Chael Sonnen: ‘Shogun’ Rua isn’t me, but he’s a ‘true legend’ that I admire

Richard Wolowicz

Are Chael Sonnen's trash talking days behind him? Or does he really "admire" the "true legend" Mauricio "Shogun" Rua?

What the...?

Former No. 1 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has made a habit of badmouthing his opponents prior to meeting them inside the cage. But apparently, he's having trouble finding something bad to say about Mauricio Rua.

"The American Gangster" will square off against "Shogun" in the main event of the upcoming UFC on Fox Sports 1 event on Aug. 17, 2013, in Boston, Mass., and if you expected a lot of pre-fight trash talk from the rabble-rousing Republican, you're sadly mistaken.

On the contrary, Sonnen has nothing but good things to say about the former UFC light heavyweight champion, labeling him a "true legend" of the sport and a fighter he actually admires.

His words on the "Toucher and Rich" show (via 98.5 The Sports Hub):

"You know what, Rua seems like a really great guy. He's one of the few legends that are still fighting, and anytime you get old and you retire from the sport there's been an instant assignment of legend status. He truly is a legend; I admire him, I admire what he's done in the ring. He's good, he's not me, but he is very good."

Is Chael losing his juice?

Maybe, or it could simply mean that Sonnen really does admire the former PRIDE FC Middleweight Grand Prix champion.

Nevertheless, respect or not, Sonnen will try to end his two-fight skid when he takes on Rua -- a man who looks to get back into the win column himself -- at the TD Garden next month in "Beantown."

Anyone appreciate the new calm and respectful approach Sonnen seems to have adopted? Or do you prefer the old sharp-tongued quick-witted fight-hype machine?

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