Despite being better known for his podcast, Joe Rogan’s work as a commentator with the UFC is still highly regarded and respected. Often, even former and current UFC fighters can’t quite match Joe Rogan’s analysis.
One telling feature of Joe Rogan’s analysis and commentary has always been his brutal honesty, as he refuses to mince his words, even when faced with some of the world’s best fighters.
Joe Rogan’s feelings are not always spot on, of course, but given he’s been around the UFC since the promotion’s early years, his opinions are arguably more valid than your average fan. And this means UFC fighters often take his words to heart.
With this in mind, here are five times that Joe Rogan was brutally honest in the UFC.
#5. Joe Rogan says CM Punk has no athletic talent
When former WWE champion CM Punk signed to fight in the UFC in late 2014, it came as a huge shock to UFC fans around the world. Punk had been one of the biggest stars in WWE’s recent history, but he also had no legitimate martial arts background and was already in his late 30’s when he made the move to MMA.
However, the UFC itself seemed to take the move seriously, pushing Punk’s octagon debut against fellow neophyte Mickey Gall as a big deal. One man who was never really convinced by Punk’s chances, though? Joe Rogan.
Punk lost to Gall in one-sided fashion at UFC 203, and despite the experiment seemingly being over, just under two years later, it was announced that the former WWE star was coming back for another go-around.
Punk was matched with Mike Jackson on the main card at UFC 225, something that clearly didn’t sit well with Joe Rogan.
In a podcast interview with Brendan Schaub, Joe Rogan suggested that he understood why Punk vs. Jackson – supposedly the “worst fight in UFC history from a skill standpoint” – was being promoted over fights like Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem.
However, he also stated that Punk’s drawing ability would’ve been damaged by his loss to Gall. Later in the interview, Joe Rogan compared Punk’s attempts at making it in the UFC to climbing Everest without a guide.
Punk, of course, lost to Jackson by unanimous decision in what was a largely disappointing fight, and after UFC 225, Joe Rogan was unsurprisingly candid again. This time he stated that Punk was a very nice guy and a hard worker but had no athletic talent.
It’s safe to say that Joe Rogan takes the UFC very seriously – and in his mind, no pretenders ought to be welcome.
#4. Joe Rogan tells Gray Maynard that he was knocked out
As well as providing color commentary during major UFC events, Joe Rogan has also become renowned over the years for interviewing UFC fighters in the direct aftermath of fights.
This hasn’t come without its fair share of controversy, as Rogan has been criticized at times for interviewing fighters after they’ve suffered a devastating loss, particularly if that loss has come by knockout.
Strangely though, one of the most brutally honest moments from Joe Rogan came during an interview with a fighter who seemed to believe he’d won – despite his fight actually being declared a no contest.
The fight in question saw Gray Maynard debut in the UFC against fellow TUF 5 castmate Robert Emerson. After an entertaining first round, Maynard began to take control of the fight in the second – and when he slammed Emerson to the ground, ‘The Saint’ tapped out due to suffering a rib injury.
However, what Emerson didn’t know was that Maynard’s head had connected with the mat on the way down, knocking him out cold. This meant that technically, neither fighter had won.
And so despite Maynard believing he’d claimed the victory, it was down to Joe Rogan to break the bad news to him in the post-fight interview.
Showing Maynard a replay of the finish, Rogan explained that ‘The Bully’ had hit his head, stating “bang, you hit your head, you’re out” before telling Maynard, “your eyes are rolling, you’re totally unconscious.”
Maynard continued to protest, but it was clear that in this instance, Joe Rogan was not only brutally honest – he was actually correct.
#3. Joe Rogan suggests Chase Hooper made it to the UFC too early
Joe Rogan has never fought professionally despite training at a high level in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and tae kwon do. However, that hasn’t stopped the UFC commentator from being brutally honest about the skills offered by some of the fighters inside the octagon.
One fighter who came under fire from Rogan was featherweight prospect Chase Hooper. ‘The Dream’ signed with the UFC in 2019 when he was still just 19 years old, making him the youngest fighter ever signed by the promotion.
However, with that youth came plenty of inexperience, particularly in the striking realm. And despite winning his first fight in the octagon over Daniel Teymur, Hooper came under fire from Joe Rogan in his third UFC appearance.
Struggling to keep up with the striking skills of his opponent Peter Barrett, Hooper appeared to be in trouble, with Rogan stating that his leg was “done” due to Barrett’s leg kicks and that he needed to pull guard to survive.
And later on, Rogan also suggested that a career in the UFC might’ve come too soon for Hooper, after discussing his limitations on the feet with fellow commentator Daniel Cormier.
Rogan stated that the method of building a prospect in boxing – essentially “putting (the fighter) against guys (they’re) supposed to beat” – might be better than the system used in MMA, and that it might be better for Hooper’s career were he not in the UFC.
Hooper himself went on to state that it felt “brutal” to hear Cormier and Rogan, two people he looked up to, discussing his fighting skills in this fashion.
However, he also suggested that he knew himself that he needed to improve his striking skills – making this an example of Joe Rogan’s brutal honesty helping a fighter’s overall future prospects.
#2. Joe Rogan puts Mike Goldberg in his place while discussing Travis Lutter
While both Jon Anik and Brendan Fitzgerald have now been largely accepted as the UFC’s main play-by-play men, longtime fans of the promotion will probably still hold a soft spot for Mike Goldberg.
The veteran play-by-play man departed the UFC in late 2016, but it’s safe to say that over the years, he made some highly memorable calls, usually alongside his commentating partner Joe Rogan.
However, fans would often criticize Goldberg for some of his more hyperbolic claims during UFC events. And perhaps one of the reasons his partnership with Joe Rogan was so beloved was that Rogan would simply not let him get away with such moments.
One example of Rogan’s brutal honesty towards Goldberg came at UFC 67 in February 2007. That event was headlined by what should’ve been a UFC middleweight title bout between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Travis Lutter, only for the fight to become a non-title bout when Lutter missed weight.
That didn’t stop Goldberg talking up his chances, though, and so during his entrance, Lutter was somehow referred to as “the Michael Jordan of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.”
Joe Rogan – immediately recognizing that the statement was basically nonsense despite Lutter’s black belt and substantial skills on the mat – simply fired back by saying, “no, he’s not.”
Goldberg then attempted to compare Lutter to Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant, only for Rogan to refute those claims too. And of course, after the fight – which saw Silva submit Lutter with a triangle choke – it became painfully clear that Rogan’s brutal honesty was also completely correct in this instance.
#1. Joe Rogan gets brutally honest with Brendan Schaub about his UFC title prospects
Perhaps the most brutal honesty we’ve seen from Joe Rogan came during a 2014 podcast interview with his good friend and then-UFC heavyweight contender Brendan Schaub.
At the time, Schaub was still a highly rated UFC heavyweight, but despite beating opponents like Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga, he’d never quite been able to climb into the UFC title picture.
And when he lost to Travis Browne via TKO at UFC 181, Joe Rogan clearly felt that it was time to offer his friend some advice, despite the fact that it was going to be pretty tough for him to take.
Rogan essentially criticized Schaub’s fighting ability – stating that he was not close to the elite fighters in the division like Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos and often didn’t seem prepared for his fights.
In turn, this led to a suggestion that Schaub’s commitment to the sport perhaps wasn’t as total as it needed to be to ever compete with those elite fighters.
And after telling Schaub that he loved him, he suggested that because of the potential brain trauma involved in MMA, ‘The Hybrid’ would be better off accepting that he would never make it to the top of the UFC – and should hang his gloves up instead of taking more damage.
The discussion was highly uncomfortable to listen to, but it evidently had an effect on Schaub. ‘The Hybrid’ never fought in MMA again, officially announcing his retirement in 2015.