Best trash-talking moments in 2023: 10 UFC fighters who dished out outstanding verbal warfare

The UFC had numerous trash-talk moments in 2023. To consolidate, here is the list of top 10 trash-talking moments this year.


Best trash-talking moments in 2023: 10 UFC fighters who dished out outstanding verbal warfare

List of top ten UFC trash talk moments in 2023 (via IMAGO/Instagram)

2023 was one of the stand-out years for the UFC. The MMA world witnessed spectacular fights and rivalries from start to finish. Also, with trash-talking being an integral part of the combat sports world, many heated fights arose this year. The final months of 2023, especially, were filled with fierce trash-talk from the UFC fighters.

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So, one would wonder which fighter topped their microphone skills this year. The best UFC trash-talks of 2023 will feature the ‘usual suspects.’ To answer that question, here is a list of the best ten UFC trash-talks from 2023.

Honorable mentions for the best trash-talking moments in 2023

Since there are numerous trash-talking moments in 2023, some important moments couldn’t make it to the top 10 despite being the best. So, here are those fighters who missed out on the top 10 spot but had a good time with the microphone.

First on the list is Henry Cejudo accusing Aljamain Sterling of Oscar-quality acting during the lead-up to their fight. Secondly, Jamahal Hill venting out on his beef with Ariel Helwani deserves a mention. Next, the recent Paddy Pimblett retaliation on Tony Ferguson at UFC 296 pressers. Then, the interactions between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski also deserve an honorable mention.

Kamaru Usman imitates Leon Edwards' coach in UFC 286 press conference
Kamaru Usman imitates Leon Edwards’ coach in UFC 286 press conference (via X)

Although the interactions were comparatively respectful, they still deserved a place on the list as they squared up twice and had good moments at the pressers. Finally, Kamaru Usman’s imitation of Leon Edwards’ coach during the pressers of UFC 286. Now, with the honorable mentions aside, check out the 2023’s top ten trash-talking moments.

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10. “Hey Adesanya, Come to Daddy” by Alex Pereira

The rivalry between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya was well-known to the MMA world. When Pereira moved up to light heavyweight, his rivalry with ‘The Last Stylebender’ was termed to cool off. However, after winning the UFC title at LHW, the first name ‘Poatan’ called out was of his arch-nemesis Adesanya. As such, he called him out in style, uttering his first English words in the post-fight interview.

Alex Pereira calls out Israel Adesanya in UFC 295
Alex Pereira calls out Israel Adesanya in UFC 295

Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya fought four times over kickboxing and MMA, with Periera leading the score 3-1. However, in MMA, they were 1-1, with Adesanya knocking out ‘Poatan’ at UFC 287. However, Adesanya took a break from MMA after losing his title to Sean Strickland. So, Pereira tried to instigate Adesanya into coming back with his call-out. Will they fight for the fifth time? Only time can answer.

9. “Turn his face into a ketchup sandwich” by Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson was a fan favorite despite his long losing streak. As such, fans stood beside him in his matchup against Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296. Although ‘El Cucuy’ lost the fight, he had an impressive moment during press conferences. He warned Pimblett of turning his face into a ketchup sandwich. Analogically, he referred to using his elbows as ‘blades and shades’ as Ferguson warned Pimblett.

Tony Ferguson trashes Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 press conference
Tony Ferguson trashes Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 press conference (via BVM Sports)

Paddy Pimblett fired back with insults of his own. As such, during their meeting in the octagon, ‘Baddy’ dominated Tony Ferguson to get the win. However, their interaction at the UFc 296 remained competitive and gave us one more Ferguson line to make a meme off.

8. “He sh** himself” by Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev was an intimidating figure in the UFC roster. After developing a heated beef with Paulo Costa, he was scheduled to fight him at UFC 294. However, as often, Costa pulled out of the fight. This didn’t sit well with ‘Borz’. So, when asked a question about Costa in the press conference, he let all his anger out and called Costa a “Sh** man.” After hurling insults, he banged the mike on the table with frustration.

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Khamzat Chimaev vents out on Paulo Costa after fight cancellation
Khamzat Chimaev vents out on Paulo Costa after fight cancellation (via UFC)

Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev developed a beef when they once met at the UFC Performance Institute. Since then, they’ve disliked each other and trash-talked mercilessly. They will surely fight at some point in their career, if not soon.

7. “Ciryl’s the Most Incomplete Fighter” by Jon Jones

Jon Jones is arguably the greatest of all time in MMA. Although he had heated moments earlier in his career, he became calmer with age. He returned after almost three years in his move up to heavyweight to face Ciryl Gane. As such, he used the microphone to expose Gane’s weakness. He calmly analyzed Gane’s game and broke him down inch by inch on the media day of UFC 285.

Jon Jones breaks down Ciryl Gane's weakness before heavyweight title fight
Jon Jones breaks down Ciryl Gane’s weakness before heavyweight title fight (via Yahoo Sports)

Although this might not be exactly a trash-talk instance, Jon Jones handled the microphone with his smart brain to get under Gane’s skin. His remarks on Gane felt more like an evil villain confident of achieving victory. The result was seen on fight night as Jones finished Gane with ease. By this, he also became the heavyweight champion of the world.

6. “Bring that sweet a** Suga” by Aljamain Sterling

Aljamain Sterling had the most controversial title run in the UFC. As such, his outspoken nature earned him more criticism. But he didn’t care and continued expressing himself inside and outside the cage. When he won against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288, he called out Sean O’Malley in fashion. As such, he didn’t stop trash-talking until ‘Suga’ left the cage.

Aljamain Sterling and Sean O'Malley exchange words during their face-offs in UFC 288
Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley exchange words during their face-offs in UFC 288 (via Sports Illustrated)

During this heated moment, Merab Dvalishvili stole Sean O’Malley’s jacket and had a moment of his own. So, this became one of the best moments in 2023. Further, Aljamain Sterling went after O’Malley throughout the build-up to their fight. However, ‘The Funkmaster’ lost the fight to ‘Suga,’ resulting in a trash-talk gone wrong instance.

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5. “Your dad doesn’t have sh** on me” by Dricus Du Plessis

Sean Strickland is one of the masters of trash-talk in the current UFC roster. However, he saw himself at the receiving end when Dricus Du Plessis unleashed a heavy-sunk weapon. During their verbal war, Du Plessis brought in Strickland’s father, who abused him in his childhood. This hit a nerve in Strickland, and he went off on a cussing rant.

Dricus Du Plessis delivered one of the best trash talks of 2023
Dricus Du Plessis fires back at Sean Strickland at the UFC Seasonal Press Conference (via Daily Maverick)

It was Sean Strickland who initiated the verbal exchange, but Dricus Du Plessis was the one who got the upper hand. The “Dad line” was so cold that Strickland finally became affected by another fighter trash-talking him. This incident happened at the recent UFC Seasonal Press Conference. With bad blood boiling, Strickland and Du Plessis got into a public brawl at the UFC 296. So, this just increased the hype for their fight in UFC 297.

4. “Sit the fu** down” by Manel Kape

Manel Kape grabbed the eyes of the MMA fans when he stood undeterred in front of Israel Adesanya during the UFC 293 pressers. Kape was scheduled to face Adesanya’s teammate Kai Kara-France, but the latter pulled out of the fight. This agitated Kape to shout insults at Kara-France at the press conference. So, when Adesanya stepped in to support his teammate, ‘Starboy’ just ordered him to sit down.

Manel Kape and Israel Adesanya have a fierce moment during UFC 293 pressers
Manel Kape and Israel Adesanya have a fierce moment during UFC 293 pressers (via MMA Weekly)

Israel Adesanya also fired back by calling Manel Kape a ‘Mid**t,’ resulting in a heated moment between the two. Later, after winning his fight in UFC 293, Kape insulted the whole of Adesanya’s gym (City Kickboxing) and yelled an offensive slur. This just fired up more bad blood between them.

3. “You’ll do what you’re told” by Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has been the face of the UFC since the mid-2010s. As such, although he didn’t fight in 2023, he appeared on season 31 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ During the show, he reminded his fans about his wordplay. Michael Chandler, the opposing coach, and McGregor were set to fight at the show’s end. As such, ‘The Notorious’ included trash-talking against Chandler during the filming.

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Conor McGregor delivered one of the best trash talks of 2023
Conor McGregor mocks Michael Chandler during TUF filming (via Sports Illustrated)

It happened when Chandler was willing to move up in weight class to fight Conor McGregor. Spontaneously, ‘The Notorious’ cracked one of the coolest trash-talk lines this year. Since McGregor was the superior star, he asserted his dominance over Michael Chandler by this statement. Chandler couldn’t come up with any reply to the Irishman. Despite an amazing rivalry, the fight hasn’t yet materialized.

2. “Lure kids into their bus with candy and karate…” by Colby Covington

Colby Covington returned in 2023 after a long layoff to fight Leon Edwards in UFC 296. The MMA fans were excited about his press conference more than his fight to witness his wicked trash-talk. One major victim of his trash talk was Stephen Thompson. ‘Chaos’ playfully hinted at him being a ‘Pedophile’ but didn’t call him so. Colby used Epstein’s list and subsequent pedophilia associated with Epstein Island to destroy Wonderboy on the microphone.

Colby Covington goes after Stephen Thompson at the UFC 296 pressers
Colby Covington goes after Stephen Thompson at the UFC 296 pressers (via Eurosport)

Stephen Thompsom was termed to be the nicest guy in the UFC. However, that didn’t hold Covington from trolling him. But, a derogatory comment about Leon Edwards’ late father led the MMA community to trash ‘him ‘Chaos.’ However, this comment to Thomspon showcased Covington’s smooth trash-talking ability. Even ‘Wonderboy’ smiled and enjoyed the moment.

1. “Izzy is a Chinese sl*t” by Sean Strickland

Sean Strickland tops the list of ‘Top 10 trash-talking moments’ with his trolling of Israel Adesanya. ‘The Last Stylebender’ and Strickland faced off in UFC 293. As such, Strickland unapologetically went after Adesanya and remarked on his previous comments about being Chinese. Further, he endlessly mocked Adesanya about the dog incident. These were some of the best UFC trash talks of 2023.

Sean Strickland delivered one of the best UFC trash talk in 2023
Sean Strickland (via Imago)

It affected Adesanya mentally. To top all that microphone performance, Sean Strickland dominated Israel Adesanya in the cage. Also, with this spectacular win, Strickland became the middleweight champion. So, this was the prime example of using trash-talking to gain a mental edge over your opponents.

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FAQs

Who did Alex Pereira call out after winning the light heavyweight title?

Israel Adesanya

Who was scheduled to fight Manel Kape in UFC 293?

Kai Kara-France

Who dominated Israel Adesanya?

Sean Strickland

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