If you ask Chael Sonnen, his match up with Brian Stann at UFC 136 is a bout for the UFC middleweight title.
Confused? So is Sonnen.
Sonnen, who is returning from a suspension, is ignoring the fact that Anderson Silva scored a fifth-round submission over him last year, allowing “The Spider,” and not Sonnen, to walk away with the strap.
Instead, Sonnen believes that since he won the first four rounds, he is the uncrowned champion and Stann is his first No. 1 contender.
“When I get a fight, when they call me and say ‘Hey you wanna fight so and so?’ The answer is yes, but, behind the scenes, I call my mom, I call my sister. I tell them what’s going on. I call my brother-in-law in Clifton. I sit down with my coaches. Even if it’s over the phone, we just have a quick ‘Hey we wanna do this, right? We can come up with something and have success out there.’ It was different with Brian,” Sonnen said. “I drew his name out, I said ‘Oh, gosh no!’ I couldn’t sleep. I went to Brian Stann. I never contact an opponent. Nobody contacts an opponent. That breaks every unwritten rule there is. I contacted Brian. I said ‘Hey listen I can’t sleep. I’m so bothered by this news and it caught me out of left field I don’t know what to do here.’ And Brian Stann wrote me back and he said ‘Chael, yeah it did come out of nowhere, but, with all the things going on in the world today, us fighting for up to 15 minutes just doesn’t matter. It’s just not a big deal.'”
“That’s a very private email, but I’m sharing it because of the message there. He’s a leader, he’s a leader of men. He’s led men into battle. He’s now leading his own opponent into battle. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what the company asks us to do. It’s what the division needs. We’re two of the top guys. I am the world champion. He is my No. 1 contender. I’m going to defend my championship for the first time against Brian Stann. And I’m doing it because he told me it’s the right thing to do. I think that’s very interesting. I’ve never been in that spot before.”
Sonnen-Stann is part of a card scheduled for October 8 from Houston. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard meet for the third time in the main event for the UFC lightweight title, while Jose Aldo and Kenny Florian collide for the featherweight crown.