Love it or hate it, a big part of the game in combat sports is ‘trash talk’. With title dreams, PPV paydays, and sponsorship opportunities on the line, it’s not just about how thrilling a performance an athlete can put on—but on how well they can sell themselves in the lead up. Nobody’s going to splash out big money on a fighter fans don’t get excited to watch.
With the success that Conor McGregor, Chael Sonnen, Israel Adesanya, and other notably brash talents have had over the years, the UFC is awash in fighters who talk a big game. This Saturday in Las Vegas, NV, lightweight Jared Gordon is facing off against one of those men. Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett has a rabid hometown fan following and has already carved out a reputation as a thrilling finisher in the UFC and a live wire on the microphone.
“I really like Jared, you know what I mean? We’ve got a mutual respect for each other,” Pimblett admitted during a UFC 282 media event. “I think he’s an amazing human being—what he’s come back through, throughout his life. He’s turned his life around. He’s such an inspirational motivational person.”
“One thing that did piss me off was he said I’m a quitter. I’ve never quit. I’ve been choked unconscious and went five rounds twice against two steroid abusers, when I went into both of them fights injured.
“He’s the quitter. He tapped to a choke, recently, what wasn’t even fully on. That wasn’t even a proper rear naked choke—against an opponent who was absolutely dogshit. So, you know?”
Despite that touch of animosity, overall Pimblett and Gordon have mostly kept things civil. In part that may be down to Gordon’s feelings on trash talk in general. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting ‘Flash’ gave his impression of the subject and how he thinks some fighters take it too far. Especially, as Gordon noted, fighters who haven’t seen as much of the harsher side of life outside of their fighting careers.
“Some of the things I hear people say, like, I would stab you for that—or I know someone that would stab you for saying those things,” Gordon admitted.
“Certain things, I don’t want to fight you in a ‘legal fight’ for saying certain things. Like, when you’re not looking, I want to stab you in your back. That’s where I’m from. I’ve heard people call each other ‘motherless dogs’ and say ‘suck my you-know-what.’ And that’s something, that where I’m from, it’s something you get really hurt for—or maybe killed.
“In jail, if you call someone a bitch or tell them to suck your [dick], those are killing words. When I hear certain things—we’re not gangsters, we’re all professional athletes. We’re on the main stage, we’re in the UFC.”
Gordon may not have been directing any those messages at ‘The Baddy’ ahead of their clash at UFC 282, but he did single out another notable name he seems to feel has crossed the line a few times: Irish superstar Conor McGregor.
“I get it—crap talk; build up the fight, say what you’ve got to say. But certain things should be left unsaid,” Gordon explained. “That’s just how I grew up and where I’m from. You can tell Conor’s never really been in jail. You can tell. He might have did a couple of hours in Brooklyn when he threw the dolly at the [bus], but he never went to main jail or a real prison.
“You can just tell by the way he talks and by the way some other guys talk. It’s like I can tell you’ve never been certain places because if you were in certain places, you would hold yourself in a different way, carry yourself in a different way. Because you would be worried about someone trying to hurt you, someone trying to kill you.”
UFC 282 goes down this Saturday, December 10th at the T-Mobile Arena. Alongside the lightweight co-main event, the card is expected to be headlined by a bout between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant light heavyweight title.