Black Belt in Self-ConvincementPosted on July 25, 2010, 06:28 AM by Anton Gurevich
Franklin McNeil laughing at Chael Sonnen on MMA Live, was the record-low moment in Oregonian’s build-up for the UFC 117 main event bout. It’s hard to blame people who are not buying into Chael Sonnen’s trash talk, and see in his every appearance something that reminds Joe Rogan’s stand-up show. His talk is indeed very entertaining, and can provide a good comic relief for a casual MMA fan. But there’s still much more than this.
Let’s not forget that Chael Sonnen is a crafty politician. And like many of his colleagues, he himself may not believe in the words coming out of his mouth. The true purpose of Chael Sonnen’s trash talk is not to convince us that he is the man to beat Anderson Silva, but to disrupt the harmony in the mind of the UFC Middleweight Champion. Sonnen knows that despite Silva’s lack of interaction with him, his psychological warfare could have a crucial influence during the fight. Maia said something completely normal for the fight build-up, and see what happened at UFC 112. Imagine what Chael Sonnen’s words will do to Anderson Silva, who is heavily pressured by Dana White to put up an impressive performance at UFC 117.
The most important question is whether Chael Sonnen fully convinced himself that he is the man to do the job. Chael Sonnen at the peak of his mental toughness is the most dangerous opponent Anderson Silva faced inside the Octagon. No disrespect to Silva’s previous opponents, but most of them mentally failed after few minutes in the cage with “The Spider”. Determined, driven and confident Chael Sonnen is more than capable to shock the world at UFC 117.
Chael Sonnen's plans to do exactly the same thing Ben Askren did to Dan Hornbuckle (who shares the same physical attributes as Anderson Silva) at Bellator 23rd. We can speculate about how Ben Askren is a better wrestler than Chael Sonnen, and how Anderson Silva is a better striker than Dan Hornbuckle, but it all depends on who's able to execute his gameplan. Again, the key for Sonnen's success is belief. Thales Leites and Demian Maia had a cautious tactics that were mostly generated by fear from Silva's striking. They had no belief in their abilities to take Silva to the ground. Their main hope was to capitalize on one of "The Spider's" mistakes and to submit him (Werdum actually did it against Fedor). Chael Sonnen promotes a whole different approach in his pre-fight interviews.
I don’t know if we should expect a promised fireworks when Silva and Sonnen at the Oracle Arena in Oakland (Our friends at CagePotato have a good article on this one). It may well turn out as a boring War of Attrition. It will be a moment of truth for Chael Sonnen, who will have to back up everything he said during the recent months. Sonnen himself declared in one of his famous Tweets that “talks is cheap, it takes money to buy Whiskey”. We’ll see how much dineros he has in his pockets on August 7th.