“I know Chael; he’s just not going to do it. I know there’s respect there. 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. 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… I don’t know if Chael in his heart of hearts really believes what he’s saying,”
— Brian Stann telling MMA Junkie he doesn’t expect Chael Sonnen to pull his typical pre-fight antics with him
Ever since this fight was announced the other day people have been wondering how Chael Sonnen would approach Brian Stann. How could he possibly insult Stann like he has with the Brazilian fighters without becoming the guy that publicly belittled one of America’s soldiers?
Well, Brian Stann doesn’t think he will and he might be right. In an interview with Heavy.com, Sonnen had nothing but good things to say about Stann.
“That’s a really hard match, and that’s a really great guy. 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… 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. 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. 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.”
Time will tell if Sonnen flips the switch and turns up the heat, but for now it looks like we might actually get a (shall I say) nice version of Sonnen for the next few months.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog