Tired of Vitor Belfort’s Schtick, Chael Sonnen Seeks Revenge for KO of Dan Henderson

November 15, 2013
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Chael SonnenLOS ANGELES – Chael Sonnen watched his friend and training partner, Dan Henderson, get knocked out by Vitor Belfort last Saturday at UFC Fight Night 32. The loss was tough to watch and one Sonnen said he wishes didn’t happen, but it’s part of the sport.

The good news for Sonnen is that he can exact revenge in the most direct way possible – a fight. Once he gets through Rashad Evans at UFC 167 and Wanderlei Silva at a later card, Sonnen said he plans on returning to middleweight and fighting Belfort for some payback on behalf of his friends.

“I just don’t like him,” Sonnen said of Belfort at a recent media luncheon. “I’m not into the whole schtick. I’m not into the whole bringing Jesus into the Octagon and acting like he’s helping you knock another man to sleep. I’m not into a lot of the hypocrisy, plus he’s fought a lot of friends of mine, and he’s hurt some of them. So it’s also a revenge factor.”

Belfort beat Henderson in the first round of their main event last Saturday night in Goiania, Goiás, Brazil. For the third fight in a row, Belfort landed a head kick that led to a knockout victory. Additionally, the knockout was the first suffered by Henderson in his 16-plus-year career.

While he isn’t the biggest fan of Belfort, Sonnen said he recognizes the recent rise of “The Phenom,” giving credit to the Brazilian fighter for his dominant performances of late.

“I haven’t been crazy about Vitor for a considerable period of time,” he said. “But I do recognize how good he is, I do recognize how dangerous he is, experienced, explosive, you can go on and on.”

This Saturday’s UFC 167 bout with Evans will be Sonnen’s third consecutive fight at light heavyweight. The stay in the 205-pound division is a temporary one, Sonnen said, and the move back to 185 pounds is something he’s been planning all along.

The only reason Sonnen hasn’t gone to middleweight any sooner is because the recent light heavyweight bout agreements he signed just fell in his lap. For the most part, the contests at 205 pounds were unexpected, but he didn’t hesitate on signing the contracts.

“That was kind of the plan all along,” Sonnen said about returning to middleweight. “I had a couple of matches (at 205 pounds) sprung on me and I agreed to them. So I postponed it. When I’m done with Wanderlei, I’ll go back to 185.”

Sonnen has compartmentalized his future fights, allowing him to focus on Evans until Saturday, then Silva and coaching TUF Brasil 3 thereafter. While those fights have mostly materialized, Sonnen said he imagines a face-off with Belfort can’t be too far down the line. Once that match materializes, he’ll find the opportunity to get the revenge he’s been looking for since Henderson fell to Belfort Saturday.

“I couldn’t imagine not fighting Vitor,” he said. “He’s doing a good job. I don’t know what’s next for him. But he and I will eventually cross paths, yes, absolutely.”

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  • james j

    Chael forever the salesman.

    • Edpo21

      Yes he is and he better get to the back of line because Belfort is too far ahead in rankings. Sonnen has had enough undeserving chances lately.

      • Hugh Shakeshaft


      • TNT

        Belfort is only ranked higher because of his head kicks. Both him and chael have only lost to JBJ and Anderson in recent fights. It would be a perfect matchup for a title shot for both of them. And I personally believe Chael would win

        • Chaels conditioning and the way he pushes the pace would be be his key to victory. He wouldn’t give Vitor the distance to throw any kicks. Let’s see how Chael does tomorrow and then let us all think of that fight again.

          • MaritalArtist

            Well said. People just don’t realize that. There is no feeling out period with Chael. It’s simply “immediate takedown and/or grind”.

    • KevStinx

      Sonnen for Brazilian BBQ, instead of apple in his mouth its Dana’s c0ck

  • KevStinx

    I recognize a win over Belfort would put Sonnen back in a title fight.

    Are we still at the stage where another fighter can walk down the ‘ring’ and call out someone else? Too much bulls***! Yes most of you children eat it up and beat off to the scripted wrestle mania s***.

    More TRT battles ?

    No credibility and very little respect for cheating and manipulative c*****

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    This fight against Rashaad may not go well for Uncle Chael if Rashaad brings his A game (unlike when he fought Lil Nog). Rashaad’s hand speed is as fast as any in the UFC. I still find it hard to believe he doesn’t have the strap. He’s got to get his head straight because he does have the ability to beat JBJ or anyone at 205 for that matter.

    • KevStinx

      Rashad is a sleeper, if he pulls the trigger like he did awhile ago his KO’s will rack up again.

      Has Rashad become too technical and plays it safe?

      Serious speed and power, don’t even count Rashaaaad out

      • Lucas Freire

        Not to mention how he outwrestled Phil Davis, who may be the biggest wrestler on the division other than Jones.
        Rashad on a good day is a solid top5 LHW.

        • KevStinx

          He still has it, see them hands start to fly a little? Reminds me of how dangerous Evans is.

          I wonder how Evans would perform at middleweight if ever possible. I did hear something about this awhile back.

          • Lucas Freire

            Judging by yesterday’s fight I think it’d be really really, really hard for him to go down 185.
            He’s short, but is just too muscular. He would have to lose muscle mass, he’s a compact 5’7” 205er, and that’s just amazing genetics.
            Chael is lighter,taller and had more fat than Rashad. The guy is a machine.

    • Austin, TX

      He has the ability but he (like everyone else- besides Gus) eases up after one or two shots and doesn’t know how to get inside. I don’t think he can beat Bones without a wild ko shot. Even then, remember he landed 1 or 2 at max solid shots- big punches in the 1st or 2nd round of the bones fight and then he just backs off. I don’t think he was the same fighter after Machida ko’d him.

  • robc

    If Sonnen beats Rashad and Wanderlei, why shouldn’t he get a shot at Belfort? Unless Belfort has a belt at that point (which is very unlikely). Belfort already got beaten badly by Jones and has no chance against Weidman or a rematch with Silva. Rashad is top 5 at light heavyweight and Shogun at the time he beat him was top ten.

    Belfort thinks he deserves a title shot for beating 3 top 10 guys, so by that logic so should Sonnent get a similar opportunity.

    Perhaps Belfort can even figure out how to get licensed somewhere other than Brazil or Canada… you know like the United States…

    • J.D.C.D.

      If Sonnen beats Rashad and Wanderlei do you think Sonnen vs Belfort will be fight at Middleweight or Light Heavy Weight.? I know Chael wants to go back down to 185 but for me I’d like to see both of them fight at LHW.

      • deepgrim

        i think wat weight chael is at will depend on the outcome of the silva weidman rematch, cant see him going to 185 if silva gets the belt back

        • J.D.C.D.

          I can see him going to 185 to chase after Vitor possibly if he wants to get Vitor for beating up his buddies. From the UFC 167 Pre fight interviews I saw on MMA H.E.A.T. he says he wants the championship but didn’t specify. I’d love for him to stay in 205 and work his way back up to Jones or to maybe even fight Alex the Mauler.

          • deepgrim

            i like him at 205, but the rashad defeat will set him back. think he will now be gunning for vitor alright, think he could beat vitor with his wrestling- he wont want to stand with vitor for too long. rashad was abad match up for chael. when his wrestling is neutralized he looks very average

          • J.D.C.D.

            I couldn’t agree with you more on all points. I was hoping Chael might have won last night but my gut kept telling me this was Rashad’s comeback. Rashad just seemed different this time around.

            I think Chael will grind out a win against Belfort if he can get out of the first round. Belfort has just been outright nasty these past few fights with his stand up.

          • deepgrim

            man rashad was a different level, feel like the rashad that beat phil davis was on show again. hopefully he can string another strong victory together and then who knows.
            chaels strange for a man who is so effective coming forward with his wrestling he isnt good at defending himself when someone gets on top of him

    • Guest

      Belfort did get beaten by Jones but I guess you forgot the part where he was seconds from submitting jones with the first round armbar.

  • al

    Belfort would kill Sonnen give me a break…

    • MaritalArtist

      Yeah right. Vitor head kicks and sometimes submits people. He can’t do either to Chael. How many kicks have fighters pulled on Chael? Not many, because he just takes you down. My money is on Chael vs anyone except Jones.

      Chael is way too fast with that double leg. Watch how he will tire out Rashad and keep him on the ground longer than he’s ever been there

      • bob

        he no!

      • Lucas Freire

        Watch how Chael will be ragdolled just like he was against Jones.
        Let’s not be naive, why do you think Jones didn’t try to outwrestle Rashad? Because Sugar is the most explosive and in my opinion only Jones would outwrestle him on the division, but Jones decided to not take any chances.
        Or you don’t remember how Rashad schooled Davis on the wrestling department?

  • Brian

    Love him or hate him, one of the best pound for pound in the sport. I see him winning a belt before it’s all over for him.

    • MuayThaiFood

      If he makes the move to Bellator, then yes, I agree.

  • MrL20

    Say what you want about Chael…the dude is a master at positioning his next fight and keeping himself relevant even if he loses fights. Guys should take notice of this marketing genius….making him a lot of $$$$$.

  • bajafox

    I hope he wins and insults Joe Rogan during his post fight victory interview like he did after the Rua fight, that was classic

  • John Bunch

    I’m on board over the whole Jesus talk in the ring…any religion tbh…so smash away Chael.

    • Austin, TX

      But you’ve got to admit, it does border on tiresome at times, no? It’s so prevalent with a lot of fighters. I know that’s their right and I would defend that right, but the thought that the whole God wants me to win more than his other servant who also maybe prayed to him borders on a kind of childish mental condition at times. It’s like, ok. Enough. I get it. Are you really that pathetic that you need to keep re-affirming it like this. There’s a difference between maturity and faith and a mental condition. It gets old. Something about it is needy and dumb and pathetic sometimes. I mean, not always, but frequently.

      • John Bunch

        Ever since I saw George Carlin do his bit about which team god pulls for it’s bugged me. Like you said, they are free to do it and I’d defend their right to say it also…and I am free to be annoyed by it.

        • Austin, TX

          Totally. Carlin was funny.

  • Wolf Ticket

    Chael vs Vitor for the world TRT championship!!!

  • Jose Perez

    Belfort would not kill Sonnen he will Murder him!! In my opinion Chael has nothing but alittle wrestling moves and a lucky victory at Rua !!really not a elite striker like Vitor!! If all mighty rock solid henderson could not last 1 Round What can Chael offer other then Talk!! Vitor is Champion status Just stay away from Him!!! I think Rashad is gonna teach him not to mess with the Blackzilllians!! But if Chael wants to commit suicide then proceed my Friend!! Talk your way into Danas Pocket !!!I still cant believe he beat Rua!!! Dam he hit the jackpot now he thinks he is Superman !!!! But he is entertaiment to watch thats for sure!!