Dennis Bermudez has gotten the bug and he plans on being more vocal. The UFC featherweight contender said it isn’t so much that he’s trying to follow in the footsteps of trash talkers like McGregor. It’s more about just being himself.
"I’m f***ing funny man," Bermudez said. "I want people to see that about me, that I’m a likeable guy. I’m a people person."
Bermudez showed a lot of that off in a hilarious video done by MMA Fighting that features the tongue-in-cheek bromance between him and Patrick Cummins. The charisma Bermudez is talking about shines through in the piece.
Previously, the Long Island native was hesitant to open up and show his true self in interviews. But after speaking with his coaches and managers, he realized that he could become a lot more popular if he spoke to reporters the same way he does to them.
"I think I was just trying not to step on anyone’s feet, just playing my role in my division," Bermudez said. "But I think now, if I don’t speak up, I won’t be heard. I’m trying to be a little bit more vocal."
This has a chance to be a big week for Bermudez. He meets the very popular Clay Guida at UFC Fight Night: Lawler vs. Brown on Saturday (FOX, 8 p.m.) here at SAP Center. Guida is ranked No. 7 among UFC featherweight contenders, while Bermudez is No. 12. So, a victory could very well vault Bermudez into the top 10.
And if he wins, Bermudez (13-3) might just have something prepared to tell Joe Rogan afterward, but he wouldn’t let on what it would be. Don’t expect a WWE-style promo, though.
"I’m not as clever as Chael [Sonnen]," Bermudez said. "I’m my own guy. I’m ‘The Menace.’"
McGregor has made serious waves in the featherweight division with his charisma and trash talk. Beating Diego Brandao last week in Dublin got McGregor a No. 10 ranking, though Bermudez has won six in a row and has been in the UFC a lot longer. Bermudez doesn’t want to talk like Conor McGregor, but he gets it.
"If anything it’s like, kudos, dude,’" Bermudez said. "Well done. Nice job, dude. You’re cutting the line. That’s what we’re all trying to do. We’re all trying to get to the top as fast as we can."
Bermudez, 27, must go through Guida on Saturday. He sees himself as a younger, better version of the wild-haired veteran. Both are very good wrestlers who keep a high pace and love to slam their opponents to the ground with power.
"I’m younger, I’m more explosive, I’m more handsome, better hair, tougher — name it," Bermudez said. "He’s richer, though."
Bermudez is hoping to change that, too. Maybe the way to do it is by just being himself.
"I really want people to see me just like I am at the gym shooting the s*** with my buddies," Bermudez said. "I’m not trying to toot my own hard, but I’m a pretty likeable guy."