By: Kyle Goddard
In the world of Mixed Martial Arts(MMA), there is no shortage of trash-talking techniques used by a plethora of different fighters across every weight class. Since the inception of the UFC, there have always been active fighters who dabble in the art of trash-talking such as Chael Sonnen, Brock Lesnar, and Nick and Nate Diaz. Trash talking can work in two ways. First, it can help a fighter’s career because everyone loves drama leading up to a fight and more money is earned when a fight is hyped up, just look at Chael Sonnen. He was an average fighter who made a lot of money because he ran his mouth to get big fights. Second, it can fluster your opponent to the point where they make mistakes out of anger. Anderson Silva has made some of these mistakes out of anger that almost cost him some fights a few times. When looking at some of the best trash talkers in the game, people want to see how good they are and if they can back it up. Only one fighter comes to my mind when talking about backing up your mouth with action and his name is Conor McGregor. The reason that he is the only fighter that comes to my mind is because the level of his trash talking just surpasses any other fighter I have ever seen. Trash talking in the UFC works for him for some reason and we want to know why.
There is only one person to talk about when talking about trashing their opponents and being a successful badass when doing it. “Notorious” Conor McGregor has become the J.K. Rowling of trash talking. He boasts a 19-2 professional record and hasn’t lost a fight since 2010. In the past two years, he has stormed into the UFC and obliterated every opponent that has been given to him. He has not only done this in the octagon but he also verbally abuses and intimidates his opponents. His near perfect predictions of how his fights will turn out have also been a key aspect to his trash talking agenda. The last three fights that Conor McGregor has fought in have ended exactly when he predicted them to. Before his last fight with Jose Aldo, he was asked what the outcome will be he said “I will rip Aldo’s head off in the first round, it will be done… in one.” His antics have made him one of the richest UFC fighters to date and at age 27; he has plenty of years ahead of him in his career.
Where did it come from? It wasn’t always this way, if you can remember back to his earlier days when he was a preliminary fighter. He never really tried to drag his opponents down with trash talk. He was always very confident in himself and always strived to be the best at what he did. Was McGregor getting fed up with not being recognized as a legitimate contender? Is that what sparked his trash talking ways? He has been asked about his trash talking and his response was simple, “I don’t talk trash, I talk the truth.” One may never know but it is very clear that he plans on doing what has made him who he is, and that is verbally abusing his opponents until they show him that they are worthy to fight him.
McGregor’s trash talk really reached its height when he fought Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59. Leading up to the fight McGregor verbally assaulted Siver so much that the normally calm, cool demeanor of Siver was challenged. McGregor took shots at Siver saying “He’s muscular but he’s really small. He’s a weird looking, deformed looking guy. He was caught cheating at one stage in his career. He was on the steroids and he got banned for it so I think when you take some of the stuff like that your body becomes weird.” McGregor went on to win that fight by knockout in the first round. This was a classic case of making your opponent angry and causing him to make mistakes. Siver got frustrated with McGregor and made the mistake of trying to take him to the ground. He rushed his attack out of anger and got knocked out.
Continuing on his path to greatness, McGregor was supposed to get a title shot against Jose Aldo after his bout with Dennis Siver. After months of trash talking and the fight being amped up to be the greatest UFC fight of all-time, Jose Aldo dropped out weeks before the fight which just opened the door for McGregor to continue his verbal abuse. He called Aldo out and claimed “I would be scared to fight me too.” Aldo dropped out because of an injury to his ribs, he was cleared by the doctor to fight but he said he was in too much pain to fight. McGregor threw jokes at Aldo saying “Doctors have cleared him to fight – it’s a bruise – but he still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we will contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt.” In the wake of Aldo’s decision, McGregor was then told he would be fighting Chad Mendes for the interim-championship. It didn’t take long for McGregor to direct his trash talk to Mendes while he poked fun at Mendes for being “a little guy” just like Siver. In a press conference leading up to the fight, Mendes asked McGregor if he knew what wrestling was (Mendes is known for his superior wrestling ability), the Irishman quickly responded “I can rest my balls on your forehead.” This quick, witty banter that McGregor possesses can easily agitate his opponents all the while making the audience love the way he gets into his opponents head. On July 11th, 2015 the fight with Mendes took place and almost like clockwork, McGregor knocked Chad Mendes out in the second round, exactly as he predicted that he would. This was another case where McGregor’s tactics paid off by causing Chad Mendes to make mistakes out of anger. Mendes had been winning the fight but got too aggressive because he was angry and lost steam early in the second round and got caught with a flurry of punches before the fight was called. Conor McGregor was now the interim Featherweight champion of the UFC, making everybody wonder when the most wanted fight with Jose Aldo would occur.
The next big UFC event was a press conference that involved fighters from many different divisions. This is where McGregor really saw his chance to get his point across. He took shots at everyone, and I mean everyone. He took shots at Aldo saying “If you even show up for the next fight, which I don’t know if you will, I will take your head off.” Chad Mendes then chimed in and stated that “I only had three weeks to prepare for this fight; if we fight again it will be different.” McGregor quickly retorted “You hit the floor like a little bitch.” Then when asked about the possibility of moving up a weight class McGregor took a shot at the entire lightweight division when he said “When I look at the lightweights, I see a stuck in the mud division, all slow fighters.” This press conference was before the much anticipated fight with Jose Aldo.
The fight with Aldo was now set and McGregor took no time at all to voice his opinion. He still poked fun at Aldo for dropping out of the last fight because he claimed he was scared. In a pre-fight interview, Conor McGregor spoke these exact words, “I see the fight playing out, I see him overreacting, overextending and then him being KO’d unconscious.” In the first round of the fight, Jose Aldo overextended his first punch and Conor McGregor caught him with a left hook and knocked him out cold in just 13 seconds. Right before the fight started when the two opponents stood across from each other in the octagon, viewers saw McGregor mouth “Let’s go, boy” in Aldo’s direction and Aldo stood there looking defeated before the referee even signaled the begin of the fight. Conor McGregor had successfully gotten in his opponents head and achieved a victory because Jose Aldo was beaten before he even gave the “ready” nod.
Not too long after the fight, McGregor made the decision to move up a weight class to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight belt. This would be the first time a fighter would ever be allowed to hold two separate belts simultaneously. UFC President, Dana White stated “We normally don’t do this kind of thing, but when a guy literally does everything he says he is going to do, it’s hard to say no.” After dos Anjos knocked out Donald Cerrone in the first round of his last fight, he began a little trash talk of his own. “Mr. McGregor, if you want to come up to lightweight, it’s not a good move, this is my division” said dos Anjos. In the pre-fight interview, McGregor amped up his talking to many outlandish statements. McGregor stated “I’m cool with Jesus, because Gods recognize other Gods.” When dos Anjos was getting questions from reporters, McGregor wouldn’t let him get a word in. He kept interrupting dos Anjos with statements such as “I put you there, you are here because of me” and “You are a disgrace to your home country.” Rafael dos Anjos had the same look on his face as Aldo had before the fight, is he already mentally beaten before the fight even takes place? McGregor made another bold prediction once again, “I will dust Rafael inside of one minute, and I will leave the fight fresh and ready to go for UFC 200.” Unfortunately, 11 days before the fight was to take place Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from the fight due to a broken foot. The UFC was going to have a tough decision for who they would choose to replace dos Anjos at UFC 196. Ultimately, they made the decision and chose Nate Diaz.
Conor McGregor decided he wanted to fight Nate Diaz and this would be “the fight that the fans would most want.” Diaz would accept the fight only if it was at 165 pounds. McGregor replied “We will do it at 170, weight doesn’t matter. I want you to be as comfortable as possible up there Nate.” This would mean that Conor McGregor wouldn’t be moving up one weight class, he would be moving up two. The fight was set and the press conference took place and it was what everyone hoped for and much more. First, McGregor was asked about the injury to dos Anjos and he said “He broke his foot and his vagina in the same day.” These two fighters are two of the best trash talkers in the UFC and when they started talking, it wouldn’t stop. McGregor stated “Nate you act like a Cholo gangster and you’re over here teaching kids how to box and riding bikes with the elderly.” Nate Diaz made some accusations as well, “Everybody in the UFC is on steroids and you’re on steroids.” McGregor replied “Don’t put my name in there with steroids. I’m not on steroids, I’m just an animal.” Diaz said to Conor “You’ve won 3 fights against midgets, and now you’re all pumped up.” McGregor quickly retorted “I’m about to add an out of shape, skinny Mexican to the list.”
Conor McGregor has been so successful in the past few years with his verbal abuse of opponents before stepping into the octagon. His trash talking has not only helped his career by making him a very wealthy man but it also contributes to him not losing a fight since 2010. He has succeeded where others have failed miserably and that is why he is considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Stay tuned on March 5th for his next fight against Nate Diaz to see if he will remain on his pedestal as the most interesting fighter in the world.