Man, if only Paulo Fihlo hadn’t gained an extra personality that weighed four pounds and came in on weight for the WEC middleweight title fight that he dropped to Chael Sonnen. Had Paulo been on weight, I could write the entire intro to this article with the hook of former WEC champ vs final WEC champ blah blah WEC never die etc, but no. At least Paulo mailed Chael the belt. That was nice. Regardless of titles won and lost the two patriots will clash in Houston on October 8th. Where else for this fight but Texas?
Bleacher Report spoke with military hero and heavy handed Brian Stann to get some insight about all things Chael. It’s a good one.
Well, I wouldn’t say we’re really close friends. We don’t talk very often, but there is a mutual respect there. I trained with Chael years ago, before he became very outspoken, before he fought certain guys that ignited that style of marketing, so I feel I know Chael aside from the media and he’s a good guy. He has always been very respectful, kind and helpful towards me, especially when I trained in Portland for a week with Chael and Matt Lindland a while back. After that, we really didn’t communicate much at all together except for the fact that we shared a common mentor in a gentleman by the name of John Bardis, who has been a mentor of mine for several years now, and who is also the chairman of the board for Hire Heroes USA. John has effectively been my boss at work, and he is also very close with Chael. Other than that, we don’t talk on a regular basis. We don’t call or text each other every day.
There’s nothing easy at all about fighting Chael Sonnen, no matter where the fight takes place. Just because I believe I have an advantage in one particular area, doesn’t mean that I have a mile advantage. Chael has been competing in MMA since I was in highschool. He made his pro-debut in 1997, when I was a sophomore. Not to mention all the years he has spent wrestling. Wherever we fight this won’t be a cakewalk, I’m in for a fight. However, if he finds himself trading shots with me, that’s an advantage for me. Those are the situations I’m looking to create in this fight, whereas I don’t think he wants to find himself in those situations. If he’s in those situations, he’s going to be trading punches to get out of it, set up a takedown, clench up, or fight you at a distance. He’s too smart to just trade blows.
Absolutely, I can knock anybody out. I have enough power to knock anybody out. With the right punch or kick, anybody can be knocked out. There is nobody who can’t be knocked out. One of the reasons Chael hasn’t been knocked out in his career is because, one he’s tough, and secondly he’s very good at sticking to his gameplan. You watch all his fights and you’ll see that there are very few guys that can defend against his style of fighting, which is to come out, attack you on the feet, create openings for a very good double-leg, single-leg, or body lock takedown, into a very controlling and relentless top game. Chael doesn’t just lay on you, he also attacks you when he’s on top. It’s very difficult to knock a guy out when he’s on top of you punching you in the face.
You just have to keep going. Sometimes you find a guy that is willing to go to the same level as you are. I’ve got to hope he’s not willing to go to the same level that I’m willing to go to that night. And if he is, then I have to find another level. In my mind, of course I’m going to think that I have more heart and more mental toughness than anybody else in this sport, and I have to approach it that way. I’d expect nothing less than for Chael to come at me for 15 whole minutes, and it’ll make it a special fight for the fans.
Read more of the interview here.