Not every UFC fighter is as gifted with the kind of razor-sharp verbal barbs the likes of Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen own in abundance.
Some are, instead, equipped with an inventory of incredibly inept insults, wincingly woeful words, and acridly awkward acts.
So, bite down hard on your mouthguard in preparation for the cringe as we count down the top 6 worst trash talkers in UFC history.
6. Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson holds some incredibly notable wins over Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Edson Barboza.
However… he also holds some serious L’s when it comes to trash-talking.
When, at the pre-fight press conference for their The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale clash, his opponent Justin Gaethje said he would take Johnson into deep water, Johnson replied, “I don’t need to swim, I do all my fighting on land, player.”
I don’t think he quite understands metaphors.
In fact, from the ages of three until he left school at eighteen, Johnson actually believed himself to be a piece of fruit after his mother referred to him as “The apple of my eye.”
That bit’s not true.
In reply to a statement from Gaethje about breaking him down “piece by piece,” Johnson quipped (it was hardly a quip) that he liked to “Eat his [bleep] whole” and elaborated about how good he was; at “eating his [bleep] whole.”
He – just – kept – saying – it!
Naughty little boy*
5. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
One of the greatest female fighters in UFC history and one of the most accomplished former champions on the roster, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, is tough as nails.
However, something else that is tough… is hearing her trash talk her opponent.
Ok, granted; her first language isn’t English, and – to be honest – if I had to cut a promo in front of hundreds of live fans and hundreds of thousands watching at home in her native tongue of Polish, I would do a much worse job than she does.
On November 3rd, 2017, at UFC 217 weigh-ins, one day before her UFC Women’s Strawweight title defense against challenger Rose Namajunas, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, steps up to the microphone and says…
“Boogie Woman is coming tomorrow, and she doesn’t know what’s coming.”
Let’s analyze that sentence, shall we?
Are you, Joanna, the Boogie Woman in this linguistically baffling scenario? If so, I understand the statement that she “is coming,” sure. It’s a classic trash-talking technique to refer to yourself in the third person and announce your intentions. The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin used to do it to great effect.
But are you then saying that the Boogie Woman herself doesn’t know what’s coming?
“Boogie Woman is coming tomorrow, and she doesn’t know what’s coming.”
Well, suppose it is indeed, as you say, the Boogie Woman that is coming, but also the Boogie Woman that doesn’t know who is coming. In that case, she is entirely unaware that she is coming and whether she is coming or going.
Now feel sorry for Boogie Woman. She was perplexed.
4. Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre must be the most accomplished fighter on this list.
He is arguably the all-time pound-for-pound great who retired in his prime, with just two losses to his name in Mixed Martial Arts and both the Welterweight and Middleweight titles in his trophy cabinet.
But… there’s always a but…
While his lack of versatility on the microphone doesn’t detract from his vast skillset in the Octagon, it does make him seem a little less… well, intimidating, let’s say.
[Disclaimer: I acknowledge that this notion of him not being intimidating would be short-lived if I ever had an actual fight with Georges St-Pierre, as he loomed over me, raining elbows and punches down onto my quivering, sobbing, lifeless body]
When Nick Diaz referred to him as a “Mother[bleep]” before their UFC 158 clash, Georges (I just call him Georges) got incredibly insulted and genuinely thought that Diaz was insinuating that he had actually romanced his own mother.
Again, like Joanna Jędrzejczyk, it may be a language barrier thing, but come on, Georges. Imagine that as an actual insult! “I have it on good authority that you kiss your mum on the lips… homie”.
St-Pierre also struggled with the trash talk when it came to his legendary feuds with BJ Penn, Matt Serra, and Matt Hughes, and in his final career fight against one of the best on the microphone, Michael Bisping.
GSP decided to keep suggesting Bisping was drunk during their UFC 217 pre-fight press conference, again… and again… and again. Bisping pointed out that St-Pierre was embarrassing himself. He continued to mention Bisping being drunk or hungover and saying he was “mental.”
When you’re going up against “The Count” verbally, you need to be packing more than an insinuation that he is/was drunk.
Instead, can I suggest insinuating that he romanced his own mother whilst drunk?
3. Wanderlei Silva
Wanderlei Silva has had some big trash-talking moments; his entire blood feud with Chael Sonnen would be a perfect example of that.
However, Silva’s inclusion on this list is solely down to one single misplaced word.
Yes, he once inadvertently announced that he wanted to make love to Chuck Liddell in the middle of the Octagon.
At UFC 61 in June 2006, PRIDE FC fighter Wanderlei Silva was stood in the middle of the iconic UFC Octagon with UFC President Dana White.
White would announce that if UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell could get past his next opponent, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, he would go on to face Silva in something of a dream matchup.
However, just before a determined-looking Liddell entered the Octagon to have the clearly orchestrated face-off for the cameras, Silva delivered the unfortunate line.
Silva took the microphone and, in front of the world, announced his intentions:
“I want to [bleep]… I want to fight with Chuck… [bleep] Chuck”.
He wants to do what to Chuck?!
This clip is legendary and consistently features in any MMA Bloopers Compilation on YouTube, and rightly so.
It’s just a shame Wanderlei Silva hadn’t realized how tricky it was going to be and could have had a little practice before having to navigate his way around it on live TV.
‘I want to fight Chuck’ is not too far off one of those dangerous tongue twisters like ‘I’m a pheasant plucker,’ or my personal favorite ‘One sock cutter: he cut socks, two sock cutters: they cut socks, three sock cutters: they cut socks; they all cut socks together’… try it.
Go and wash your mouth out with soap!
2. Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock had a promising career as a professional wrestler with the WWE in the late 90s, and you can see where he got his – let’s say – slightly over-the-top promo technique from…
Any press conference that featured both Shamrock and his long-time nemesis Tito Ortiz ended up sounding like a ‘How to Cut a Promo’ class at the Hulk Hogan School for the Educationally Subnormal.
Ortiz had a natural gift for being able to get under Shamrock’s skin, something chronic, and Shamrock’s frustrations with that giant, smug head often manifested themselves in him coming out with some really, really stupid stuff. Or getting so visibly angry that he looked like he was going to pull his own manhood off.
Shamrock famously delivered the questionable line:
“I am going to beat you into the living death.”
Let’s be honest, Kenny Boy, you fluffed your line there, didn’t you, mate?
Tito Ortiz famously burst into an exaggerated (and highly annoying) laugh at the ridiculousness of Shamrock’s line, which prompted Shamrock to start throwing chairs. Although, given Shamrock’s pro-wrestling background, Ortiz is probably lucky that Shamrock didn’t fold a chair in half and theatrically smash him in the back with it.
1. Henry Cejudo
This one shouldn’t be surprising. I mean, the guy even refers to himself as “The King of Cringe.”
It’s a title Cejudo revels in and plays up to. In fact, his “Triple C” nickname referring to his Olympic, Flyweight, and Bantamweight Championships has been redubbed “Triple Cringe,” and I think it’s pretty apt.
Here’s the proof…
Whether it’s on Twitter, with his vomit-inducing flirting with former WWE Diva Nikki Bela, or saying the following to Jose Aldo:
“You’re (sic) going to need a bigger gun to take me out, Cinderella! This man is made of steel and sex appeal! Bend the knee, you Mexican-looking Dana White!”
Or in a video, like when he laid three of his championship belts out on a bed, put diapers on them, and pretended they were his bested opponents TJ Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson, and Dominic Cruz.
Or – the acts that began the whole “King of Cringe” nickname amongst MMA fans on social media – when he’s up close and personal, like when he pulled out a toy snake on two separate occasions in face-offs with both Tillishaw and Marlon Moraes (the latter, inexplicably from a magician’s hat), before smashing them onto the ground and throwing them at the crowd.
Whatever it is he’s doing, Cejudo may be a joy to watch in the Octagon, but a tough watch in every other way.
That concludes our list of the top 6 worst trash talkers in UFC history! Listen, UFC fighters, if you can’t compete with the best on the mic then maybe just don’t try to at all (we’re looking at you, Cejudo!)
Now we’ve covered the worst trash talkers, let’s remember there are some of the best trash talkers in the UFC that put all other combat sports to shame.