When added with incredible skill and potential, trash talking can earn a fighter a lot of money. Just think about Ronda Rousey and Connor McGregor who, thanks to their sharp tongues and hands, have become some of the highest paid athletes in the UFC (and movie stars, in Ronda’s case). In the case of McGregor, he had not yet accomplished greatness before he beat Dustin Poirier, but the hype surrounding him let him cash those big checks from Uncle Dana.
There is a clear pattern between pay-per-view buys and trash talk. In fact, one can speculate that the Jones/Cormier brawl sold the fight more than all of Zuffa’s marketing strategies combined. This fight drew in millions of PPV buys around the world, and bars were filled with people who did not know who either fighter was, simply watching to see the two men settle their differences. What a great marketing campaign.
With the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, more and more fighters are mastering the art of trash talking: some however, forget to become masters in their sport. Trash talking can definitely be a double edged sword; if you win, you get a big check and long-lasting fame but if you lose, you are left with nothing but humiliation and disappointment. Last week, after her long trash talking campaign against Ronda Rousey, Bethe Correia screamed “don’t cry!” repeatedly at the champion’s face during weight ins, only to get knocked out in 34 seconds the next day - quite embarrassing for someone who promised to destroy Rousey about 20 times. Like Correia, many fighters like to spend more time talking and attracting media than training and fighting. Here is the list of the top ten fighters who couldn’t back up their trash talk when it was time to fight.
15 Bethe Correia
I actually didn’t want to put Bethe Correia on this list at first. She is an amazing fighter, and losing to Ronda Rousey is, quite frankly, predictable and excusable. However, Correia talked so much trash during the weeks leading up to the fight, and even attacked Rousey's personal life and family. You’d think that after such a knockout, the Brazilian would have learned her lesson, yet she continued to talk trash even after the fight was over. Correia still thinks that she could become champion and the loss to Rousey didn’t seem to lower her confidence one bit. I guess we will have to wait and see how Rousey vs Correia II plays out, if it ever happens.
14 Daniel Cormier
Some of you might wonder why Cormier is on this list, since the only fight he ever lost was to “Bones”, the former no.1 pound for pound fighter in the UFC. I put Cormier on this list because his trash talking campaign against Jones was one of the most intense and most entertaining in MMA history. After their brawl during a media event, where Jones took down Cormier with relative ease, Cormier stated that “we were not even fighting”, and promised that things would be different once the fighters meet in the octagon. Come fight day however, Jones was still throwing the challenger around like a big bag of potatoes.
13 Brock Lesnar
Coming out of the WWE, it is no surprise that Lesnar is a trash talking master. His size, voice, and attitude make him one of the most intimidating fighters that ever stepped in the cage. Sadly for him, looks and intimidation can’t do your fighting for you. Frank Mir (yes, he also got knocked out, but that is a whole other story) and Cain Velasquez proved that by finishing Lesnar with minimal effort. That being said, you just have to give the intimidation factor to Lesnar; stepping in a cage with a guy like that must not be easy, and his relentless trash talking makes it even worse. However, he seems to be having much more success in the WWE, where his talking is praised and appreciated.
12 Frank Mir
Like I said, trash talking could be a double-edged sword. Although Mir submitted Brock Lesnar quite easily, Brock also knocked him out just as easily. Mir has so much confidence going into his second fight with Lesnar, and even went as far as to say that we wanted to “kill” his opponent. He also did not want to recognize Lesnar as the champion, stating that he was the one and only undisputed heavyweight champion, and that beating Lesnar once was more than enough. Too bad the referee had to pull Brock off of Mir’s lifeless seeming body. However, ever since Mir’s comeback to the UFC, he has become much more humble, and has been on a crazy winning streak: Mir vs Arlovski should be an amazing fight.
11 Patrick Cummins
It seems like everyone has something to say when it comes to fighting Daniel Cormier. Cummins came in as a huge underdog into his fight against the wrestler, but that did not stop him from trash talking his way to the octagon. Well, all of that talk resulted in getting beat up for 1:19, before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Cummins then picked up a few wins, and restarted talking trash to yet another fighter, Ovince St-Preux, who also finished him rather quickly. Cummins has been on a small winning streak since, and it should be interesting to see how his next trash talking campaign will end.
10 Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz, you either love him or you hate him. Known for his extremely graphic and violent trash talking campaigns, Tito seems to be able to bring out the dark side out of every man he faces. His attitude and trash talking during his time on TUF gave him many fans, and many haters. But when the Iceman knocked him out cold (sorry, bad pun), his trash talking was gone. His very close fight against Stephan Bonnar was one of the most intense trash talking campaigns in the history of MMA. Had that decision gone the other way, Tito would have been no.1 on this list. With all this trash talking, the only thing left to see now from Tito is a potential super fight with Dana White. Who comes out on top and how?
9 Brendan Schaub
When you think of iconic knockouts in the heavyweight division, Brendan Schaub is often on the receiving end. With his arrogance and cockiness, he claims he is the best in the world and that nobody can even come close to defeating him. Well, Roy Nelson seemed to disagree with that statement by almost knocking Schaub’s head off his body, and so did Andrei Arlovski by breaking his jaw. A few months ago, Schaub appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast and claimed that he would certainly beat former champion Cain Velasquez in an MMA or wrestling bout: this should be an interesting fight. My money is on Velasquez by dismemberment.
8 Josh Koscheck
Koscheck, yet another guy who, since he can’t seem to win fights anymore, resorts to trash talking Dana White. When he was still a part of the UFC, his TUF season against GSP was quite entertaining. The French-Canadian jokes and insults could not get old, and Koscheck was so confident that he would beat GSP. Come fight time, the jokes backfired. The French-Canadian broke Koscheck’s orbital bone and picked up a great title defense. Ever since, Josh has been getting beaten repeatedly, but has always stayed true to his trash talk, even after retirement.
7 Jason Miller
This guy isn’t really relevant anymore, as he is too busy getting arrested on drug and assault charges. Mayhem has always been an entertaining guy, but could rarely back it up. Michael Bisping and Jake Shields absolutely dominated him after he talked trash and insulted them repeatedly. However, he did manage to survive against Jacare Souza, and that is quite an accomplishment. Maybe since he couldn’t back up his trash talk in the UFC octagon, he started his own show: Bully Beatdown. There, he was sure that he could talk and laugh as much as he wanted, and the win was still guaranteed. Unfortunately, college bullies and professional fighters are two very different things.
6 Michael Bisping
There seems to be a pattern with The Count. When he starts to trash talk his opponents, he always seems to lose in devastating fashion: examples of this are his fights with Belfort, Kennedy, or Rockhold. However, the very rare times that Bisping lets his fighting do the talking, his performance is spectacular: just look at his bloody battering of Cung Le. Maybe, just maybe, if the British fighter approached his bouts with professionalism, he would stop floating around in the rankings and make his way to the top. Recently, Bisping has been doing a lot of talking, calling out Belfort for a rematch and calling him a cheater: let’s see if he can break out of this pattern.
5 Ken Shamrock
Ken lost to Tito Ortiz not once, not twice, but three times. However, that did not stop him from talking trash before every single fight. Even this year, when Shamrock came back under the Bellator banner, he did not let go of his trash talking ways, and got knocked out by Kimbo Slice. Was this fight staged, like Joe Rogan claims it was? You tell me. The fact remains that with a 28-17 record, Ken should maybe spend more time in the gym than in front of the media. Even better, maybe it’s time for the fighter to hang up the gloves, after such a long and exhausting career.
4 Nick Diaz
Imagine you are locked in a cage with Anderson Silva. What do you do: run, tap, or cry? Well, you lay down on the ground, lean against the cage, and scream at him of course! Diaz’s logic is unexplainable. As much as he loves to trash talk outside and even inside the cage, he does not always have the skills to back it up. His fight with GSP was no different: you can scream all you want at your opponent but you he keeps taking you down, it might be time to think of a new strategy. The funny thing about Diaz is that his trash talk never seems to end: before, during, and even after the fight, the “Stockton bad boy” always has something to say.
3 Nate Diaz
Never one without the other, right? If you want tips on flipping people off, Nate is the guy to talk to. He does it secretly while a photographer is taking pictures of his opponents (Khabib Nurmangomedov picture), he does it in between fights, and he even manages to do it while he is locking up a triangle. However, he doesn’t seem to do it just as well when Raphael Dos Anjos is smashing his face, or after Josh Thompson finished him with a beautiful kick. Recently, Nate has been involved in a brawl with Khabib Nurmangomedov at a WSOF event, and the trash has has already begun. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see Nate take a ride of the Eagle Airlines!
2 Quinton Jackson
“Got milk, b**ch?” When you think of iconic trash talking sentences used in MMA, you have to think about Rampage. During his time coaching on TUF, he spent more time trash talking Rashad Evans, bullying his team members and breaking doors (what was that all about?) than he did training. The result: a clear victory for Rashad on fight day. Recently, Rampage came back and defeated Fabio Maldonado. During the time leading up to the fight he acted with much more professionalism (yes, he was still howling backstage before the fight, but that’s always happening, right?) and his professional attitude even reflected in his fighting. Coincidence?
1 Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen may be the no.1 trash talker in MMA history, but he is also the no.1 guy who can’t back it up. After talking trash to Anderson Silva for weeks and asking his wife to make him a medium rare steak, he got choked out with a medium rare triangle. In their second fight, he continued to talk trash, and got knocked out. The “American Gangster” has now made his transition from MMA to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, where he continued to talk, saying that “he is the new face of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” and restating that “when you are the best fighter in the world, they don’t call you a great fighter, they call you Chael Sonnen”. Well, the best fighter in the world got choked out (again) by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Andre Galvao within 10 minutes of their match.