Much has been made in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world, as of late, regarding the somewhat out-of-nowhere verbal sparring session that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen have been having in the press.
It all started when "Rampage" made some comments, during in an interview, voicing his opinion that Sonnen "sucks," and that he should leave the UFC.
Sonnen, true to form, was quick to fire back, by calling out Jackson for his mediocre movie career and his sordid past with female reporters.
"The American Gangster," who is coming off a loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in "Sin City" on July 7, 2012, sat down with Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live," where he further dealt with "Rampage" and his insults, as well as his recent and humbling loss to the "Spider."
All those comments and more, after the jump:
In Sonnen's earlier comments regarding "Rampage," he was a bit reserved, at least as far as his usual behavior is concerned.
During his interview with "MMA Uncensored Live," he was a little less tongue-tied:
"If stupidity was a disease that was treatable by medicine, 'Rampage' would be the ifrst one in line at the pharmacy, every morning. If 'Rampage' wants to fight with me, let's fight! But, the reality is, he's on a two-fight losing streak, he can't make weight, nobody cares about him, he doesn't keep his word, and he's out of the company in a matter of months. If he wants to fight, I accept."
Unfortunately, a fight with Jackson doesn't look to be in the cards for Sonnen. After his recent loss, many fans and pundits alike are wondering what may be next in general.
Before you can move forward, sometimes, you have to look back to get a proper gauge for where you fell short:
"You know, I haven't re-watched the fight, and I probably won't. I've got a vision of what happened, in my head. It hurts. The real problem came when I fell down. I paused. I paused, and I waited for him, and you can't do that. I can live with a loss, but I just wish I wouldn't have paused."
Sonnen continued in his analysis of the fight and where he felt things went awry:
"He did some different things that made it hard. He went backwards a lot, and it's very difficult to fight someone when they're not coming forward and fighting with you. In practice, guys don't usually run away. They come in, and they engage. So, it made it a little bit harder, but I certainly was ready for that. We had envisioned that as being within his skill set."
Some have accused Sonnen as being a fighter who looks for a way out. Many felt that he looked for an exit, at the end of his first fight versus Silva, when he made a gigantic mistake and allowed himself to be smothered inside of a triangle choke. Those same critics claim that his loss at UFC 148 was just a repeat performance.
Sonnen doesn't believe that to be the case at all.
"No, I don't want out of it, right now. I wish I was in that moment, right now. The only thing I would do differently is I would have got him. I would have had to take some punches. That was risk. That's why I waited for him, but that didn't work out. I wish I would have gone with the other option, which was to get up and start fighting."
Finally, Sonnen described the infamous last few moments of the fight; moments that will probably always hold at least a small portion of controversy:
"It felt like a really long time. That surprises me that it was only a second. I remember sitting there, looking at him. I was watching his hands. All he's allowed to do is punch in that position. He came with a knee. It caught me offguard, and it kinda ruined the night for me."
So, what's next? Will he be fighting at middleweight or at light heavyweight if he continues in the UFC? He's still not sure, but he has no desire to keep fighting if it isn't with the title as his goal:
"I'm not after the second one. I love Rich Franklin. I think he's done an awesome job. That's not for me. I'm in it purely for the championship, and if I don't have a clear road to the title, I'm gonna move on."
According to him, he's had talks that have not included any of those names, but if it were to happen, he would definitely be fighting a top ten opponent:
"Probably none of the above. I've had a couple of names thrown my way. It was none of those three, but those guys are all studs that would put you in a line for a championship match. I've never had a fight in the UFC that wasn't against a top ten guy."
Following up on the topic of moving up a weight class, Sonnen said that the decision will end up having more to do with the input he receives from his coaches and counselors than his own opinion:
"I really don't know. That's the biggest choice I'm trying to make now: Which has a likely path to the championship? Ultimately, I'll have to sit down with my coaches. Mike Dolce will weigh in on that. It's his job to get me to weight. I'll kinda do as I'm told, more than what I think is right."
According to Sonnen, there are also other factors to consider. He's not sure what will happen with Silva. (Who is?) He also has no desire to fight his friend and mentor Dan Henderson, which possibly complicates a move up to light heavyweight:
"The landscape changes constantly. There's so many moving parts. Is Anderson ever gonna fight again? Who's he gonna fight? What's he gonna do? So, there's a lot of things that that I need to look at. Also, at 205, if Dan Henderson beats Jon Jones, as I hope that he does, then I'm not gonna go there. I'm not ever gonna compete against Dan. He's a coach and a mentor of mine. So, I don't really know what I'm gonna do."
In closing, Sonnen was asked to give his opinion on who deserves the next middleweight title shot against Silva. He thinks Weidman offers the best challenge, but he feels a certain big-mouthed Brit may end up passing over "All American," for other various reasons:
"Deserve is the key word there. Nobody deserves a shot. There's a lot that goes into that: The bureacracy and politics and, basically, who can sell the most tickets often elevates you to the top in this sport. That's where Michael Bisping comes in. Who's the best fighter? Chris Weidman. The question is: The fighter that beat up Mark Munoz, can he duplicate that, or did he just have a really good night?"
What do you Maniacs think Sonnen will do next? Is he done as a middleweight, or does he just need some time to clear the cobwebs?