As the delectable entrée to the main course of fight night, UFC press conferences reliably deliver a generous serving of witty one-liners, emotionally charged back-and-forths, and often controversial moments.
They’re a spectacle of bluster and bravado like no other in the sporting world. In this article, we rank the five most memorable UFC press conference moments of the past two years.
5. UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane
It was the interim title fight that doubled as a huge middle finger to newly crowned heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. Not only was Lewis vs. Gane announced just three months after the Cameroonian captured the title, it was also billed by UFC President Dana White as a battle between the world’s two best heavyweights.
Even if that claim was simply fight promoter puffery, the matchup was an intriguing one between two in-form fighters with wildly different styles. In Derrick Lewis, we had of course a plodding yet agile brawler with ham hocks for fists. And in Gane, an Adonis-like, fleet-of-foot striking technician with an unbeaten record.
The difference in the two men’s personalities was also glaringly apparent. As a clean cut, affable Frenchman with somewhat limited English, we could never expect Gane to produce much in the way of highlights when he sat down before the Houston crowd at the UFC 265 press conference.
But we could with Lewis of course. Before his hometown crowd, he delivered yet another witty one-liner that warrants a mention as one of the most memorable UFC press conference moments. The barb was kindly set up by a very loaded question from a French reporter.
“How would it feel to get beaten by a Frenchman in front of your fans?” the reporter asked “The Black Beast.”
After taking a few moments to fully consider the question, Lewis replied with a simple answer that had the crowd in stiches: “You’re going to have to excuse my French, but f*ck you and f*ck him.”
4. UFC 276: Adesanya vs. Cannonier
Sean Strickland’s first UFC press conference was always going to be fireworks.
The top-ten middleweight, known for regularly spewing unvarnished, often controversial views was set to face Alex Pereira at UFC 276. And it just so happened that at the presser, Strickland was conveniently seated directly behind the man whom Pereira had spectacularly knocked out as a kickboxer, middleweight champ Israel Adesanya.
All the elements were in place for an explosive debut press conference for Strickland, and what he delivered was almost like a standup routine where he roasted not only Adesanya, but the crowd too.
Rising to his feet, “Tarzan” opened strong by calling the Las Vegas crowd “a bunch of vicious bastards” and stating his intention to “punch all you f*ckers in the face.”
Then, when Strickland was asked who the best striker on stage was, a spirited exchange with Adesanya ensued:
Strickland: “I would say me, but that man was the one who slept that man. Next to me, probably Alex. What was it? 2-0 against Izzy? What is it 2-0?”
Adesanya: “Did you watch the whole fight?”
Strickland: “No, I don’t watch fights.”
Adesanya: “Exactly, do your f*cking job next time.”
Strickland: “Oh, man. I made the champion mad with his f*cking frosted tips and his gay little watch. Oh no. I’m just joking. Izzy is a savage, bro. No doubt.”
Plenty more hilarious jabs from Strickland followed as he took aim at Adesanya’s well-known love of Japanese Anime.
“Bro, your Pornhub is just filled with cartoons, bro,” said Strickland. “No man that beats off to cartoons is going to beat me. Calm down. Calm down.”
“You better focus on your guy [Pereira],” shot back Adesanya. “Otherwise, he’s going to f*ck you up, too.”
In the end, it was Adesanya who had the last laugh. As if to repay some sort of karmic debt wracked up by his display of chutzpah at the presser, Strickland was of course knocked out cold in the first round by Pereira.
3. UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3
Some of the most memorable UFC press conference moments in history belong to Conor McGregor, and at this one, the Irishman was in fine form.
Having been spectacularly knocked out by Poirier just six months prior, a fired up, somewhat unhinged McGregor stepped onto the stage at the UFC 264 press conference. And he immediately got down to business, snatching two bottles of Dustin’s famous Louisiana hot sauce from the dais, and hurling them into the crowd.
When Poirier stepped on stage, Conor went at him like a pit-bull freshly uncaged. The duo were held back as they exchanged barbs, before McGregor grabbed another bottle of hot sauce, flung it into the crowd, and led them in a chant of “Your wife is your husband!”
This all happened before the press had the chance to even ask a single question. And when they did, all manner of bluster and bile spewed forth from McGregor’s mouth.
“You’re getting walked like a dog in that octagon on Saturday night!” Conor shouted. “You’re only a little b*tch. Your wife is your husband. You’re only a little b*tch of a thing, a silly little hillbilly. Jolie’s wife! You little b*tch of a thing.”
Dustin, however, had his moments too. When a reporter asked Conor why he was no longer treating Poirier with the kindly respect evident during their previous bout, Dustin chimed in with a zinger.
“Cause he got knocked the f*ck out,” said Poirier, as Conor sat in silence. “Not McGregor Fast, McGregor sleep.”
McGregor even got into it with a member of the credentialed press who, dressed in a bright pink suit, attempted to ask the former double-champ a question that was only going to get one reaction.
“Conor, question for you,” said the reporter.” You have won exactly one fight since Barack Obama was president…”
“Shut your mouth or I’ll go down [there] and smash your nose in,” fumed McGregor. “I’ll smash your nose in you little rat, you little rat. Someone smack him!”
Undeterred by McGregor’s frothing rage, the reporter continued needling the Irishman.
“This man [Poirier] sent you to a place where time doesn’t exist six months ago,” he said. “We want to know why anyone should expect anything different on Saturday?”
“It’s one more fight I won than your little sissy arse…you little fanny pad,” seethed Conor.
2. UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2
The simmering tensions between welterweight champ Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington boiled over in torrents at this fiery and memorable UFC press conference—the precursor to their long-awaited rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Covington, who stepped onto the stage wearing a “King of Miami” emblazoned multicolored suit, put on a trash-talking display that freely and regularly crossed the bounds of human decency.
His first target? MMA reporter John Morgan, who for committing the sin of asking Colby a question, was branded a “click-bait merchant” and subjected to a generous serving of fat-shaming.
“If you want an answer from me get down and give me 10 push-ups right now!” screamed Covington. “Get on your hands and knees! What!? If you want a question take 10 push-ups, flabby butt!”
Next, Covington turned his bile and bluster to the man who handed him a TKO loss in 2019, Usman.
“Is your daddy the jailbird coming on Saturday night?” needled Covington, making light of the 10-year jail sentence Usman’s father, Muhammed, recently served. “I’m going to hook up with law enforcement if you want me to call his parole officer. I’ll make sure he can come on Saturday night.”
Usman, however, kept his cool, replying: “Could you please make that phone call? Please? I need him here to watch you get your face broken this time.”
The duo continued slinging insults back and forth for the remainder of this very memorable UFC press conference, before Colby shamelessly compared himself to some of the world’s greatest entertainers.
“When I think about Madison Square Garden, I think about the Rolling Stones, Hulkamania, I think bout Muhammad Ali and now Colby Covington,” he said. “What do all those have in common? Legends. Icons. Hall-of-famers. World class.”
Finally, Covington put an exclamation point on his performance by railing against New York’s Democratic political leaders and hailing himself a champion of the people.
“What makes fighting in this city so great is that they’ve had to put up with so much sh*t with governor nipple rings and that clown mayor De Blasio. I’m putting on a show for all of you on Saturday night, that’s why I’m the people’s champ. I love you all you filthy animals!”
1. UFC 262: Oliveira vs. Chandler
This was not only one of the most memorable UFC press conference moments of the past few years, but perhaps of all time. A one-liner that will be remembered for years to come, delivered by a man who’s no stranger to creating viral on-the-mic moments—Tony Ferguson.
Having lost his two previous bouts to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira, Ferguson came to the press conference with a notable axe to grind, and from the outset, went about furiously extending middle finger in all directions.
When former lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov was mentioned during the first question, “El Cucuy” enthusiastically jumped at the chance to stick it to his old adversary.
“He’s a f*cking b*tch, he’s a f*cking p*ssy,” Ferguson said, interrupting MMA Junkie’s John Morgan. “Sorry to interrupt you, but I’m dedicating this song “Mask Off” – chase the check, never chase a b*tch. That’s Khabib.”
Next, Ferguson took aim at his UFC 262 opponent, Beneil Dariush, which resulted in this hilarious exchange:
Ferguson: “I’m gonna f*cking slam you. I’m gonna slam you. I’m gonna slam you. I’m gonna slam you like I did my student, I broke his f*cking rib.”
Dariush: “Well that’s a dick move, bud. Why would you do that to your own student?”
Ferguson: “Because he made me do it.”
Finally, Tony delivered the coup de grace of the evening during a tense exchange with Michael Chandler, who after just one UFC outing was set to face Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 262. When Chandler began gushing about the perfect timing of his championship bout, Ferguson chimed in with a point to prove.
“You f*cking dodged me too, Chandler – you’re a b*tch,” Tony shouted at Chandler. “Every person out here except this guy [Oliveira], that’s sitting next to me. I’m going to be real.”
Then, as Chandler attempted to refute Ferguson’s claim, “El Cucuy” dispensed one of the most memorable one-liners in MMA history.
“You f*cking said no, I’m going to be real. You got this sh*t handed to you. You got Dana White privilege,” said Tony, sending Dana White peeling back in laughter, as well as the crowd.
What do you think of this list of the most memorable UFC press conference moments?