Say what you want about Chael Sonnen, but he absolutely loves the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Despite going 0 for 3 in UFC title shots in the past three years, the mouthy ex-Realtor is still a hot commodity and will headline UFC Fight Night 26 this weekend (Aug. 17, 2013) opposite Mauricio Rua at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Sonnen may be out of the 205-pound title picture, but he still has plenty of goals he wishes to accomplish, particularly silencing a certain few Brazilian fighters he's feuded with recently. That's where he's currently drawing his motivation from, according to today's UFC media conference call:
"I haven't reached my goal. Your goals change constantly in this sport depending on where you're at in the landscape and everything changes routinely. I haven't reached my goals and aside from chasing a world championship, there's some guys I just want to fight. I don't know that Shogun is one of those guys, but a few of his friends are. I like to compete. I don't know any other sport. I never played any other sports. I love it. I love being part of it. I don't have a lot of friends, so it's nice to go to the gym and be in a social atmosphere, be around good guys."
Most interesting, however, were Sonnen's candid remarks about athletes he admires -- regardless of sport -- and the model he wants to set himself after.
Sonnen certainly doesn't seem too worried about staying around in MMA too long and becoming a cautionary tale someday. In fact, he expects he'll have to be "forced out" before he calls it quits, burgeoning broadcasting career be damned.
"I'm very impressed with guys that can extend their career, guys like Bernard Hopkins that make all of us feel young again. People like Dara Torres, the swimmer from the Olympic games that made the team at over 40 years old. I really admire people that can do that. If you're healthy and you love something, and you've got a chance to do it, that window is very small, and it is for me, too. It could be over any day now. I'm one of the guys that'll have to be forced out of this sport. I will stay in it too long because I love it. I'm not gonna pull the plug on myself."
Do you expect Sonnen to stick around for the foreseeable future, or would a disheartening loss to "Shogun" this weekend expedite his plans to call it quits?