At the end of the day, MMA is about the competition, but the personalities of the many individuals who make up the sport are what keeps fans intrigued during the lulls between major fight cards.
Rivalries and such, while often contrived, add an extra element to big fights and bring attention to fights that might have otherwise flown under the radar. Trash talk isn't for everyone, but it definitely has its place in sports.
Chael Sonnen has emerged as the premier trash talker in MMA, but there are plenty of other outspoken individuals in the sport. Let's take a look at the 15 most boisterous, controversial individuals in the game today.
"I've sparred with Luke Rockhold recently and let's just say I'm the unofficial Strikeforce champion." —Michael Bisping via Spike TV's MMA Uncensored Live
The Englishman has been in the hunt for a middleweight title shot for quite some time. Now that he is closing in on that chance, Bisping has become even more vocal and defensive of his standing in the 185-pound division.
With Strikeforce set to close its doors soon, some have proposed the organization's champions receive immediate title shots against UFC titleholders. Evidently, Bisping believes he has already proved to himself that he is better than Strikeforce middleweight champion Rockhold.
"Georges is a fucking p****. So if he takes a punch from Condit it's like, 'What are you gonna do, bro? You can't take that punch!' You'll see Condit come out, boom, boom, and all of a sudden Georges has fallen victim and it's terrible. Georges can't take those punches like that." —Nick Diaz
Despite losing to Carlos Condit in his most recent fight, Diaz has evidently been offensive enough to get under the skin of welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. That caused the Canadian champion to ask for a fight with Diaz following his recent win over Condit.
Though there are other challengers more deserving, it is looking like Diaz will be the next 170-pound fighter to contest St-Pierre for his belt.
"Overeem deserves a beating, and I’m going to arrange that." —Junior dos Santos via Tatame.com.
Prior to being booked for a title fight with Alistair Overeem, Dos Santos was one of the most quiet and respectful fighters in all of MMA. He still is for the most part, but not when Overeem is brought into the discussion.
Dos Santos has developed a hatred for Overeem, who recently failed a pre-fight drug test, which caused his removal from a title shot against the Brazilian champion. If Dos Santos beats Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem beats Antonio Silva in early 2013, the talk between these big men will start to heat up even more.
"He can say what he wants to, but he already knows what time it was. He knows it won't be an easy fight. He knows it's gonna be the hardest fight of his career. He already knows that coming into this fight because he competed against me before. He already felt what I have." —Rashad Evans via UFC 145 Pre-Fight Press Conference
The rivalry between Evans and Jon Jones was finally settled inside the cage in 2012. Though some of the heat between the two died down after a long build up, Evans still had these confident words for the champion at the UFC 145 pre-fight press conference.
Following his loss to Jones, Evans vowed that he would challenge his former training partner again at some point in the future.
"Look at what I killed. Aren't I the man? This is the only thing I have found that cures my impotence." —Dan Hardy
Matt Hughes must have done something to Hardy in a former life. The British welterweight has repeatedly attacked the MMA legend for his hunting excursions and other things.
With Hughes essentially in retirement, it's doubtful a matchup between these two fighters would ever happen, but the trash talk leading up to that fight would make it a little more interesting.
"Chael's mouth gets his ass in trouble. The dude is exciting for, like, two minutes, and then you just want to turn down the volume." —Quinton Jackson via AXS TV's Inside MMA.
Jackson has never been one to hold his tongue when provoked. After Chael Sonnen began aiming some trash talk in his direction, "Rampage" made his feelings about the outspoken title contender known on an episode of AXS TV's Inside MMA.
In addition to Sonnen, Jackson has also shown plenty of confidence regarding his upcoming bout with Glover Teixeira. The possibility of a slugfest with the Brazilian seems to have flicked a switch inside Jackson.
"Dude, you’re not worth my time. Earn a title shot instead of trying to talk your way into one and I’ll be glad to hurt you." —Jon Jones
After he lost to Anderson Silva for a second time, Chael Sonnen turned his attention to another champion. Jones initially brushed away the idea of a title defense against a fighter coming off of a loss in another division. However, that trash talk between the two ended up creating some interest in a fight between the two.
Now, Jones is set to coach against Sonnen on The Ultimate Fighter prior to defending his title against him in April.
"I hope the gym burns to the ground. Is that bad? Hopefully nobody's in it. Well, maybe one person. But if it burns down I'm cool, and we'll be good." —Josh Koscheck
There's no person safe from Koscheck's trash talking. On an episode of Fight Factory, a documentary on American Kickboxing Academy, Koscheck ripped into former coach Javier Mendez and took things a little too far.
Additionally, having been inactive since May, Koscheck has been calling out just about every welterweight on the UFC's roster. Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald were both mentioned by the long-time UFC fighter as potential opponents he'd like to fight, though it's not looking like either of those bouts will come to fruition in the near future.
“People can love me or hate me. I fight for myself and because I love it. It is what it is.” —Rory MacDonald via MMAWeekly.com
The MacDonald of 2011 now appears to be a completely different person than the MacDonald of 2012. Both versions of the Canadian are extremely talented inside the cage, but the new MacDonald is much less afraid to say what is on his mind.
Heading into his fight with B.J. Penn, MacDonald was supremely confident. After beating Penn rather easily, MacDonald now finds himself as one of the top contenders in the welterweight division.
"He doesn't deserve to be in there with me, and I'll prove it. I'll prove it in under a round." —Jason Miller via Spike TV's MMA Uncensored Live
In an interview on Spike TV's MMA Uncensored Live, "Mayhem" said a loss to C.B. Dollaway would mean his retirement. Though he said that in confidence, the veteran ended up losing to Dollaway in embarrassing fashion.
At least Miller kept his word and called it quits, but not before the UFC released him from their roster.
"You actually think you have hands enough to put on me? You actually think you do, dude? I train with people like Tyrone Spong, and [Alistair] Overeem. I bang with them every damn day, son. You got nothing on what I got. Nothing. I can't wait to touch you, bro." —Matt Mitrione via MMAFighting.com's The MMA Hour
During an interview with Quinton Jackson on MMAFighting.com's The MMA Hour, Mitrione called in and tried to talk "Rampage" into fighting him. Jackson was actually open to the idea, but the UFC never considered booking the matchup.
Mitrione's mouth has been much more active than his career in 2012, though. The former NFL player's first fight of the calender year will take place on Saturday against The Ultimate Fighter 16 coach Roy Nelson.
“He wants to be a fighter, and he’s not. I think we were talking about coaching or something like that, and he's not a coach. There’s an understanding of being a fighter, and I don’t think he understands.” —Roy Nelson via MMAJunkie.com
UFC president Dana White is not an individual you want to throw jabs at. White has been known to hold a grudge like no other. Still, Nelson has almost purposely become an enemy of the UFC brass.
Nelson repeatedly questions the organization's methods and isn't afraid to speak his mind about other fighters' potential steroid use without much cause.
"Stop doping. Lose the weight. She can either do the drugs and fight me at 135 and have the drugs be just as much a detriment as a help to her during the weight cut, or she can cut out all the doping and make the weight easily. It's just whatever. As long as she makes 135, I don't care if she's injecting horse semen into her eyeballs." —Ronda Rousey via MMAFighting.com
Make no mistake. Women would not be coming to the UFC if Rousey wasn't the trash-talker that she has become. She's the female Chael Sonnen, willing to blast anyone and everyone who crosses her path.
Though she is set to fight Liz Carmouche in her UFC debut, Rousey no doubt has Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos in the back of her mind. A fight between the two would mean big money for all involved, but "Cyborg" must first be convinced to drop down to 135 pounds.
"I whooped your ass once, and I'll do it again… I’d rather whoop your lil' bro's ass after he looses 12/8. Ain't scared at all." —Diego Sanchez
Sanchez is straight up crazy. He'll fight anyone, anywhere, any time. Out of nowhere, Sanchez recently called out both Diaz brothers. While Nick is being considered for a fight with Georges St-Pierre, Nate is looking for a fight after losing to Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 5.
This guy could make a pillow fight exciting, so a matchup with either Diaz brother would undoubtedly be an instant classic.
"I'd like to congratulate Ronda Rousey on becoming a pioneer in this sport. It's well deserved and overdue. Looks like Mitt Romney has a new favorite fighter and Rampage Jackson has another opponent he can't beat." —Chael Sonnen via TMZ.com
It's fitting that Sonnen somehow comes last in this alphabetically ordered list. Sonnen is the best there ever was and the best there probably ever will be when it comes to trash talk in MMA.
There's no way Sonnen would be fighting Jon Jones in April if it weren't for his mouth. Even if he loses to Jones, which he more than likely will, Sonnen has created a long line of adversaries to follow. Quinton Jackson could be one of them as long as he decides to stay with the UFC after his upcoming fight with Glover Teixeira.