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Chael Sonnen: Henry Cejudo needs to embrace bad guy role to sell Demetrious Johnson rematch at UFC 227

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Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

They say the bad boys always get the girl. According to Chael Sonnen, the same can be applied to villains in mixed martial arts (MMA), especially when the role of the good guy is already occupied.

While the purpose in MMA isn’t to get the girl, it is all about drawing interest and nabbing pay-per-view (PPV) buys. During a recent segment on “Beyond The Fight,” Sonnen had some words of advice for Henry Cejudo as he gears up to rematch Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Aug. 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, Calif., saying “The Messenger” needs to bring out his inner bad guy to sell the fight.

“He just wouldn’t come out of his shell,” Sonnen said of Cejudo via “He just simply wouldn’t do it. He just wanted to be the good and likeable guy, no matter how many times we try to grab him by the collar and say ‘Henry, that spot’s taken — the good guy is taken by Demetrious — but there’s another seat in the car,’” said Sonnen.

According to “The American Gangster,” the proof is in the pudding, as Cejudo was able to land a do-over against “Mighty Mouse” by dialing up the evil meter just a bit.

“He came out of his shell this much [gestures] in a few Tweets on social media guess what? He got the fight.”

Now that Henry has a chance to get one back on Demetrious after suffering a first-round knockout loss to the dominant champion at UFC 197 two years ago, Sonnen worries his Cejudo’s goals are met, which is a huge mistake.

“I worry as a fan that that was his goal, and his only goal: to get the fight,” Sonnen said. “I worry as a fan that he’s not going to do his part to bring attention to this. That’s irresponsible of him. He will think it’s sportsmanlike of him, he will see it as sportsmanship. That’s also why he’s broke,” said Chael, who wrote the book on how to channel your inner-bad guy to promote a title fight.

“He just refuses to see what we’re doing here. This is a world title fight, which is a big deal. This is a rematch which historically speaking, is big business — and it’s the co-main, which is the industry’s way of saying ‘we know you can’t do your part.’ That’s not on Demetrious. A little bit of it is,” he said.

“Demetrious is involved in this too, but he’s the champion. He’s the one that gets to be himself. He’s the one that gets to be in that spot because he’s got 12 pounds of gold wrapped around his waist. He’s the guy who gets that opportunity, because he’s the number-one ranked fighter in the world. It’s incumbent on the challenger, and in this case, it’s Cejudo.”

Cejudo, though, thinks what Johnson is doing simply isn’t working and isn’t helping elevate the UFC’s Flyweight division. The Olympic gold medalist will have a chance to make the 125-pound division great again if he can take over the throne in just a few months.