It is unquestioned that one of the elements that contributed to Conor McGregor becoming the biggest superstar in the sport is his gift of gab. And that gab has known to be used as a pre-fight jab on his opponents with mystic predictions and clever insults landing on his foe.
One of the talking points leading into McGregor’s UFC 257 bout against Dustin Poirier is that there was no such trash talk in the fight build-up the way there was prior to their first fight at UFC 178. Ben Askren believes that this is part of the reason the result was different this time around.
“Conor without the shit-talk is a lot less effective,” Askren said on the Real Quick With Mike Swick Podcast. “I think if you look at just the Poirier fight, in the first fight, he got him really upset, right? And Poirier got over-extended, tried to fight too hard, and boom, clips him, puts him down. Jose Aldo: gets him mad, Aldo rushes in, boom, puts him down.
“And now in these last couple fights, you’ve seen like this nicer, happy, more mature…I don’t know what you want to call it. He’s not the same Conor as you saw five years ago,” Askren continued. “And there’s other things that are different as well. But I think Conor without the shit-talk is a less effective Conor.”
Although McGregor did lose to Poirier, the “nicer, happier” McGregor could not have looked better against Donald Cerrone last year, so it is possible that Askren is suffering from a bit of recency bias when making this argument. But as far as Dustin Poirier goes, Askren’s evidence is clear-cut: Nice McGregor: 0-1; Trash-Talking McGregor: 1-0.
Do you agree with Ben Askren? Is Conor McGregor less effective when he does not trash talk?