While many believe that ring rust will have a negative effect on Chael Sonnen’s performance against Brian Stann tomorrow night, Stann himself believes that Sonnen’s wealth of experience will negate any ill-effects of his long layoff.
Sonnen hasn’t competed since August of last year, but Stann points to the fact that Sonnen began competing while he was still popping zits and looking for a date to prom as reason enough not to expect ring rust on his opponent.
“I think there’s definitely a rhythm to fighting and the mental side of it, I feel like I have an advantage because he’s been out for a little while. But, in all honesty, looking at all his past performances, I don’t expect there to be any ring rust. He’s been wrestling his entire life, he’s been fighting since I was in high school and he’s been dominating guys in the sport since I was in high school,” said Stann. “In fact, Chael was the ringside announcer for my first ever pro-fight. I don’t even think he remembers, but I remember actually meeting him there and he was actually very kind and respectful to a guy who was 0-0 at the time. I don’t expect ring rust to be a factor. I expect Chael to go out there and do what Chael does and it’s my job to go out there, negate that and come out with a win. But regardless you’re gonna see two guys that go in there and we’re gonna fight for the entire fifteen minutes. We’re not gonna stop and regardless of how much respect we share between each other we won’t stop hitting each other until that last bell rings. And then we’ll take a picture for you.”
Sonnen, who has surprised some by remaining completely respectful toward Stann during the build-up to their fight, remembers the All-American’s first professional fight, and their meeting afterward, with clarity.
“I remember it really well,” said Sonnen. “I remember where I met him. He fought a guy named Aaron Stark, who’s my teammate. He stopped him in the first round and we met afterwards. I remember where we were standing and everything, he was very nice back.”
Sonnen and Stann will meet tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3, which will go down from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.