Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on UFC 148: I want to grab one of Sonnen’s teeth

Anderson Silva has promised to rip every one of Chael Sonnen’s teeth out at their upcoming rematch at UFC 148 this Saturday and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira says he is counting the days for it to happen. “I wanna grab one of Sonnen’s teeth”, joked the heavyweight in an interview with TATAME.
Criticizing Sonnen’s performance inside the cage, Nogeira says: “The guy’s disrespectful. The way he advertises himself is a wrong way of advertising, it’s disrespectful. He’s a tough fighter, a super athlete, but his kind of fight doesn’t sell, doesn’t convince, he’s not a dangerous striker nor a submitter. Where he gets his popularity from? Talking.”

Minotauro is no stranger to the fight game and knows and accepts that trash-talking is an effective way to sell pay-per-view, but he believes that Sonnen went too far on his provocations: “He’s a guy who says bad things about countries, the athlete, Anderson’s wife and even the way he dresses. He gets into things that do not matter. If he said he was going to beat Anderson and explain how; I guess it would be ok, but he gets into personal stuff and that’s a mistake. Anderson did good on (his response) to him”.

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Despite Sonnen’s lackluster history on fighting Brazilians on the ground, Nogueira affirms that Sonnen has a good ground game: “He’s good on the ground and knows who to defend himself (against) Jiu-Jitsu. He trains with Brazilians. How did he learn that? Was he born with natural Jiu-Jitsu skills? He says bad things about Brazil and Jiu-Jitsu but trains in it. He wants to improve his flaws but it won’t happen this time. I guess there’s a knockout coming.”

Sonnen almost went the distance with Silva in their last fight at UFC 117. According to the numbers, he struck Silva more times in that fight than Silva had been hit in his entire career and according to the judges who scored the match, Sonnen was ahead on points going into the final round; when Silva won by submission. To overcome holes in his training, Sonnen has hired Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes as a jiu-jitsu coach for his rematch with Silva.

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Minotauro makes light of this and jokes: “He’s gotta try. Pezao is a very good Jiu-Jitsu guy and (Sonnen) has got to improve his triangles. He was submitted by Demian, Sobral, Paulo, Anderson and Jeremy Horn. I guess he says bad things about Jiu-Jitsu and Brazil because of that: he’s traumatized by the Brazilians’ ground game.”

Nogueira has been closely watching Silva’s training camp in preparation for the fight, and foresees the “Spider” dominating the fight: “I’ve never seen Anderson like this. He’s throwing amazing kicks and punches, he’s got an amazing ground game and he has effective takedown defenses. I watched his last couple of training sessions and he’s prepared. Sonnen will have to hang in there because (Silva) really wants it and he’s ready for it.”

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