Host Dustin Green is back this week with more of his interview series with UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen. Green talks to Sonnen about his initial shock and hesitancy to fight Brian Stann at UFC 136, Sonnen's admiration for Stann and most interestingly, that he is the 'world champion'. His fight against Brian Stann? As Sonnen would tell it, it's his first title defense. Be sure to watch the entire video.
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56, on facing Brian Stann: "I'm a huge Brian Stann fan. If he never fought again, he'd have my utmost respect. He called me on the phone and told me to do something, I'd go do it. Brian Stann is a leader, he's a leader of men. He's a leader over guys like me and I'm a leader and I look up to him. That's not meant to compliment him or make him look good if he sees it, that's just the truth. Everybody that comes in contact with him - he's a very special human being. They don't make a lot of people like him. Dana White, Brian Stann - that's how the respect order of this company goes. That's how well he's respected by guys. He respected by employees. He respected by guys that sign his paycheck. When I get a fight, when they call me and say 'Hey you wanna fight so and so?' The answer is yes, but, behind the scenes, I call my mom, I call my sister. I tell them what's going on. I call my brother-in-law in Clifton. I sit down with my coaches. Even if it's over the phone, we just have a quick 'Hey we wanna do this, right? We can come p with something and have success out there.' It was different with Brian. I drew his name out, I said 'Oh, gosh no!' I couldn't sleep. I went to Brian Stann. I never contact an opponent. Nobody contacts an opponent. That breaks every unwritten rule there is. I contacted Brian. I said 'Hey listen I can't sleep. I'm so bothered by this news and it caught me out of left field I don't know what to do here.' And Brian Stann wrote me back and he said 'Chael, yeah it did come out of nowhere, but, with all the things going on in the world today, us fighting for up to 15 minute just doesn't matter. It's just not a big deal.' Brian.
That's a very private email, but I'm sharing it because of the message there. He's a leader, he's a leader of men. He's led men into battle. He's now leading his own opponent into battle. It's the right thing to do. It's what the company asks us to do. It's what the division needs. We're 2 of the top guys. I am the world champion. He is my #1 contender. I'm going to defend my championship for the 1st time against Brian Stann. And I'm doing it because he told me it's the right thing to do. I think that's very interesting. I've never been in that spot before."
3:25, on being worried about his own ability vs combating Stann's ability: "Well, one other commonality that Brian Stann and I have - his coach John Bardis, is my mentor. Somebody who helps me through life. A male figure that I look up to and call and contact and seek advice [from] who loves me like a son - also loves Brian like a son. He was with Brian 1st and he was real straight from the beginning. He said 'Listen, I'm with Brian. If you guys match up, I'm with Brian. We still have our relationship and nothing's going to change.' I don't know if Brian can come up with a gameplan to beat me, but I know that John Bardis could and that concerns me. John Bardis is a distinguished member of the wresting Hall of Fame. That's far bigger achievement than I've ever achieved in wrestling. That's my base. He's gonna have plenty of problems to shut down what I do. I would feel a lot better about this fight if he didn't have Jon Bardis with him."