When Royce Gracie shocked the world by winning the inaugural tournament of UFC in 1993, there wasn’t any trash talking that you see today. Both Gracie and the other competitors seemed respectful to each other as they made history that night. How the times have changed since then. If there is anything we learned in the past few years about the UFC, it's that talking trash is no longer limited to those unique athletes that actually had the fortitude to verbally assassinate their opponents.
For example, Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa just had a battle at UFC Fight Night: Chiesa versus Lee in June and both guys tried to hype up the fight. The only problem is each fighter is absolutely terrible at trash talking. We can’t really blame them for trying because it seems the UFC awards fighters for talking trash and getting more clicks and eyes on the sport than the actual guys that just show up, kick some tail, and go home.
Maybe we should blame Conor McGregor for the excessive trash talking in the sport now. After all, he did transcend into pop culture because he could back up his words with actions. This list has two sides, those who could back up their trash talking and those who can’t. A lot of these fighters have won major matches, however, when it came to the biggest fights of their careers, they couldn’t cash the checks their mouths wrote. Enjoy.
15 Can - Joanna Jędrzejczyk
With a perfect record of 14-0 (8-0 UFC), Jedrzejczyk absolutely backs up her trash talking. Before beating Carla Esparza for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship, she claimed, “After next Saturday, you can call me Joanna Champion.” She also went out of her way to give Esparza a cookie at the weigh-ins due to Esparza’s nickname being “The Cookie Monster.”
At the weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night 69, she tried to give Jessica Penne a noodle necklace as a gift. Who says you need to curse to get your trash talking points across? Not even Ronda Rousey could pull off the creativity Jedrzejczyk has shown in the last few years outside the Octagon. With five title defenses under her belt to date, it may take a while before anyone dethrones this Queen.
14 Can't - Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Quinton Jackson has backed up his words with a lot of wins but the problem is he talks trash during the big fights and ends up losing them. He would verbally slay Rashad Evans before their match at UFC 114 in 2010 but ended up losing the fight. After back-to-back wins, Jackson would once again shoot his mouth off leading up to UFC 135 against the Light Heavyweight Champion at the time, Jon Jones.
Jackson would get embarrassed in that fight as well and has not been in the main event of a UFC card since. He’s now in Bellator and recently lost to Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 175 in March. Do you think he talked trash leading up to that fight as well? If you guessed yes, you’re correct.
13 Can - Donald Cerrone
“The Cowboy”Cerrone is willing to take on anyone in a fight at any time and he can also back up the trash talking. With a record of 32-8-1, Cerrone has been the one constant in a Lightweight Division that has seen many changes in the last year or two. He shows up, talks trash, gets the win, and then asks for another fight.
Cerrone doesn’t usually start the trash talking but once the words are flying around you can bet he'll take part in it. In regards to Conor McGregor, he was quoted as saying, “They line us all up in a line, but they take Conor and they put him off in another room because he can't be around the other fighters because we don't play that s***.”
12 Can't - Daniel Cormier
You may be asking yourself why the Light Heavyweight Champion is on this side of the list, two words, Jon Jones. Cormier tries to talk trash but fails horribly at even doing it right. As one of the worst trash talkers, when he did talk trash to Jones, he got whooped by the former champion convincingly.
At 19-1, Cormier can back it up but once again we would like to point out when it comes to Jon Jones (the only person he tries to trash talk), he can’t defeat him. As an analyst for Fox Sports, Cormier gets hours upon hours of time to take subtle jabs at Jones but everyone knows when these two meet up again, it’s going to be another “L” for the champ.
11 Can - Dominick Cruz
Cruz lost his Bantamweight Championship to one hungry young blood in Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, however, before that fight, he was the king of the division. Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw, and even Flyweight Kingpin and champion Demetrious Johnson felt the wrath of Cruz’s trash talking. A lot of fighters use Twitter or press conferences as avenues for their trash talking but Cruz uses television to back up his words.
He would trash Dillashaw on The MMA Hour in 2015, calling him fake and not a true brother to the guys he trains with. He also told Faber his chin (cleft chin) was flapping when he was trying to talk trash and even has teased talking trash to Conor McGregor. With a record of 22-2, most of Cruz’s opponents had to eat their own crow after the fight was over.
10 Can't - Josh Koscheck
Josh Koscheck was born to be the bad guy. He would become a national name as a participant in the inaugural season of UFC’s reality television series, The Ultimate Fighter in 2005. Even on television, he was trash talking and was part of the notorious prank involving Chris Leben, but couldn’t win the competition.
Although he failed to be in the final match on the show, he did have a pretty solid career in the UFC until a major losing streak started in 2012. The problem with Koscheck is he would talk trash in the biggest fights of his career but end up losing the match. George St. Pierre, Johny Hendricks, and Robbie Lawler would all beat him in high profile fights. Recently, Koscheck also lost by TKO to Mauricio Alonso in his first Bellator fight this year.
9 Can - Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz literally getting spanked by Randy Couture in the Octagon wasn’t one of his highest moments in his life and neither was the time Chuck Liddell whooped him all over the mat, however, the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy”could be considered the Godfather of talking trash and that’s why he’s on this side of the list. If you’re new to MMA or didn’t watch the sport during the turn of the century, you wouldn’t realize how much trash talking Ortiz has contributed to the sport. Just watch UFC 19 when he beat Ken Shamrock’s protégé, Guy Mezger.
Even in 2017, he’s still trash talking, as people saw during the lead up to his fight with Chael Sonnen in Bellator earlier this year. It’s really a flip of the coin with Ortiz, with a record of 19-12-1, you can’t really say he backed up every fight but for the most part he has.
8 Can't - Chael Sonnen
The "American Gangster" won his last fight against Wanderlei Silva and definitely backed up his trash talking, however, Sonnen has also been a big letdown after saying the most outrageous things. There has always been trash talking in the sport, but Sonnen took it to another level when he would face Anderson Silva (Middleweight Champion at the time) at UFC 117 in 2010.
He deserves all the credit for tapping into that trash talking market that fans crave for today, but he still lost that match with Silva. He literally took it a level above the rest at the time, taking swings at Silva’s wife and the nation of Brazil. If you had to pick one person that extended their career on the basis of their mouth in MMA, Sonnen is that guy.
7 Can - Diaz Brothers
We’re not talking about the Diaz brothers from the epic Oliver Stone film, Scarface, but Nick and Nate Diaz of the UFC. Both brothers are not only known for trash talking but also backing it up. Each one has an impressive record as well as stellar wins that guarantee Hall of Fame status. The one accolade they’re both missing is a UFC Championship belt but that doesn’t stop them from the trash talking.
Each brother has proudly erected their middle finger while in the octagon as well as represent their hometown in the 209 area of California. Nick’s epic trash talking even transcended into pop culture with his quote,"don’t be scared, homie.” Basically, Nick summed up the families thoughts on their opponents perfectly, “if you're not on my team, then f*** you, cause if you're not with us, then you're against us.”
6 Can't - Ken Shamrock
“I’ll beat you into a living death,” said a very angry Ken Shamrock to an amused Tito Ortiz on UFC’s reality television, The Ultimate Fighter, in 2006. Not only did Shamrock prove he couldn’t trash talk, he also would lose back-to-back fights against Ortiz that year. No doubt Shamrock is a legend and founding father of modern MMA, however, he tried bringing professional wrestling talking points into real fights one too many times during his career.
Although he has a record of 28-17-2, Shamrock hasn’t won a fight since 2010. He also lost by TKO in his last fight, which was an epic rematch against Royce Gracie at Bellator 149 earlier this year. Is anyone else wondering how one beats a person into a living death in an MMA match?
5 Can - Khabib Nurmagomedov
Nurmagomedov has been blasted by critics for allegedly ducking fights but with an undefeated record of 24-0, which is a rare statistic in MMA these days, wouldn’t you be conservative at which fight you take as well? Regardless of his controversial issues in taking fights, Nurmagomedov is a master at trash talking even though there is a language barrier he has to deal with. The Russian native has talked smack to practically every top fighter in the Lightweight Division, including the champion Conor McGregor.
Khabib slays his opponents verbally in more of a passive-aggressive way instead of going straight to the throat. On his last fight with Michael Johnson,“I talk with Michael Johnson because I respect Michael Johnson and I don’t want to hurt him,” Nurmagomedov said. “I talk about hey you have to give up, and I don’t want to smash your face, and when [he went for the Kimura], I go very slowly, I’m very careful because I don’t want to break his arm like Nogueira-Mir, and I go very slowly and he taps.”
4 Can't - Bethe Correia
Bethe Correia was on an absolute roll before her fight with Ronda Rousey at UFC 190 in 2015. She took out some of Rousey’s best friends (The Four Horsewomen) and was talking so much trash about it, people starting believing she had a shot against the Judo Olympian.
"I want to knock her out, show to everyone that she is a lie,” Correia said before her fight with Rousey. “She wants to stand up with me, let's see. I want to humiliate her and show the word she has no MMA. She is focused on movies, books.” Do you want to know how the fight went? She would lose the match in just 34 seconds of the first round. Since then, she has been on an epic slide down the rankings.
3 Can - Michael Bisping
Bisping ate a lot of crow when Dan Henderson knocked him into another dimension at UFC 100 in 2009, but we’re in 2017 and he’s the UFC Middleweight Champion. Henderson and others have gotten the best of Bisping but the British native also has gotten the best of his opponents. Bisping has been on a five-fight win streak and even avenged his humiliating loss to Henderson in his last fight at UFC 204. With a record of 30-7 and one of the longest tenured UFC fighters in the promotion, Bisping is one of the best trash talkers to back it up.
He would destroy Jorge Rivera in 2011, “we’re talking about a guy [Rivera] who got tapped out by a welterweight kickboxer,” said Bisping. One of his more recent quotes in 2016 shows the man still has the gift, “This man is a fraud, and I will make you pay for your mistakes tomorrow night my friend,” said Bisping at the weigh-ins for his fight with Anderson Silva. ”All the needles in your a** won’t help you p*****.”
2 Can't - James Toney
James Toney had one MMA fight in the UFC, so technically he's a legit alumni member of the company and eligible for this list. The former boxing champion could back up his trash talking in a boxing ring but when he decided to make a big payday in the UFC, he was a fish out of the water. Toney talked so much trash about the fight between him and Randy Couture at UFC 118, no one really cared that the guy didn’t know how to fight in an MMA match.
Some of his quotes include, “I don’t know Jiu-Jitsu, I don’t know wrestling, all I know is how to fight. Period,” and “After I knock out Randy Couture, I’ll fight for the Heavyweight Title, the real Heavyweight Boxing Title in October or November, comeback and fight in the UFC in January or February. It doesn’t matter, I’m a two-sport athlete.” Toney lasted just three minutes with Couture before losing his match....
1 Can - Conor McGregor
Is anyone surprised the Irish native is number one on our list of best trash talkers who can back it up? McGregor did lose a fight to Nate Diaz, however, he redeemed himself by winning the rematch, and then went on to become the only duel UFC Champion in the history of the promotion after beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
We’re pretty sure professional wrestling and Floyd Mayweather are inspirations for his slick verbal jabs at his opponents. That’s why it’s only fitting that McGregor would talk his way into potentially the biggest money making boxing match in the industry's history with Mayweather in August. There are too many memorable quotes to list on here but you can find a ton of his quotes on the internet.