Trash-talking is becoming the fast track to success in the UFC.
There is nothing more exciting than seeing a bout between fighters harboring personal animosity towards one another.
It's a longing desire of human beings to be entertained. When people genuinely dislike one another, it adds to the competitive edge, as a sense of pride comes into play.
The mantra of the UFC is to always give the fans the fights they want to see. For fighters, the fight game isn't just about performance and consecutive wins. Marketability is becoming a major deciding factor in crowning the next No. 1 contender.
When Chael Sonnen initially called out UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, there was hardly a person alive interested in that fight. Things changed when Sonnen began throwing out random insults towards Silva in the media, and people started to pay attention.
It can't be ignored that Sonnen put on the performance of a lifetime at UFC 117, but his near victory over Silva wasn't the primary driving force behind the blockbuster rematch at UFC 148.
When approached with the idea of a rematch, Silva initially wasn't interested. With his back against the wall, Sonnen began the trash-talking campaign of his life, which included shots at Silva, his family and the entire county of Brazil.
The interest in the rematch was so overwhelming that fans began accusing Silva of ducking Sonnen. In the end, Sonnen was awarded his rematch and defeated once again by Silva.
Over a month removed from his loss to Silva, Sonnen's mouth almost led to yet another UFC title shot. UFC light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones was in the crosshairs of the Oregon native this time around.
Sonnen offered to step in as a late replacement for an injured Dan Henderson, but Jones turned down the fight.
How does a fighter with a 6-5 overall UFC record earn a title shot coming off a loss?
There is much to be said about performance, but at the end of the day, people want to be entertained. Love him or hate him, Sonnen is continuously proving to be a marketing genius.
He is quite possibly the greatest hype man in MMA history, but fans can also depend on him to show up and give a good effort on fight night.
Nick Diaz and Alistair Overeem have also utilized the idea of mouthing off to the media to earn a title shot.
Despite Carlos Condit being named the No. 1 contender for Georges St-Pierre's welterweight title, Diaz's aggressive comments (via ESPN) towards the French Canadian in October 2011 helped him leapfrog the former WEC champ in the title picture.
Overeem nearly slid in front of Cain Velasquez (via CagePotato.com) for a heavyweight-title shot against Junior Dos Santos in December. The former Strikeforce champ began trashing the UFC champ in the media, which directed the interest away from Velasquez.
There's nothing wrong with using the media to get a title shot. A chance to become a UFC champion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fighters should use every tool at their disposal to stay ahead and make a lasting impression.
Is trash-talking becoming the new standard for a UFC title shot?
It's certainly becoming one of the standards.
In this day and age, being a UFC champion may come with the responsibility of taking out the trash every now and then.
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