For those hoping for an epic bout of trash talk between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping before they actually put on the gloves later this month, you may be disappointed to read his recent interview with USA Today.
Rather than bash the cavalier Englishman, Sonnen told Sergio Non that he finds himself in favor of Bisping, respectful of his Octagon accomplishments.
“I’m a Bisping supporter. I think he has,” said Sonnen when asked if he though Bisping ready for a title shot. “I think he’s fought a lot of important matches. I don’t know how tough the guys he fought were, how many ranked guys he had – I’m not terribly familiar with his record. But at the end of the day, you can say what you want about his opponents, he doesn’t pick his opponents. They pick his opponents and he goes in and he wins over and over again. I think it’s really relevant, especially for the Bisping naysayers, to realize he’s fighting main-event fights. He’s carrying cards. He’s selling out arenas. In this industry, that’s huge. He’s done his part.
“So I’m not on the anti-Bisping bandwagon. I never have been.”
Calling himself “a defender of Bisping,” Sonnen even found a few nice things to say about The Count’s fighting ability.
“I think he’s real active. I think if he had a strength, it would be the fact that he’ll go hard. He’ll fight hard the whole time. He’s been in some real donnybrooks that have come down to the last moments of the last round, and he’s able to continue fighting. While other guys are fading, he’s still pushing. I think he’s a very tough guy in that regard,” Sonnen said. “I think he’s good. I hear a lot of negative things said about him, but I think most of it comes from frustration of maybe his personality or something like that. I think if you’re real objective and you look at his skillset and his in-ring ability, you’ll know that he’s a talented guy.”
Sonnen was originally scheduled to face Mark Muñoz at UFC on Fox 2 – which goes down on January 28 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois – but Muñoz pulled out of the bout yesterday with an injury, opening the door for Bisping to step up from a planned bout with Demian Maia to challenge Sonnen for number one contendership.