Love him or hate him, Chael Sonnen is coming back to the cage.
The outspoken Oregonian is set to take on fellow middleweight Brian “All-American” Stann this October in a fight which he admitted in an interview with Heavy.com is a more difficult match up than he had anticipated.
“It’s a lot harder fight than I thought I was going to have. I didn’t think I was going to have the #6 guy in the world right out of the gate,” Sonnen said. “I was trying to get an easy one. I was trying to get Wanderlei or Anderson or “Bigfoot” or just some Silva in general would have been really nice. When I saw that that was starting to get less likely, I called out `The Karate Kid.’ They’ve thwarted my plans here, and now I’ve got to go and do a real match.
“That’s a really hard match, and that’s a really great guy,” he went on. “We have to meet up at some point; we’re ranked very close to each other. That fight is going to happen at some point whether I want to do it or not.”
Never turning down an opportunity to get in a potshot at some of his Brazilian rivals, Sonnen took a different route in assessing Stann — even if he favored a left handed compliment or two in his assessment.
“I wasn’t ready for a Brian Stann style fight; I was ready to take on a Wanderlei or a Machida or something like that,” said Sonnen. “I’ll need to sit down and reevaluate and up the intensity, that’s for sure. He’s doing such a good job. Rewind to his match with Chris Leben. I really would have lost whatever they would let me bet; I would have lost it all. I thought Leben would beat him.
“I think Stann’s an awesome guy. I didn’t think he could get by Leben. Nobody has dominated Chris Leben like that -— ever -— in his entire career (Ed. Anderson Silva def. Chris Leben via KO ((knee)) at 0:49 of round 1 at Ultimate Fight Night 5 in 2006). That was kind of like an ‘Oh Wow’ moment when I saw that in my living room. That was a special performance. Then they gave him a really easy fight after that, and he went out and did some more great things. Even an easy fight, you’ve still got to go do the fight, and he did. He’s really good.”
Stann and Sonnen will meet on October 8 at UFC 136 and don’t expect Sonnen to keep the gloves on every time he discusses Stann — an American war hero and former USMC Captain — as he told Heavy when asked if he would take it easy on the “All-American:” “I wouldn’t count on that.”