Sonnen explains why trash-talk is valuable for McGregor ahead of UFC 264

Chael Sonnen sees the value in Conor McGregor’s trash-talk game. | Photo by Scott Heavey/PA Images via Getty Images

Chael Sonnen talks about the value of trash-talking and how it’s Conor McGregor’s key to victory agains…


Chael Sonnen sees the value in Conor McGregor’s trash-talk game.
Chael Sonnen sees the value in Conor McGregor’s trash-talk game. | Photo by Scott Heavey/PA Images via Getty Images

Chael Sonnen talks about the value of trash-talking and how it’s Conor McGregor’s key to victory against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.

Fighters of past and present have recently spoken about Conor McGregor’s keys to victory against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264. The main theme, so far, has been about “The Notorious” going back to his roots.

For Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, it’s going back to moving like a “Karate guy.” And most recently, Chael Sonnen pointed out the importance of trash-talking, which was last seen from McGregor in the build-up of his UFC 229 title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.

If there’s one man who understands the significance of talking a big game, it’s Uncle Chael. As he explained in a recent video he uploaded on his YouTube channel, the person on the receiving end experiences a “chemical release” in the brain that makes them feel more fatigued even before the fight begins.

But as he also pointed out, it is more about building self-belief for the person talking smack.

What’s really happening when a fighter’s talking trash is he’s building himself up. That’s the part that isn’t seen. You think he’s out there trying to sell tickets or talk his way into opportunities or get into your opponent’s head. You’re not wrong, that’s a piece of it.

But what’s really happening when you’re saying ‘I am the greatest, I am the best. No one can beat me, I am the greatest of all-time…’ And it goes in that order. You’ll slowly pick it up. You’ll start with, ‘I deserve main events. I can fight for a world championship. I can even beat this guy.’ You’ll keep going.

And the reason that it goes in that order is because you, as the author of that statement, don’t believe it. You’re uncomfortable saying it. You don’t even feel right.

Chael went on to relate a similar experience when he first began taking on his brash persona as a fighter, and how it eventually fostered a change in his attitude.

I remember where I was and what I was driving the first time I told a guy, who was a reporter, ‘I’m the greatest to have ever done it.’ And I remember after it left my mouth, I paused, waiting for him to either laugh or dispute it. And I remember when he didn’t. I remember thinking, ‘Why didn’t he dispute that? I’m not the greatest of all-time.’

And, so, I kept saying it. And slowly, I believed it. It became a real thing. I started training differently. It wasn’t just a mental approach. I started training differently.

With McGregor, Sonnen thinks that the Irishman’s subdued demeanor ahead of UFC 257 may have urged him to ease off, which likely translated into the fight itself.

When Conor started the PR tour (for UFC 257), and he quit doing those things, he quit being brash, it wasn’t just a letdown for us fans that enjoy that commodity that Conor brings to the table, that enjoy the entertainment. He also stopped putting that pressure on himself.

And I’m not sure from a psychological standpoint that Conor understands that was the difference in the second Poirier fight. It was the approach.

He got into the ring as though he was above Poirier. And I’m sure he felt that way. He’d already dusted Poirier. It wasn’t a close contest. At no part in that first fight was Conor ever in trouble. And it was a pretty short night.

But it was also a meaningful difference whether Conor’s aware of it or not. Saying some of those things isn’t just good for ticket sales. Saying those things isn’t good just to get your opponent to second-guess it. Saying those things is what gets you ready to go out and act on it.

There’s a certain edge that certain fighters have. There’s a certain anger and a certain hostility that they bring into the ring. It’s the very reason that they coined the phrase, ‘A rich man can’t fight.’ Because he generally isn’t angry, he’s generally having a pretty good day. He generally doesn’t have that edge.

Speaking of UFC 257, Sonnen also saw how McGregor was already “looking for the door” in the first three minutes of the fight. As he explains:

There was a day when Conor McGregor — whether it was true or not — never would admit that a calf kick hurt. I will never say those words to you. You kicked me in a soft muscle in the back of my leg and therefore I lost an ass-whooping contest? Whether it was true or not, you’d never get me to cop to it. And there was a time when you’d never get Conor to cop to it.

Conor found himself in a fight that was harder than Conor thought it was going to be, against a guy whose ass Conor already whooped. Those are the things that started to play the mental game. That’s where Conor thought, ‘Land this big punch, let’s make it all look good, and let’s go home. I’ve got to get out of here.’ He went into panic mode.

It’s one of these things where if you admit that ahead of time, that panic mode and that fear, that adversity that you deal with loses its power.

UFC 264 is ten days away. It takes place at the T-Mobile Arena, the first full capacity event in the said venue since UFC 248 last March.

UFC Vegas 30: Gane vs. Volkov fight week coverage

Ciryl Gane poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on June 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Check out Bloody Elbow’s pre-fight, fight night, and post-fight coverage …


UFC Fighter Portraits
Ciryl Gane poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on June 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Check out Bloody Elbow’s pre-fight, fight night, and post-fight coverage for UFC VEGAS 30: ‘GANE VS. VOLKOV’, set for Saturday, June 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event is a five-round battle between heavyweight strikers and top contenders Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov.

The main card airs live on ESPN+ at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT, with prelims also on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at 1 PM ET/10 AM PT.

Midnight Mania! UFC Vegas 30 Fighter Betting Entire Purse On Himself

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight! Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Here at Midnight Mania, we love a bold maneuver … for better or worse. Full-on…


UFC Fight Night Overeem v Volkov: Weigh-Ins
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight!

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Here at Midnight Mania, we love a bold maneuver … for better or worse. Full-on sprint into a flying knee, sacrifice top position for a leg lock, or let someone try to kick a water bottle off your head? Well, there’s are surefire ways to make it in the column.

Justin Jaynes, who will compete this Saturday night (June 26, 2021) at UFC Vegas 30 opposite Charles Rosa, is definitely bold. This is a man who debuted inside the Octagon on short-notice and immediately went after it, stopping Frank Camacho in a “Performance Of The Night”-winning knockout just 41 seconds into the fight (HIGHLIGHTS!). Unfortunately, his all-action style has since seen him rack up three stoppages defeats in a row, admittedly to some pretty tough opposition.

“The Guitar Hero” is doubling down though. In an interview with Danny Podolsky, Jaynes revealed that he’s bet the majority of his purse on himself to defeat Rosa Saturday night.

“As soon as the betting line comes out between Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa, I’m putting my entire fight contract on myself, and my coaches are doing that as well,” Jaynes said. “I’m betting close to 25K that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself. This is all in for me, and if I lose this fight, I do not get paid and my coaches do not get paid either. And that won’t be as bad as losing my job of being in the UFC.”

At the time of writing, Jaynes is a +145 underdog, meaning a $25k bet would payoff to the tune of $36,250. Did the second preliminary bout of the night just become the most interesting fight on Saturday’s card for anyone else?

Insomnia

HBO is coming out with a documentary on Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s rise and fall titled Invincible. Check out the trailer!

Bo Nickal is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, and he’s looking to make the crossover into the cage at 25 years of age.

This college-aged Alexander Volkov throwback is pretty neat — who would have guessed this engineering student was such a badass?

Alright, this is a “W” for Colby Covington.

Ricardo Lamas issues a challenge:

Robert Whittaker’s new gym setup is looking really clean!

Slips, rips, and KO clips

This man showed the spin kick from a mile away, but it still landed heavy!

When Ovince Saint Preux is in the zone, he’s a very dangerous man. Will it be enough vs. Tanner Boser this weekend?

Jumping switch knee to the mid-section is definitely an unusual finish.

Random Land

I thought this speed climbing comp on the pillars of a bridge was pretty cool!

Midnight Music: I first heard this track from a sample on a Pusha T song, but the OG song is pretty damn great as well.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

Predictions! Bellator 261 Main Card Preview & Quick Picks

Bellator MMA

Bellator 261: “Johnson vs Moldavsky” is set to go down tomorrow night (Fri., June 25, 2021) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., broadcasting via Showtime. Headlining the event will be an interim Hea…


Bellator MMA

Bellator 261: “Johnson vs Moldavsky” is set to go down tomorrow night (Fri., June 25, 2021) from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., broadcasting via Showtime. Headlining the event will be an interim Heavyweight title fight between Timothy Johnson (No. 1) taking on Valentin Moldavsky (No. 3). In the co-main event, Liz Carmouche will face Kana Watanabe in women’s Flyweight action.

265 lbs.: Timothy Johnson (15-6) vs Valentin Moldavsky (10-1)

Current Bellator MMA Heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is currently competing in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, so the promotion is setting up an interim title fight for the 265-poound division in the meantime. Obviously, Johnson — the No. 1 ranked fighter in the division — gets one slot while Moldavsky (No. 3) was a no-brainer to step in, as well. Moldavsky is undefeated inside the Bellator cage and has won his first five fights with the promotion. Johnson, meanwhile, is currently on a three-fight win streak, good enough to earn him the top spot. Johnson has a bit more experience in the fight game having competed for over a decade and taking on some of the best under the UFC banner before finding great success in Bellator. Moldavsky, meanwhile, made his MMA debut just six years ago. During that time he has really impressed, only losing once, a split decision under the RIZIN umbrella. Johnson has a bit more-well rounded attack, scoring numerous wins via knockout and submission, as well as grinding out decisions. But Moldavsky doesn’t keep it a secret he prefers to wrestle his way to wins. And that’s not to say that’s all he does because once he gets you on the ground, he brings the pain. And that’s what I believe will be the difference here. While Johnson may have a weight advantage over Moldavsky, weighing in 25 pounds heavier, Moldavsky’s sambo will be the great equalizer. We can expect a 25-minute war that will result in a dominant decision win for Moldavsky.

Prediction: Moldavsky via unanimous decision

125 lbs.: Liz Carmouche vs Kana Watanabe

Carmouche has made the most of her time under the Bellator banner, winning her first two fights in dominant fashion which has helped her climb up all the way to the No. 2 spot. Watanabe made a successful debut for the promotion in her last outing by taking out Alejandra Lara at Bellator 255 earlier this year. Undefeated at 10-0, Watanabe has long been one of the best fighters in Japan, earning her stripes with DEEP and RIZIN. Now she is in the process of getting her stateside fame and credentials up. Defeating Carmouche — a former UFC title contender — will do just that. To make it even sweeter, the winner of this fight will likely earn a shot at the title, which will be contested at Bellator 262 in a few months between division queen Juliana Velasquez and Denise Kielholtz. While Watanabe has proven to be legit, I don’t think she’ll be prepared for everything Carmouche will throw at her. “Girl-rilla” has it all; she can strike with the best of them and out-wrestle her foes when the occasion calls for it.

Prediction: Carmouche via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Daniel Weichel vs Keoni Diggs

Weichel is currently ranked No. 6 on the official Bellator rankings, but he hasn’t exactly had success over the last few fights. He has lost three of his last four fights inside the Bellator cage. That said, his losses have come against the best-of-the-best, losing to Patricio Freire (split decision), Goiti Yamouchi (split decision) and Emmanuel Sanchez (unanimous decision). As for Diggs, while he only has two fights with the promotion, he is undefeated at 10-0 and has a big opportunity in front of him. If he can take Weichel out, it should be good enough to get a spot in the Top 10. I just don’t see it happening. Weichel has been there, done that and he is extremely battle tested having competed for Bellator for seven years. He also has 52 fights to his credit. I can see Weichel overwhelming Diggs, taking him to deep waters and ultimately drowning him. Diggs will put up a fight, but it simply won’t be enough to pull out the “W.”

Prediction: Weichel via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Myles Jury vs Sydney Outlaw

After stumbling out of the gates to begin his Bellator MMA career thanks to a loss to Benson Henderson, Jury has won two in a row. That little run has put him at No. 4 and another win or two could get him to a shot at the Lightweight title. Outlaw only has three fights for the promotion, as well, but they didn’t lob him any softballs. He defeated Roger Huerta in his debut but ultimately came up short against Michael Chandler in his sophomore effort. He bounced back nicely by taking out Adam Piccolotti and is now looking to crash the Top 5 with a win over Jury. Jury does have a slight experience edge here but at this stage of the game it simply doesn’t matter. Outlaw is a go-getter, and his in your face style of fighting will give anyone trouble. He has a motor for days which means he’ll be in Jury’s face all night long. It’s a fairly-even matchup but I believe Jury is just a bit more polished and will do just enough to pull off the victory.

Prediction: Jury via split decision

205 lbs.: Christian Edwards vs Simon Biyong

Edwards is just four fights into his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, all going down inside the Bellator cage. During his two-year run with the promotion Edwards has shown promise, going 4-0 including scoring three stoppage victories; two by way of knockout and one by submission. He will be taking on Bellator MMA newcomer Simon Biyong who, like Edwards, has only been competing in the sport for a short amount of time. Biyong made his MMA debut in 2017 but he hasn’t competed since 2019, a TKO win over Vitaly Shemetov, his fourth straight win. There isn’t a ton of tape on Biyong, but the little footage there is on him (see it here), it shows that “Hemle” packs some serious power and ground-and-pound seems to be his go-to attack. He will need to be on his “A” game against Edwards because though he is new to the game, the 22-year old is out to prove that he deserves to be in the mix at 205-pounds. While he is still pretty far away from getting into the championship picture, a win over Biyong could get him closer to the rankings. For Biyong, handing Edwards his first loss would be a nice way to start his Bellator MMA career. Unfortunately I just don’t see it happening.

Prediction: Edwards via second round TKO

For more Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive archive right here.

Volkov To Gane: No Wrestling, Please!

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Will the real heavyweight contender please stand up?
No, seriously, stand up and strike because Alexander Volkov does not want Ciryl Gane to wrestle when they go to war for a spot in the 26…


UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Volkov
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Will the real heavyweight contender please stand up?

No, seriously, stand up and strike because Alexander Volkov does not want Ciryl Gane to wrestle when they go to war for a spot in the 265-pound title chase atop the UFC Vegas 30 MMA event this Sat. night (June 26, 2021) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“This fight, I think it will be one of the best this year because it’s two big, really high-level striking fighters, and it’s going to be a really interesting fight,” Volkov told MMA Junkie. “I’m more excited with it because I look at him, he’s a really good striker, and one time I feel like I (will) meet him anyway. I think it’s a good time for both of us. I want to fight with anybody who uses their striking skills, but not their wrestling or something. That’s why it’s a good fight for me. I hope he will not go to wrestling after some punches hit him, and we will continue this fight in the standup.”

Volkov is probably still sour that Curtis Blaydes took him down 14 times across their three-round affair at UFC on ESPN 11 back in June 2020, which marked the last time “Drago” has been defeated. Since then, the former Bellator champ is 2-0, both by way of knockout.

Sounds like Gane is up for the challenge.

“This is a big opportunity, because for me, I think it’s the biggest challenge I have of my career,” Gane told MMA Junkie. “Volkov, for me, is one of the best of the division. (The) more the challenge is big, the more I’m excited about that. Because I’m new to MMA. I want to prove because I really don’t know myself. I want a challenge, and maybe this fight is going to prove a new version of myself, and maybe I’m going to show something new.”

Gane has already shown a few things not typically found at heavyweight, like a heel hook submission. “Bon Gamin” is a perfect 8-0 in his pro MMA career with wins over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Junior dos Santos, just to name a few. But he’s now facing an elite striker in his prime who is likely to provide his toughest test to date.

We’ll find out if Gane passes (or fails) on Saturday night.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 30 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 4 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 30 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the complete “Gane vs. Volkov” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.

Jaynes betting his whole UFC Vegas 30 fight purse on himself

Justin Jaynes before fighting Devonte Smith at a UFC event in February 2021 | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

“I’m betting close to 25K that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself,” Jaynes said. …


Justin Jaynes before fighting Devonte Smith at a UFC event in February 2021
Justin Jaynes before fighting Devonte Smith at a UFC event in February 2021 | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

“I’m betting close to 25K that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself,” Jaynes said.

Justin Jaynes is that confident ahead of his fight with Charles Rosa this weekend that he is betting his entire fight purse on himself to win.

Jaynes will fight Rosa on the preliminary card of UFC Vegas 30 this Saturday, June 26th. Coming into this fight after losing his last three UFC appearances all by stoppage, the stakes couldn’t be higher for the 31-year-old Jaynes.

“My career is on the line in this fight,” Jaynes told Overtime Heroics. “Charles’s career is on the line in this fight; he’s coming off of a loss as well. I’ve been an underdog four times in a row, and if Charles thinks I’m just going to roll over, then he will be sadly mistaken because I’m bringing the heat.”

The oddsmakers currently have Jaynes as a +150 underdog against Rosa. If Jaynes is to bet $25,000 on himself to win, it would return a generous $62,500. Jaynes went on to say it wasn’t just him betting on himself, but his coaches also.

“As soon as the betting line comes out between Justin Jaynes and Charles Rosa, I’m putting my entire fight contract on myself, and my coaches are doing that as well. I’m betting close to 25K that I’m winning my fight because that’s how much I believe in myself. This is all in for me, and if I lose this fight, I do not get paid and my coaches do not get paid either. And that won’t be as bad as losing my job of being in the UFC.”

UFC Vegas 30 will be headlined by a heavyweight fight between Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov.