(Listen, Chael. If you get into trouble and you forget what to do, I’ve had instructions printed on your shorts and my shirt and hat.)
Number one UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen took part in a Q&A session today in Texas ahead of tomorrow night’s UFC Fight Night 22 and as expected, the outspoken Republican had a lot to say.
Perhaps most interesting of all of the comments made by Sonnen at the UFC Fight Club event were in regards to whom he might be training with for his rematch with Silva, tentatively scheduled for UFC 125 on January 1, and whom he has in his crosshairs should he win the UFC middleweight strap this time around.
"I’d love it if Yushin [Okami] came out [to help me train for the rematch with Anderson]. I have a room in my house and I call it Yushin’s room and nobody’s allowed to go in it. I finished the place for him, I put a big bed in it and I got him his own television. Nobody gets to go in there but Okami. But, I don’t know [if he'll make it to Oregon for my camp]," Sonnen said. "I just talked to a gentleman from Japan on behalf of Yushin. He talked about coming out, but he said that because he and Vitor [Belfort] are going to fight in Germany, he’s very worried about jet lag from travelling from Tokyo to the States, to Germany. So I don’t know if we’re going to get him or not."
Alternatively, or perhaps in addition to bringing in Okami, should the Japanese fighter make the trek to Oregon to train with Team Quest in the coming months, Sonnen says he would like to spend some time with another top UFC contender to round out his camp.
"Absolutely, [I would love to train with Vitor Belfort]. In fact, I was hoping to train with Vitor prior to the Anderson fight. We had talks back and forth and it ended up not working out. He was also just coming off, I believe what was a shoulder injury and I don’t know if he was in the full swing [of training yet]," Sonnen revealed. "I know he’s back to 100 percent now, so I would love to work with Vitor [for the rematch]."
When speaking of the upcoming Okami-Belfort tilt slated for UFC 122 November 13 in Germany, Sonnen said although he has tremendous respect for both fighters, he is picking "Thunder" in the fight.
"I don’t think there’s anybody in the UFC who can beat Okami. I think he’s the best guy. He’s the last guy to beat Anderson," he pointed out. "I had a heck of a time with him, but I’m betting on Okami. But Vitor’s awesome. From a fan’s perspective — and I hate to compliment UFC fighters — but I really do like Vitor, so I’ll be tuning in [to their fight]."
When pressed by UFC play-by-play announcer, Mike Goldberg about what makes Okami so special, Sonnen pointed to a common denominator that has been a challenge for all of Yushin’s opponents.
"Yushin has floated under the radar for so long and he’s finally getting his dues. He is so doggone strong. Before I got ready to fight him, I asked around. Mike Swick had fought him and Rich Franklin had fought him and a bunch of guys had had their hands on him and every time I would ask about Okami, they would all go into great detail on how physically strong he was," Sonnen said. "Boy, they undersold it. He is so strong, [moving him is] like trying to move a tree. He came out to Oregon and we worked out every single day and all the guys from Team Quest, that’s all they left with: ‘He is so strong.’ He’s just a lot to deal with."
If all goes well and he solves the Silva puzzle on NewYear’s day, Sonnen, who later in the session mentioned, perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek that he would like to face UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, the silver-tongued wrestler named two other titleholders he has his eye on next.
Here’s the audio of the segment referenced above:
You can watch the entire session here.