Trash talking goes with sports as peanut butter goes with jelly, especially in a sport where the athletes fight to win. The UFC had its fair share of fantastic trash-talkers, but some guys just raised the bar a level higher.
Here are the eleven best trash talkers in the UFC ever, ranked.
11. Ken Shamrock
It’s only right that Ken Shamrock opens up this list, as we can easily say he’s UFC’s pioneer trash talker. Shamrock fought at the first few UFC events, creating an incredible rivalry with Royce Gracie.
But, he showed off his trash-talking skills a few years later with Tito Ortiz. It started when Ortiz flipped Shamrock off and spurred some trash his way. Ken went rage-mode and delivered some of the best trash talk moments in MMA history before and after their fight.
10. Tito Ortiz
Speaking of the devil, Shamrock’s number one rival, Tito Ortiz, is next on the list. Although he was a successful fighter, his fighting isn’t what made Ortiz so famous. He trash-talked with every fighter he ever faced.
However, his biggest rival wasn’t even Ken Shamrock. It was Chuck Liddell, the legendary Iceman – and their feud is as legendary as any other in MMA history.
9. Quinton Jackson
Rampage Jackson’s most recognizable attribute is his size. However, he was never afraid to spit fire with anybody in the light heavyweight division. That’s what made half the fans love him, and the other half hate him.
He had several legendary disputes with the cream of the light heavyweight division, including Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans.
It was even sweeter when the opponent was willing to retaliate like Evans, giving us some all-time trash talk snippets.
8. Israel Adesanya
Don’t get me wrong; Conor McGregor is the king of his craft regarding trash talking. However, one can certainly see some character traits in Israel Adesanya that resemble the Irish.
He’s borderline cocky with his trash talk and overconfidence. Some fans find him arrogant because of his behavior (for instance, the infamous “hump” on Paulo Costa after knocking him out).
Some, like myself, believe that he backed up his words with action in the Octagon, defeating all the top fighters in the middleweight division.
7. Nick Diaz
Both Nick and Nate Diaz could’ve easily made this list, but I chose the older brother this time because, well, he’s one of the best to talk trash. He never shies away from pointing out the flaws of his opponent and openly mocks them.
He’s confident in his game, so much so that he taunted Anderson Silva, a man with whom many guys were scared to step inside the Octagon. He also had feuds with Frank Shamrock, GSP, and others.
I think what makes him stand out from this crowd is that, no matter how much trash he talked outside the cage, he was even crazier during fights. The Stockton slap, the middle finger, the dancing; he could get under anybody’s skin.
6. Josh Koscheck
Josh Koscheck probably had a lot more haters than fans, but that just means he was a hell of a trash talker. He could get under your skin with a single sentence. However, rarely did Josh stop at one sentence.
Before his fight against Georges St-Pierre, Koscheck openly mocked all Canadians, and the fight was taking place in Montreal. Needless to say, the crowd wasn’t on his side one bit.
Josh was all-bark, no-bite by the end of his career, as he retired on a six-fight losing streak. You know what they say; what comes around, goes around, and knocks you out.
5. Matt Serra
One thing I always loved about Matt Serra and his trash talk game is his sense of humor. Like, he could humiliate you and make you laugh at the same time. However, when it comes to his dispute with another welterweight legend, Matt Hughes, things took a more sour tour.
Serra defeated Georges St-Pierre to become the welterweight champion at UFC 69, but Hughes expressed how he sees Serra’s victory as a “fluke.” The champ didn’t take the words kindly, so a feud was born that lasted through the 6th season of The Ultimate Fighter, where they were the opposing coaches.
I laughed so hard at some comebacks in the show. Ultimately, Hughes walked the walk in the cage, winning a unanimous decision against Serra at UFC 98.
4. Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping is the kind of guy that you either love or hate. He could talk for three hours straight and still find new stuff to talk trash about. His British accent, quick-thinking, and nack for arguing landed him a gig in the UFC’s commentary booth after his fighting days.
The thing is, Bisping got beat up badly numerous times after he had talked trash to the opponent. Still, nobody can deny that he beat all odds by winning the middleweight title at the twilight of his career.
He was a bright smack-talker as a fighter, and he knows how to use his gift of speech in the commentary booth now.
3. Colby Covington
I’m not sure if there’s a way to check this, but Colby Covington might be the most hated athlete of all time, let alone in the MMA. He trash-talks everybody, even guys that aren’t even in the same division.
He once called Brazilian fans “filthy animals” in the middle of Brazil. The guy was lucky to leave the arena after the match.
Even his feud with Kamaru Usman irritates me to the core. He called out Usman for being a Nigerian immigrant in the United States, telling him to go back to where he came from, etc.
He got what he deserved later, but he just might be coming back to try and win that gold, as the rematch is set for UFC 268.
2. Chael Sonnen
Not only was Chael Sonnen a brilliant trash-talker, but he was also a willing one. His trash talk was witty but aggressive, sometimes to a fault. He annoyed me more times than not, but he knew to spit gems now and then that made me crack up.
Also, Sonnen never really cared who the other guy was. Even the top competition like Anderson and Wanderlei Silva, Lyoto Machida, or Rampage Jackson. I love and hate Chael simultaneously, and it’s not a secret he is one of the best trash-talkers the game has ever seen.
1. Conor McGregor
Finally, the number one spot was obvious all along: Conor McGregor revolutionized the game of trash-talking, getting him to the top of the Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Virtually every opponent he had tasted some of that McGregor word venom: Jose Aldo, Nate Diaz, Eddie Alvarez, Khabib Nurmagomedov, to name a few.
His trash talk is what made him famous and what made him the highest-paid MMA fighter ever. Almost every fighter that ever fought against Conor earned the biggest paycheck of their career for that fight.
That just goes to show that, love him or hate him, McGregor is the trash talk kingpin, and I highly doubt there will ever be anybody like him again.