Sonnen Says – Words of Wisdom

“Strategically, I’m gonna throw him down and punch him in the face repeatedly.”

UFC 104 Chael SonnenOn August 7th, one of the most intriguing and quotable fighters in recent memory – number one middleweight contender Chael Sonnen – gets his dream fight: a title bout against longtime champion Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 117. It will be the culmination of months of verbal jabs thrown by Sonnen, and before we assume that he has pulled out all the stops just for this fight, let’s revisit some of the Oregonian’s best quotes from the past few years.

The Fighting Life (2006)
“It’s not too hard. Fighting takes up about as much time as anyone else’s hobby. Guys that play golf probably spend more time a day playing golf than I do on fighting. As far as athletically, it takes about 45 minutes to work out in the morning and about an hour and 30 minutes in the afternoon, and that’s it. Then you’ve got drive time, but other than that, you’re inside less than three hours a day, so you can fit it in as a hobby. I don’t have time for any other hobbies, but I certainly have time for plenty of other things.”

Full-Time Fighter? (2006)
“I went to the University of Oregon and I got a minor in business (Sonnen’s major was in sociology), and the very first day in Business 101, they tell you to have a job, you must provide a good or a service to the community. Fighting doesn’t provide either. I don’t want to leave my mark by the people that I beat up; I want to give back to society and I want to help people reach their goals. That’s what a job does. So it’s a hobby, not a job. There’s no way to spin it so that it’s not. And you’ve got a very short life expectancy in it, and for good reason – your body can only take it for so long and who wants to do it their whole life? But I have guys who act like it’s their full-time job and they can’t do anything else, and I’m scratching my head, going, ‘well, jeez, it’s three hours a day.’ (Laughs) If it’s all you want to do, just say that, but it’s not a full-time job.”

The reason to fight (2006)
“It’s nothing about the sport, and I don’t particularly even enjoy the fight itself, but I like to be involved. It’s a different way to stay in shape and be one of the guys, hang out at the gym, and that’s like my social club because my friends are there. So that motivates me to do it. I like this, doing an interview – I like the attention. And I find those things to be more valuable than the actual enjoyment of the sport. I don’t want to get punched, and frankly, I don’t want to punch anyone else. But the rules call for it, and if you want to win you’ve got to follow the rules.”

Becoming Champion (2006)
“I see these fighters come on and pretend to be tough guys, you put a microphone in front of their face and ask them who they want, and anybody who calls out anybody other than the champion should just go retire. There’s no other reason to be in this sport than to be the champion. I don’t think of myself as a fighter, I never tell anyone I’m a fighter, I don’t want to be a fighter. I do want to be the champion, so if I’m delusional, then let’s find out now and I’ll move on to the next chapter of my life. If I’m not, then I’m gonna take whatever steps and whatever opportunities they put in front of me to lead me to that one goal. That’s the only thing I’m here for.”

The First Fight with Paulo Filho (2008)
“It hurts. I don’t know what a moral victory means. If the shoe was on the other foot and I got handed one WEC Live On Versus 12/12 Paulo Filho vs Chael Sonnenthat I didn’t quite earn, I’d feel just as good about it. I’d be completely content and proud of myself. At the end of the night, it’s whoever gets his hand raised, and so it hurt a lot. It kept me up at night. I got right back into the gym, but I was going through the motions and it was really difficult. I didn’t know how it would play out and whether I’d have this void forever. I’ve had a lot of disappointments in athletics over the years and they hurt a lot. But that’s the risk you take. It’s a two-man sport and only one guy’s gonna win.”

On the Rematch with Filho (2008)
“Strategically, I’m gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna throw him down and punch him in the face repeatedly.”

The Truth – Part I (2008)
“The only thing that I do that’s different than anyone else is I tell the truth. Fighters just lie and lie and lie. I don’t know if they’re lying to themselves or they’re just trying to do what they perceive is a good interview.”

The Lying Game (2008)
“I’m at the top gym in the world, and I’ve been to plenty of other gyms. I watched Randy Couture train for nine title fights, I’ve watched Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland train for title fights as well, and there’s nobody in the world who’s training more than three hours a day. But you’ve got these fighters who come out and lie – it takes so much time and they’re doing so much work, and I don’t know why they do that. Another thing they lie about is wanting to fight the best. ‘I want this guy at a hundred percent.’ Why? That’s not true. You don’t want the best. If they would hand you tomato cans, you would line up and fight ‘em one after the other. I just got asked yesterday, ‘do you hope Paulo’s a hundred percent? Do you hope he brings his ‘A’ game?’ No. I hope he wakes up with the flu, I hope he has to be helped to the ring because he has some injury and can hardly stand, and then I’ll clean him up. The last time I fought Paulo he was probably at 70 percent and he was a monster. Why would I want him at a hundred percent?”

vod_109_sonnen_marquardtHonor (2008)
“There are only a couple of fighters out there, myself included, that will really fight anybody. So not only will I bring honor back to the middleweight division, but I’ll also bring a lot of honesty back.”

Motivation (2008)
“There was a gentleman that won a world championship in wrestling named Les Gutches, and he was a hero of mine for many years. And Les told me that after he won that world championship that the next day was one of the most depressing days of his life because he worked every day for that, and he no longer had a goal. Fortunately for me, when I win that (WEC) middleweight championship, there’s gonna be another guy on the other side of town named Anderson (Silva) that’s claiming to be a champion in that same weight class. And this isn’t the BCS college poll where we identify two champions. The term ‘champion’ is very exclusive, and it’s exclusive to one. And if I’m not the champion, I don’t want to be called it. So my intention (after the Filho rematch) will change to finding out who the true champion is.”

On Returning to the UFC (2009)
“UFC’s got the tradition, and when I was a young man and went to bed at night, it was the UFC I was dreaming about. You always want to be satisfied and happy with your situation, and I always was, but in the back of the head, there’s no way to deny or pretend that this isn’t exactly what I was hoping to happen.”

On Strategy (pre-Demian Maia 2009)
“You’ll even hear veterans in that old mind frame saying ‘I want to take him where he’s not comfortable.’ I’m more of the strategy of ‘I don’t work on my weaknesses, I work on my strengths.’ So I don’t know where he’s comfortable or where he’s not – I know I don’t mind fighting on the ground, and I prefer it. So if he wants to be there and I want to be there, I don’t see why we’re reinventing the wheel.”

OUFC 104 Chael Sonnen vs Yushin Okamin Competition (2009)
“I came from a wrestling background, and at a wrestling tournament, you don’t pick your opponents; you don’t take the call that says ‘hey, will you take on this guy?’ You show up and you take on whoever weighs in. And I came into fighting with that same mentality. I fought Jeremy Horn when he was the number one guy in the world three times and the reason I got to fight with him three times is because nobody else would do it. When I first got into the UFC, I got in there against a guy named Babalu (Sobral) because at that time nobody else would fight him, and I volunteered. So I got in a little bit over my head, but it also provided me with my opportunities to get me to where I am now. I’ve got a few losses on my record where I jumped in and wasn’t quite ready, but over time, my abilities have caught up with my confidence and my goals and I am kinda starting to catch a stride.”

On the Yushin Okami Fight (2009)
“You don’t want to get beat by anybody, but especially him. I gotta prepare for a guy and try to hype a fight with a guy that doesn’t even understand what hyping a fight means. I’m a one man band in this thing. I’m going at it alone, and when we get in the ring, if he backs up like he likes to always do, there’s just no end game here – there’s no way to win. So anyway, I’m just gonna go and beat the guy up because it’s the only thing that he and I can do together in friendship.”Chael Sonnen UFC 115 Q

The Truth – Part II (2009)
“There are some guys who will get their feelings hurt here and there, but I’m not a big name caller. I don’t pick on guys very much. I’ll just point some things out and make them take a little look at themselves. I’ve even had guys come and go ‘hey man, I read an interview you did on me and you were right about that. I didn’t even realize I was doing that.’ (Laughs) So I don’t know if it’s gotten me in trouble too much, and at the end of the day, this is the fight business. We aren’t fight friends. This isn’t Eminem insulting 50 Cent during an interview from across the country. If somebody’s got a problem with what I’ve said, well, let’s go fight. We can settle this. We don’t have to do this through the media and sing songs about it, we can also just go fight. So anytime this gets me in trouble, the solution to the problem is very evident – it’s an eight-sided cage called the Octagon – I’ll see you there.”

On Chael Sonnen (2009)
“I will take on whoever, and a lot of guys say that because it’s got a nice ring to it, and then behind the scenes, when Joe Silva calls, all of a sudden their arm hurts, their knee hurts, or their shoulder’s sore. They need to get their tonsils removed or they need to play in a movie when they really don’t know how to act. Guys come up with a lot of reasons not to get in there, and I have a lot of reasons too. I’ve never felt good when it comes to fight. Not one time have I walked in the ring feeling good. But when that music comes on, I will make that walk every single time, regardless of the opponent. I never think about who’s across from me.”


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