He doesn't talk a lot in press conferences but he never stops talking when he's on top of you raining down hammers. We all remember him talking to Michael Johnson while he beat him up against the cage saying 'You have to give up!'. Also in his fight against Conor McGregor, he delivered another trash-talking spectacle when he repeatedly kept on saying 'Let's talk now' to Conor while he dominated him.
Khabib's calm and confident mannerism is what makes his talk all the more interesting coupled with the fact that we all know that he will deliver inside the cage. Khabib has also given us one of the greatest quotes of all time when asked about Conor McGregor getting the title shot on Eddie Alvarez ahead of him by saying 'This is number one bullshit'. The hilarious one-liner has been a staple of the Russian star ever since.
His verbal assaults of Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor are always memorable. And who can forget his epic callout of Conor McGregor calling him 'Chicken' in front of an Irish crowd in Brooklyn at UFC 205.
#8 Brock Lesnar
The WWE superstar and the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar ranks at #8 in our list. Brock Lesnar brings a brashness and a charisma that is rarely matched by any other fighter to ever compete in the UFC.
Brock Lesnar's rivalry with Frank Mir brought out some of the best Lesnar moments when he verbally and later physically bashed Mir to retain the Heavyweight title. Lesnar is very intimidating in his mannerisms and he never minces words about people whom he doesn't like. His verbal battles against Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem are classic old school trash talking spectacles. Brock Lesnar was again at his best when he stormed the octagon at UFC 226 after Daniel Cormier had just beaten Stipe Miocic to become the Heavyweight Champion of the world. Brock went on a verbal rampage calling all the Heavyweight's ' a piece of s**t' and declaring that he is returning to reclaim his belt from Cormier.
When rumors about Conor McGregor coming over to the WWE to fight Brock started surfacing Brock delivered another classic by saying "I weigh 290 lbs. He weighs 145 lbs if he eats his wheaties. I take s**ts bigger than that guy".
All in all Brock Lesnar has delivered some of the most entertaining moments in the UFC and takes the #8 spot for that.
#7 Nate Diaz
Straight outta Stockton, the younger Diaz brother, Nate Diaz takes the #7 spot on our list.
Nate's trash talking is just straight out of the hood. He's not witty like a few others on this list but he always delivers raw insults at his opponents. Nate's epic post-fight callout to Conor McGregor after beating Michael Johnson is fresh in everyone's memory and it is one of the best post-fight callouts of all time.
Nate Diaz is at his best when he's reacting to other's trash talking. Firstly, it doesn't affect him and secondly, he always comes back with epic counters like when he lashed out at Conor's McGregor's movement coach Ido Portal saying that Conor's playing 'touch-butt in the park' with him while Nate is training. One of the most entertaining fighters on the roster, Nate Diaz's quotes and trash-talk moments are some of the finest and most entertaining verbal highlights of the UFC all-time.
#6 Colby Covington
The King of Chaos as he likes to call himself, Colby Covington takes the #6 spot on our list. There has been no fighter in the history of the sport, let alone the UFC who managed to annoy and make an enemy out of an entire nation in one post-fight speech other than Covington. Easily the most hated fighter on the roster, Colby Covington is the ultimate 'heel' you will ever see.
It is fair to say that Colby legitimately made his name and got the interim title shot against Rafael Dos Anjos through his legendary trash talking rather than his actual performances. But when the time came, the man delivered without grinding the grinder RDA. Colby has been on a rampage ever since he got noticed. Colby Covington will stop at nothing to agitate his opponent and get in his head. Be it racist comments or downright personal attacks, Covington is relentless with his trash-talk game. Colby carries himself as the ultimate bully. Colby Covington will put out tweets, make videos with pornstars, make videos of him beating up Tyron Woodley, and he will continue to do it till the fight he wants is made.
From calling Tyron Woodley as 'Tyquil' cause according to Covington he makes the audience go to sleep, to calling the entire country of Brazil a 'dump'; Colby Covington has surely put on some of the best and some of the most appalling trash-talk ever heard in the UFC.
#5 Dominick Cruz
One of the most intelligent fighters to compete in the UFC is also one of the most witty and funny trash talkers in the game. Dominick Cruz has a very different style of insulting his opponents than a lot of others in this list, but he does a mighty fine job at it. Cruz's cool and calm demeanor and his sharp comebacks during press conferences have tipped a lot of challengers over the edge before the fight.
Dominick Cruz has had legendary rivals with whom he's shared some classic moments on the mic. Be it the rivalry with team alpha-male with Urijah Faber and Cody Garbrandt or with the reigning Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw, a Dominick Cruz press conference or interview is bound to be fun. From calling Urijah Faber having 'T-Rex' arms to saying the he though Cody Garbrandt was CM Punk because he didn't know who Cody was, Dominick Cruz always pushes the right buttons and almost always wins the verbal battle.
#4 Nick Diaz
A legend and pioneer of the sport and the elder of the famed Diaz brothers, Nick Diaz is ranked at #4 on our list. No list about trash-talkers in the UFC can be complete without the pot-smoking, stockton-slapping, jiu-jitsu wizard Nick Diaz. Diaz has been one of the most entertaining fighters to watch through his long career. Whether he is on the mic or in the octagon, fans simply love the energy and the attitude that Nick Diaz brings.
Nick's post-fight interviews and press conferences are stuff of highlight reels and any hardcore or casual fan is well aware of the swagger of Nick Diaz. His callout of GSP for a title fight is famous in the UFC history books and so is his quote of "Don't be scared, Homie".
Nick Diaz, much like his younger brother Nate always keeps it real and never shies away from flipping off opponents, journalists, promoters and that is the main reason he is the fan favourite he is.
#3 Michael Bisping
The OG of British MMA, Michel 'The Count' Bisping is #3 on our list with his never-ending bag of insults. Bisping is one of the guys who began the culture of trash-talking by being brash and outspoken on the mic and has been a polarising figure in MMA all throughout his career.
The list of people who've been at the receiving end of Bisping's trash talk is probably longer than wins on Artem Lobov's record. Bisping has had epic verbal battles with Luke Rockhold, GSP, Hector Lombard, Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva, Yoel Romero, Jorge Masvidal, Vitor Belfort, and the list goes on. He called Hector Lombard a 'midget', Anderson Silva a 'dirty cheat', GSP that he'd been abducted and impregnated by aliens and Chael Sonnen that he's a 'jester'. Whomever Bisping has faced, he has absolutely owned verbally, with the exception of Chael Sonnen, who's also one of the greatest trash talkers of all time.
Michael Bisping brought his Brit humor into the UFC and people were not too familiar with it. Coupled with his exceptional skills in the cage, Michael Bisping became one of the biggest and baddest stars in the UFC and continues to be a prolific figure on the analyst desk.
A testament to Bisping's trash talk highlight is that the man has a 7-part highlight reel playlist of his trash talks that you can check out below.
#2 Conor McGregor
Without a doubt the biggest superstar in combat sports history, the most recognizable fighter in the world, the Notorious Conor McGregor is ranked at #2 on our all-time best trash talkers list.
Conor McGregor has transcended the game into new heights with his performances in the octagon and more so with his verbal warfare and epic promotion of fights. When Conor is fighting an opponent the war begins right at the time the fight is announced. Conor is very intelligent with his trash talking game and delivers cerebral insults and almost always finds a way to get into his opponent's head. Much like his fighting, McGregor's trash talk game is very strategically executed. He puts meticulous effort in doing research on his opponents and finds out the exact points which will flip his opponent's switches.
What's really special about Conor McGregor and what separates him from other fighters is the amount of hype he creates in each fight. Never in the history have we seen the type of excitement and anticipation for a fight, the way a Conor McGregor fight brings about. There are countless memorable Conor quotes be it the 'red panty night' quote that he immortalised of the sheer destruction of Jeremy Stephens with one line saying "Who the **** is that guy?!"
Conor is witty, funny and intense at the same time. He will flash his money, his big cars, his tailor-made suits, his whiskey and carry a larger than life aura which has never been seen before and unleash a relentless assault of verbal and mental warfare on his opponents. He will predict fights and then deliver. 'Mystic Mac' is truly special and one of the best, if not the best of all time.
#1 Chael Sonnen
The American Gangster, the ultimate bad guy, Chael Sonnen tops our list as the best trash talker of all time.
Chael Sonnen's verbal game is on another level to the other fighters on this list, Conor McGregor included. Sonnen is extremely witty and funny with his insults and rarely uses swear words to lash out insults. Yet, Sonnen will lash out carefully thought out insults at his opponents, which sometimes require you to take a step back and think on to truly appreciate.
Chael Sonnen will not mince words and will stop at nothing to destroy his opponent's mental peace before the fight and rile them up. He will talk about career, family, country, and anything that comes to his mind to infuriate his opponents and entertain the fans. Chael Sonnen is so witty and good with his words that the man would create poems and rhymes on spot to talk trash. Chael presents himself larger than life and delivers every time he is on the mic. If it's a Chael Sonnen press conference, you can very well guarantee it's going to be entertaining no matter who he's up against.
Because of his witty style and the fact that Chael Sonnen almost never has to actually swear to insult his opponents and sheer wit and creativity he will absolutely destroy his opponents, Sonnen tops our list as the best trash talker of all time.