Chael Sonnen: 'I don't want to be protected and remembered as a fake champion like Mike Tyson'

MILAN ITALY - JULY 09: Mike Tyson receives the 'Ghirlande D'Honneur' award from Franco Ascani at Just Cavalli Cafe on July 9 2010 in Milan Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

First things first: In order to be remembered as a "fake" champion, you must first become a champion -- then you can worry about how people will remember you.

A lot of boxing fans who grew up in the late 1980's, like myself, have fond memories of a young Mike Tyson running roughshod on heavyweight hopefuls trying to dethrone the pugilistic powerhouse.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen isn't one of them.

In fact, Sonnen goes as far as to tell LA Times the "Iron" man was not only "protected" during his heyday, but that fight fans remember him as a "fake" champion.

Those comments after the jump.

"I don't want to be protected and remembered as a fake champion like Mike Tyson, who was called the best, even though he couldn't beat either Evander Holyfield or Lennox Lewis. I don't want to be the chosen child. I don't need my name in lights. I need a competition. If there's one thing I don't like in life, it's bullies. I was picked on as a kid. The UFC can give me anyone they want. I will stand or fail on my own ... If I was a bully or a coward, I could've been undefeated. I fought the No. 1 guy in the world six times. I've fought 14 guys in the top 10, and beat 12 of them. If you want to take an easy path, you can. They do that in boxing, which is a phony sport, because they keep the best guys away from each other. I'm not a bully who picks on people I know I can beat, like Anderson has done."

Speaking of "fake" champions, Sonnen has been known to parade around town with a replica UFC Championship belt while conducting interviews, in character, as the promotion's 185-pound champion.

We'll find out if he can back up two years of trash talk when he goes to war with Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 148 this Saturday night (July 7, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the meantime, let's get some reactions on his comments about Tyson.

While "Kid Dynamite" was hardly a model citizen, is there anyone with knowledge of the "sweet science" that will stand behind Sonnen and call him a "fake champion" who was "protected?"

Anyone?

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