(Video courtesy YouTube/MMAAthletics)
In the interview the Oregon fighter, who has been less than complimentary towards the UFC middleweight champion in the weeks leading up to the fight gave an explanation of why he turned the smack talk up a notch for Silva.
"I like to irritate Anderson. I think Anderson’s a bully and I think he’s a jerk. I think he’s pushed people around long enough. He’s not the bully on the playground when I’m there. He knows that and I know that. When I walk by Anderson Silva he puts his eyeballs on the curb until I pass; he doesn’t even look me straight in the eye and that’s a smart move by him."
Sure, the explanation wasn’t that revealing, but his follow-up comments were what got my attention. Not only does Sonnen say that Silva’s recent performances in fights like the ones with Demian Maia and Thales Leites didn’t bother him, he actually pays "The Spider" a few compliments while breaking down the fight.
"I’m one of the few guys that doesn’t mind Anderson’s antics in the ring. I think he should bring whatever style and strategy he feels gives him the best chance of getting his hand raised at the end of the night. So I have no problem with that. As far as a guy with motion, that’s very common in wrestling. That’s very common in boxing. Anderson’s not the first guy to come out there and create a lot of motion. He’s in love with his motion and that becomes a problem for him, not for me. He really gets into those movements and that motion and he finds energy and he thrives off of that. I lose a lot of motion myself, but you don’t want to be in love with your motion. You just want to use your motion. He’s believing his own press clippings. It’s pretty clear."
"As far as preparation for an opponent, you just can’t change. You’d like to and maybe there’s something you see her and there — something glaring that you’ll try to adapt to…I’m certainly not against change, but my skills are my skills, his skills are his skills and you never know who you’re going to face. I don’t want to change for an opponent. I want to bring my skills and dance with the woman that brought me there. I’ve fought 41 men and none of them have outstruck me. He’s fought twenty-something men and I can’t remember seeing anyone outgrapple him. I can fight on my feet, he can fight on the ground and that’s the way it should be. We’re the two toughest guys on the planet in this weight class. To act as though one of us has a glaring weakness in any area is just silly."
"I expect to win. I will be shocked and extremely disappointed in myself if I lose this fight. If I lose this fight, that doesn’t mean Anderson’s a good fighter; it just means I’m that bad. I’m not looking to do anything but run right through this guy. If this guy makes me burn a bunch of calories and burn a good deep sweat I’d be surprised."
One of the best lines from Chael was in response to whether or not he enjoyed fighting.
"Fighting is not fun. Anybody who says ‘I love to fight,’ has some real serious mental problems. They’re lying. Nobody actually loves to fight. There’s no part [of it] I enjoy. I grew up in the country and my family wrestled. That’s all I know. I play this sport ‘cos it’s the only game I know how to play."