ROUNDTABLE (pt. 1 of 2): Who are the top three talkers and worse three talkers when it comes to hyping their fights?

Chael Sonnen (photo credit Winslow Townson © USA Today Sports)

TOPIC: Rank the top three relatively big name talkers in MMA today in terms of their effectiveness at boosting the drawing power of their fights and increasing fan interest. Then, on the flip side, who are the worst three relatively big name fighters (who speak English) when it comes to selling their fights?

MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATorch contributor

Conor McGregor is a lock at number one. We all know that. After that it gets interesting. Ronda Rousey is also very good on interviews so I’ll go with her as number two. She has a very believable intensity in her interviews that is perfect for selling fights. She also has the ability to be very charming in less intense settings which also helps her appeal. I think Dominick Cruz is a very good interview. He was very good at getting under Urijah Faber’s skin and he’s begun to prod Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw in recent months. I’ll go with them as my top three, with honorable mentions going to Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, and Joanna Jedrzejczyz.

The worst big name talkers is hard because if you’re a big name, there’s a good chance you’re a good talker and that’s how you became a big name. It’s the mid-level guys like Cub Swanson who refuse to call out opponents that are really the worst. Out of main event level talent, someone like Cain Velasquez is a poor interview relative to his placement on cards, Ryan Bader has tried to be a good talker but he comes off as unnatural so I’ll go with him at number two. He’s not a top level guy, but I’ll go with Max Holloway for my third worst interview as any time he has a hot mic he whines about wanting UFC to come to Hawaii, which I find really annoying.

ADAM TINDAL, MMATorch contributor

Top 3 Best Talkers: 1. Conor McGregor 2. Nate Diaz 3. Nick Diaz.

Top 3 Worst Talkers: 1. GSP 2. Frankie Edgar 3. Demetrious Johnson.

MATTHEW PETERSON, MMATorch contributor

Top three? Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, and Chael Sonnen. McGregor’s power needs no explanation, he’s talked the talk and gotten every fight he wanted because he puts people in the seats. Diaz spoke his mind and we got the two McGregor fights that sold over three million PPVs. And Sonnen knows how to make his mouth work for him either in the UFC or in Bellator.

The worst three? Tyron Woodley, T.J. Dillashaw, and B.J. Penn. Woodley won the title and immediately made the case for a big money fight instead of fighting any of the deserving contenders. His biggest problem was that he wasn’t McGregor and his entertaining fights didn’t even take all the fingers on one hand. His ideas were shot down and he’ll be fighting Stephen Thompson in New York. Dillashaw bet his whole fight purse that he’d win a rematch against Dominick Cruz and it reeked of so much desperation, most people simply ignored it. B.J. Penn just embarrasses himself every time he opens his mouth now unless it’s to say he’s retiring again. Aside from that, we just assume he’ll lose to anyone he challenges.

FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch contributor

UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor is the easy choice, no explanation needed. The other obvious choice is Chael Sonnen. For a guy with as boring a fight style as Sonnen to talk his way into big main events and big contracts speaks to his talking prowess. UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping is the third best. He’s shown that he can talk himself up and boost his name recognition.

Other than those three, the landscape is pretty bare. You don’t have a lot of guys talking themselves up. The Diaz brothers are draws based more on their fight style than any talking they do. Same with Jon Jones. I guess you could say Ronda Rousey, but she’s not exactly know as a big talker. Maybe Daniel Cormier or Dominick Cruz because they can put sentences together smoothly, but neither of those guys are draws.

The three worst talkers is also hard to say because there are so many of them, and they all stink at promoting themselves. And it’s a shame, too, because all these guys are supremely talented. I’ll just start naming guys who should be a much bigger deal than they actually are. UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson immediately springs to mind. T.J. Dillashaw is another. Tony Ferguson should be a bigger star. UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez, UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley, and Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold from the Middleweight Division should all be bigger stars. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson should be one of the biggest stars in all of the UFC because he’s so incredibly exciting to watch. And I’m sure I’ve left some names off, and I hate to be negative towards these guys, but they’re just not the draws they should be. It’s a shame, but in a world where Chael Sonnen can build up more hype for his fights than all these other guys, something is off.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: Who should George St. Pierre face if he fights at UFC 206 (or soon thereafter)? Condit? Silva? Someone else?

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