The announcement that Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann would be facing each other in their next fight came as a surprise to many, not least of all to Sonnen and Stann themselves.
Both of the UFC middleweights have admitted that they were expecting different opponents for their next outings, with Sonnen looking forward to facing that “karate guy,” Lyoto Machida, and Stann (as he recently told MMAJunkie.com) expecting to take on “The Filipino Wrecking Machine,” Mark Muñoz.
“I thought for sure I’d be fighting Mark Muñoz, and that wasn’t the case,” Stann said. “It was just a few days later when the UFC came calling and said, ‘You’re fighting Chael Sonnen.’ It’s just one of those situations. You want to be the best, you’ve got to fight the best.”
Sonnen has become as famous for his fighting as for his ability to hype a fight, his sensationalistic trash talk never failing to grab headlines. However, Stann doesn’t believe that Sonnen will be unleashing any verbal barrage in his direction out of respect.
“I know Chael; he’s just not going to do it,” Stann said. “I know there’s respect there.”
Not one to be caught off guard, Stann has considered the possibility that Sonnen will go ahead with his pro-wrestling shtick anyway and he’s already decided how he’ll deal with it.
“If he chooses to do it, honestly, I just don’t take it personally -– the same way when I fought Chris Leben, and he said I couldn’t punch my way out of a paper bag,” said Stann. “Fighters have to sell fights. If I get wrapped up in the trash talk, I’m not focusing on the technical skills that I need to win the actual fight. So I kind of submerse myself in Albuquerque and just don’t really care. I have so many coaches and great training partners around me that I don’t really have time to pay attention to any of it.”
Stann and Sonnen will meet this October 8 at UFC 136 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.