It would be entirely possible, I think, to construct a "best UFC quotes of 2012" simply out of the many outlandish things Chael Sonnen said during the lead-up to his fight with Anderson Silva last summer.
Sonnen was in rare form. And we'll include some of those quotes here, of course, but we're also bringing you the best quotes from other fighters around the UFC. They may not consistently strike gold as often as Sonnen does, but there's still plenty of great material to be found.
And with that, fellow lead writer Jonathan Snowden and I present our collection of the best UFC quotes of 2012.
Sonnen opines on Silva and other Brazilians being bullies:
"I have this stigma of being a trash talker, but my only goal was to bring these bullies down. I never picked on anybody who wasn't No. 1 in the world. When I went after Wanderlei Silva, he had an aura around him that he couldn't be beat. When I went after Anderson (Silva), when I went after Paulo Filho, the Nogueira brothers, (Lyoto) Machida. If they were in my cross hairs, they were a No. 1 guy that everyone else was sidestepping.
"They are all a bunch of punks and bullies and I will never be one. The only litmus test I have for myself—am I willing to fight anybody? When the day comes that I won't fight somebody, I won't fight anybody. If there is someone out there that makes me go 'I'm not fighting him,' then I'm not going to fight anyone anymore.
"That's what bullies do. Bullies pick and choose who they get in fights with based on who they think they can beat. I will never, ever do that. When the day comes that I back down, I will quit this sport."
Sonnen discusses Jon Jones refusal to fight him at UFC 151:
"Jon Jones is a delusional brat. He talks of being a businessman? What? What risks did he take? What capital did he raise? Where exactly is his office located? How many people does he employ? Hey JJ, put me on the phone with your secretary... Oh wait, what?"
And finally, Sonnen tells the world why Jones should have left the division instead of fighting him:
"Here’s the bottom line, he should not have been pressured into this. I did everything I could to warn this guy. I told him ‘Hey I’m coming to the division’ and he should have packed up and left it. He talked about going to heavyweight and he should have done it because now he’s waited too long and the man has arrived.”
Dana White loves Ronda Rousey. That much we know for sure. He loves her so much, in fact, that he created an entire women's division in the UFC after spending years telling people around the world that there wasn't enough depth to create a female fighting force.
So yeah, White is in the Rousey business. And hopefully for him, the Rousey business is good.
Here's Dana discussing why he's bringing Rousey over:
"She's a (expletive) unique individual. She's like a Diaz brother. She really is. Inside like a (expletive) dude trapped in this beautiful body. The reason I got interested in women's MMA is because of her … everyone is like it's cause she's good-looking and 'Dana blah-blah.' Gina Carano is good-looking too. She's very pretty. There's (expletive) something different about Ronda Rousey."
More of the same:
"I'm putting my toe in the water, and I'm checking it out. There's no doubt, for people who say, 'Oh, this is the Ronda Rousey show,' [expletive] right it is. You're absolutely right. I'm not trying to shy away from that and say, 'Oh no, we're getting into women's MMA.' This is the Ronda Rousey Show."
And here's Dana on why Rousey is headlining UFC 157 over Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida:
"She's the champ. You will never see a [different] situation in any fight, whether men, women, the lightest weight division there is. If you're the champion, you're the headliner. You're the top of the card. I've seen some people talking s--- about, "Oh, the women's fight is headlining." Ronda Rousey is a badass, she's the champ, her opponent stepped up to the plate and wanted this fight with her when no one, others didn't. I don't give a s--- what they say, that's a fact."
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has always been known to be respectful to his opponents. Well, he's respectful to them outside the Octagon; things are very different inside the cage, where Silva might elect to embarrass you in front of millions watching around the world.
But Sonnen brought out a new side of Silva that we hadn't seen before. Gone were the nice words and the bows, replaced by a man on a mission. Silva was out to ruin Sonnen at UFC 148.
Here's Silva discussing why he wanted to hurt Sonnen so badly:
"He deserves to be taught a lesson here, I owe this to my people."
Silva went a few steps further on the electric UFC 148 conference call:
"Chael is a criminal. He's been convicted of crimes. He doesn't deserve to be in the Octagon. When the time is right, I'm going to break his face and break every one of his teeth in his mouth.
"I don't live in the past. The things in the past are in museums. Playtime is over. I'm gonna beat Chael like he's never been beat before. There's no more talking. I'm going to beat his ass out of the UFC. He's never gonna want to fight again after I'm done with him."
But after the fight—and after Silva finished Sonnen in the second round—the playful side of Silva returned:
"Chael disrespected my country, but it's fine. Let's show that Brazil has manners. I want everyone to applaud Chael. If you'd like to have a barbecue at my house, I'd love to have you over for a barbecue."
We know that Jon Jones and Rashad Evans were friends at one point in time. They may not have been as close as the UFC made them out to be in the lead-up to UFC 145, but they were, at the very least, training partners.
That all changed when Jones stepped out of Evans' shadow and captured the UFC light heavyweight title. Evans moved to Florida and helped found the Blackzilians fight team, leaving Jones to become the centerpiece of Jackson's MMA in New Mexico.
And after a slew of delays, the pair would finally face off last April, but not before a war of words could reach its absolute zenith.
Here's Jones discussing Evans' claims that the champ is cocky:
“Rashad is the one who takes a lot of things, his own personal demons, and he tries to stick ‘em on me, almost like a nametag he’s peeling off his shirt and putting onto my shirt,” Jones said. “Like ‘cocky.’ Before I came along, Rashad Evans was the king of cocky.”
Here's Jones discussing Rashad's chin:
"When I watch my first fights I used to flail. Everything's flail-y, and I realize the power of flexing your abdominal when you try to strike and things like that. I definitely feel as though I'm hitting harder, and I'm excited. I wobbled Rampage (Jackson) a little bit when I hit him, and I wobbled Lyoto (Machida) when I hit him, and I think out of all those guys, Rashad has the weakest chin. I think he has the weakest chin of anyone I've fought since 2010, and I think I'm going to exploit that."
Jones talked about his reasons for wanting to end his rivalry with Evans in emphatic fashion:
"Jealousy fuels Rashad, to some degree. I think it's safe to say, yeah, absolutely safe to say. I think it's very weak emotionally on his part. That's why I can't wait for this fight to be over. I have no problem with him. Right now, I have my kids, I have my girl, we have our place together, I'm following my dreams. I'm doing the right things in life. I'm on the right track. Rashad is the one who looks at this whole story like, you know, this guy's went off and created his own team and he's left the people who were there for him in the beginning. He's the one who is going through this whirlwind in life right now. And I just can't wait to put him out of his misery and solidify me being the light heavyweight champion and telling him to go have a seat somewhere."
Jones would indeed beat Evans at UFC 145, defending his light heavyweight title yet again. Evans, meanwhile, hasn't competed since that night in Atlanta.
Looks like the champ got his revenge.
Junior dos Santos isn't the heavyweight champion of the world anymore, but that wasn't the case for nearly all of 2012. And at one point, Dos Santos was scheduled to face Alistair Overeem, who had destroyed Brock Lesnar and sent him packing back to the WWE at the end of 2011.
But Overeem failed a random drug test with a extremely high T/E ratio, leaving Dos Santos to face Frank Mir on short notice instead.
Dos Santos was not happy, and he didn't mind saying so:
"I think he doesn’t deserve to fight for the title. You know this guy, everyone is just talking about him because he failed the drug test and he started to talk a lot of trash, so that is why people are talking about him. Well, his time will come."
Overeem had a response:
"Well Junior dos Santos says all kind of things that don't really make sense. First he begged to Dana White he wanted to fight me, so as a fighter I accept such a challenge right away. Now he's saying that I don't deserve a title fight. He has to make up his mind as he's changing his story all the time. The same stuff he was saying about me going to the school of Chael Sonnen. I never made the fight between us personal and I never bad mouthed him. The only thing I said was that I think he's afraid of me, which I think he still is haha. When I signed with the UFC I could of easily go for the title shot right away but I chose to fight Brock Lesnar, so in no means I'm talking myself into a title shot. If the UFC wants me to fight for the title, I'm available, and if they decide to let me fight someone else first I'm also fine with that. I'm a fighter and I will get my chance sooner or later."
Dos Santos would eventually step back in the cage with Cain Velasquez—where he lost his title—but not before getting in another shot at Overeem:
"I prefer to fight against clean athletes and real professionals...I know he's (Cain Velasquez) very tough and I know how hard I have to train to face him. And the other guys, they just say things but there is nothing behind the words. Guys like me and Cain Velasquez, we are made at the gym, and guys like the other guy there (Alistair Overeem), they are made at the laboratory."