Photo of Chael Sonnen by Dave Mandel via Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, known for his quick wit and merciless trash talk, may be heading into his second straight fight with nothing bad to say about his opponent.
It was a far cry from the pro-wrestling style verbal attack fans had grown accustomed to in his rage against the 185-pound machine, calling division kingpin Anderson Silva every name in the book following a fifth round submission loss to "The Spider" at UFC 117 back in August 2010.
Fans began licking their chops when it was announced that Michael Bisping, who is about as popular with Americans as Sonnen is with Brazilians, would be stepping in to replace an injured Mark Munoz at UFC on FOX 2 on Jan. 28 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Battle of the big mouths? Not quite. Sonnen explains to the chaps at USA Today why he's a defender of not only Bisping, but his in-cage accomplishments.
Check it out:
"I'm not on the anti-Bisping bandwagon. I never have been. 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 skill set and his in-ring ability, you'll know that he's a talented guy. He's definitely cocky and arrogant, which is two qualities that I like in a person. I like a cocky guy and I like an arrogant guy, so he earns points with me in those regards, but I think it turns a lot of people off ... I've never even seen Bisping in trouble. I've never seen him come out of there cut and scraped and bruised. He seems to go in, take care of business and go home."
Bisping was originally booked to face off against Demian Maia; however, the Munoz injury catapulted him into a title-eliminator bout, as UFC President Dana White went on record to declare the winner of Sonnen vs. Bisping the division number one contender and next in line to fight Silva.
Maybe then we can get some of that good old-fashioned trash talk out of Sonnen.
That's assuming he wins, of course, which early betting lines (Sonnen is -450) indicate is a very strong possibility. But who among you is ready to name Bisping as the winner on fight night?