Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz are penciled in to headline the upcoming UFC on Fox 2 event, which is sheduled to take place at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Jan. 28, 2012. The winner of the middleweight showdown will likely have the inside track to get the opportunity to dethrone UFC middleweight champion and the consensus pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.
However, when the two wrestling powerhouses collide in the "Windy City," it won't be the first time the two have locked horns. In fact, the two decorated grapplers first squared off on the mat when Sonnen's University of Oregon squad took on Munoz's Oklahoma State University in a wrestling meet.
And according to the "The Filipino Wrecking Machine," he "handled" Sonnen, who was getting beat so bad he resorted to cheating.
Speaking to CSNWashington.com, Munoz recounts the duel and how Sonnen reached into his bag of Brazilian jiu-jitsu tricks to unsuccessful rip a victory from the clutches of defeat:
"(Chael Sonnen and I) competed in college together. He wrestled at Oregon; I wrestled at Oklahoma State. We end up dueling, which is just a one-team duel, a one-team competition between two schools. I end up matching up with him at 184 pounds. We end up going at it and I end up beating him pretty handily...but in that fight he tried to submit me in a knee bar and then changed it into a heel hook. Not a legal move in wrestling. He tried doing that to me and I felt my ankle pop and was like 'aaaahhh' and I knew that he did it so that he could try to come back. I was actually beating him pretty handily and got upset during that match and was just ruthless in that fight afterwards. But after -- years later -- we end up having dinner together with my wife seated with us at the table. She was pretty upset saying 'What's Chael Sonnen doing here? I hate that guy; he tried to hurt my husband.' All of the sudden, out of the blue, she said 'So, can you tell me why you did that?' He pretty much explained himself. "He's a good guy, man. He said 'Can you blame me? I was getting beat!' So I guess...I guess...if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."
Sounds like Munoz took it all in stride and actually has good feelings toward his upcoming opponent.
Things have certainly changed since their initial encounter. So, too, have the rules of the game. While Munoz got the better of him during their wrestling days, those knee bars and heel hooks that Sonnen attempted back then are now going to be very legal when the two meet in "Chi-Town."
In addition, this time the stakes will be much higher as both try to earn a chance to be the first to hand "The Spider" his first loss inside the Octagon and walk away with the 185-pound world title.
Munoz recently called out his former training partner, Silva, after he defeated Chris Leben at UFC 138 in London, England, stating that he feels it's his time to step up and challenge "The Spider." Sonnen, meanwhile, has been calling out Silva (along with just about ever other Brazilian MMA fighter) since he fell short against him at UFC 117 back on Aug. 7, 2010.
Both men clearly want the same thing. And the only way to get it is to go through each other.
Now that their college days are behind them and the two UFC middleweights are likely to meet inside the world famous Octagon, who do you think has the most complete MMA game to out-duel the other on FOX?