Former UFC Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen has a big fight this Saturday night in Boston when he steps into the Octagon to face off against former Pride and UFC champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. It’s a dangerous bout for both fighters, because a loss will almost definitely cause a sharp slide down the rankings for the experienced fighters.
One thing that’s missing from the pre-fight coverage, however, is Sonnen’s patented trash talk. He’s made a name for himself in recent years by talking up bouts where he was overmatched against two beasts in Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Fans had begun to give little credit to Sonnen’s still witty, but suddenly stale humor. Perhaps he realized that, because when he caught up with MMA H.E.A.T. for an interview at today’s UFC Fight Night 26 open workouts, he had nothing but praise for his opponent:
“He hits really hard, he kicks hard, he knees hard, he’s got good submissions, he’s just a good fighter. I just appreciate him so much, so many good memories of him as a fan with that guy. Been around him a number of times, very pleasant. Dan Henderson’s fought both of those guys.”
That’s quite the out-of-character turn for Sonnen, the undisputed king of trash talk by quite the long shot. Now, he sounds more like a huge fan of Shogun rather than his opponent. Sonnen did have a bit of trash talk for Rua’s good friend Wanderlei Silva on last night’s “UFC Tonight,” and Shogun did say that the offense to his good friend does motivate him to beat Sonnen.
We’ll see how motivated Rua will be when the two lock horns at the TD Garden on Saturday. If Sonnen can take Rua down and keep him down, he has a good chance to win. However, that’s going to be very tough for a full five rounds. Who is your pick to emerge victorious at the inaugural UFC on Fox sports 1 card? Check out Sonnen’s open workout below: