Sonnen Ready For Rampage
Forever outspoken, Chael Sonnen takes on his next challenge on January 20th when he fights Rampage Jackson, in the heavyweight grand prix. Sonnen, who has never fought at a class higher than 205 pounds claims that this is not the last stand of the “American Gangster” and he’s excited to defend the title if he wins.
“I get split a little bit about that,” Sonnen said on a media call for Bellator 192.
“I definitely would not go anywhere else or use that as a negotiation tool, I want to make that really clear. I’m completely loyal to Bellator and would not consider anything else. I really believe – and I’m a traditionalist, I’m a fan first – I really believe that you’ve gotta defend it.”
The 40-year-old Sonnen, who has had stints in Bellator as well as in the UFC, has never won a title in a major promotion. While Sonnen had a memorable two-fight feud with UFC middleweight legend Anderson Silva, he was never able to stop the Spider. Another opportunity came when Sonnen defeated WEC champion Paulo Filho in a match that was only changed to a non-title bout when Filho failed to make weight.
With there not being a heavyweight champion in nearly two years, Bellator has stacked the tournament with names including PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianeko, former UFC stars Rampage Jackson and Frnak Mir, current light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, and King Mo Lawal. Sonnen sees this as being the biggest moment of his two decade career in fighting.
“It would be my greatest accomplishment,” Sonnen said. “I’m a tournament guy, that’s what I grew up doing. Four or five guys in one day, every single Saturday, and I love this tournament. I wish it was all in one night, that’s old school, I think that’s something it sounds a little better to say than to actually do. I couldn’t really see anybody in this tournament fight three other guys in this tournament in one night, but that is the old school, it sure would be fun as a fan and to get to be part of.”
Sonnen was honest about the anxiety he feels when he thinks about competing in a higher weight class against opponents that are larger than he’s faced in the past.
“I’ve got some teammates that I go with that are as big as ‘Rampage’ or bigger and a lot of my techniques just don’t work,” Sonnen said. “I’ll do everything perfect and hit those guys and boom, I just get stopped because of the size.”
Still, Sonnen is not overly worried about being on the losing end of a fight; if anything, he’s well aware that there will come a day when he can clearly no longer fight at the level he’s accustomed to.
“I don’t feel anybody should go out on top, Georges St-Pierre is one of ‘em, but he gave them every chance in the world to beat him,” Sonnen said. “He gave guys rematches and some guys got three matches, he did everything he could do to get beat and pass that torch, he was just that damn good and aside from him and Lennox Lewis, I can’t think of anyone that goes out on top.”
“All our careers end the same: Facedown and embarrassed.”
Sonnen fights “Rampage” in the first bout of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix at Bellator 192 on Jan. 20 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.