Dare we think that Chael Sonnen is maturing?
I have to say, that in listening to his comments in this video and his remarks today at the (Boston) pre-fight press conference (he stole the show), that I think Sonnen is either finally growing up or at least, casting off his old and very tired carnival-barker persona.
Perhaps it’s his (relatively) new job over at FOX Sports as an analyst that has brought about the change or perhaps it’s just that he’s realized that people aren’t buying into his rhetoric the way they did 3 years ago, I have no idea, but what I do know or at least sense, is that something has changed in Sonnen and I like the change.
Gone are the ridiculous statements and the BS trash-talk that has never been backed up in the ring.
In their place, a much more calm, rational and professional fighter and one with a heck of a mind for explaining himself. In short, Sonnen is now coming across more like a MMA scholar and elderly statesman, than a pompous ***.
In speaking with Ariel Helwani, Sonnen covered many of the usual topics, namely his obsession with hunting down Wanderlei Silva and forcing him to either accept a fight or turn it down; a goal that he plans on pursing at 185, post his fight with Rua. On that point, Sonnen expects that the fight won’t go off and that instead, he’ll get Vitor Belfort (a fight I personally don’t see him landing).
Regarding a fight with Chris Weidman, Sonnen sidestepped the question and said “right now my focus is on Jon Jones, if I’m at this weight-class…but I gotta get back to him.” On this point, Sonnen believes that if he had another crack at Jones that he could beat him.
With that said, Sonnen commented that he was fine with losing to the light-heavyweight champ and that Jones “proved his point in the first round” and that he has no “resentment” over the loss and that it’s his two fights with Anderson, particularly the 2nd one, which “keep him up at night”; strangely though and uncharacteristically so, Chael made no mention of a wanting a 3rd match with “The Spider”.
The biggest bit of news out of the interview was that Sonnen wants to ref the December 28th rematch, between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. Why he wants to do it, he didn’t say, but nonetheless, he wants to. Of it, Sonnen stated:
“I’m putting in an application and I’m going to try and get my referee’s license and I’m hoping to officiate that match. Whether or not they’ll assign me to it or not, I’ve refed plenty of matches in other jurisdictions and I’m applying for that one in Nevada.”
All in all, it was a decent interview and one that made me like him more than I have in quite some time. I wish the new-and-improved and more humble Chael Sonnen, all the best on Saturday night.