Lindland & Chael Sonnen training at Team Quest
Oregon's own Chael Sonnen will be fighting this coming
Saturday, August 7th, at UFC 117 in the main event versus
UFC Middleweight Champ, Anderson Silva. NW Fightscene's
Spaniard and photographer Warren Anderson had an
opportunity to catch Chael training with Matt Lindland,
Dave Jansen, Ian Loveland, and Robert Follis at Team Quest in Gresham in
preparation for the fight. After the training session,
Chael sat down with Spaniard for this
Fightscene: So my first question, the weight cut. How's
Chael Sonnen: Yeah, the weight cut is a bear. It's the
hardest part. I'm ahead of schedule this time but its
still going to be horrible. Its a monster. Everybody goes
through it. I'm no different. It's a big obstacle...
Its a nice obstacle. It's a great distraction but it's really
Does that make you a tougher fighter?
Sonnen: Oh yeah. It makes you a lot meaner. You get
like what they say about a dog that they don't feed. He becomes
really angry and hard to be around. I have a lot of that.
I have to apologize to my friends and family in advance.
They never get used to it. Never one time do they just
like expect it. Expect 'Hey, he's going to be a little
cranky.' Every time they want an apology, want to
know why I'm acting like that. It's hard to explain. Hard
to explain until you starve.
Anderson Silva. This is the fight of your life. What
changes have you made, if any, for this camp?
Sonnen: Well, I don't do camps. Camps are for kids. I
don't sleep in tents or roast marshmallows. I certainly don't
tell ghost stories or own a sleeping bag. But I do
work hard every single day. I work harder than anybody in
this business. And that's what separates me. I haven't
been able to focus on Anderson. We're getting to about 15
days out and I'll start. I'll try to sit down in front of
a computer and watch a couple of his films, and maybe pick
up on something that he does. I've just been pretty
selfish for this training cycle. Just focusing on
Do you dissect fighters a lot and do you feel that helps?
Sonnen: I think you've got to use any tool you've
got. If you got film out there, you should sit down and
watch it. But its like coming up with different integers
as to why Batman can beat Superman. It really doesn't
matter. If you start worrying about what he's going to do,
that's the wrong attitude. I've got a certain skill set
that I bring. And I need to bring that as close to 100
percent as I can get. He's going to bring his skill set
and the better fighter will win.
What got you into fighting?
Sonnen: Its the only game I know how to play. I came
from a family of wrestlers. My uncle, my cousins, my
father, everybody wrestled. I begged my dad to get me into
wrestling. He wanted to get me into karate or boxing.
Finally he got me into wrestling when I was nine years
old. And that's all I know. I've never done any other
sports. I never played in high school, football or
basketball or baseball. And in fact, I regret it.
I wish I would have but I didn't. I don't know how to play
anything else. I've never seen a football game my whole
life. I'm 33, I've never watched one. I've never seen a
basketball game. I've never seen a hockey game. I know
what they are but I've never watched one. Never seen it. I've never seen golf...
This is the
only thing I know how to play.
Talk us through your first fight.
Sonnen: My first fight, I fought a guy named Trevor
Prangley at an amateur event in the Roseland Theater in
Portland, Oregon. It was a seven minute match. And I beat
him up for seven minutes and 34 seconds. And he submitted
me in a triangle choke. And the reason the match went 34
seconds over the scheduled time is the promoter enjoyed it
so much, he let it just keep going. And that's the way it
worked back then. There was no commissions. There was no
regulation. Promoters would do that all the time. It'd be
scheduled for two rounds, they liked the match, they'd
make it four rounds. And we never complained. Back then, that's
just the way it was. I never complained when the
match went 34 seconds late and I ended up losing it. That's
just the way it was back then. We rematched in the UFC,
Trevor and I. For the guys on the amateur
circuit, its a tough circuit around here.
Chael Sonnen then, Chael Sonnen now. Differences?
Sonnen: Umm, I don't know. I don't know of any
differences. They certainly are there. I work hard every
single day and it pays off over time. You work out a
couple of times a day, every day, for years and years, and
you develop and get a little smarter and a little
stronger. Better in certain positions. So I don't have
anything special that anybody else doesn't have. It just
takes time to get there. It took me longer than it takes a
lot of guys. But I got there all the same.
You did a lot talking in building up the fight. Is that you just building
the fight up or is that the Chael Sonnen all the time?
Sonnen: I haven't done anything new for this
fight. I hear a lot of people say that. I think I've had a
little better avenues now to speak through than
before. But I haven't done anything different for this
fight than any other fight. I got a lot more people
listening. A lot more people paying attention now. But I'm
the same guy today as I was 8 years ago when I started.
about the Twitter? Is that your Twitter account
or someone else?
Sonnen: No, not mine.
do you feel about people impersonating Chael Sonnen online?
Sonnen: Oh, I love it. I've got three myspace pages,
four facebook pages, and at least one twitter account. And
I love it. Its very flattering.. You know, that's one of the perks of the job. But
you have to enjoy all of that. Whether its for you or
against you, you have to enjoy it. Imitation is certainly
flattery in any form.
you go over some of your wrestling titles from your
Sonnen: The titles I'm most proud of is that I'm an
NCAA All-American from the University of Oregon. I won two
University National Championships, including being voted
the outstanding wrestler of the nation. And I was an
Olympic Alternate for the United States in Greco-Roman
wrestling. I've wrestled for a long time so I got a
shoebox full of awards, but those are the ones I'm most
proud of. I earned a silver medal in the world
championships for the University World Games. I'm proud of
that one as well.
As far as fighting accomplishments, I've
beat every champion of every company there's
ever been. I've beat the King of the Cage champion. I've
beat the Gladiator Challenge champion. I've beat Elite
XC's champion. I've beat Strikeforce's champion. I've beat
Bodog's champion. I've beat the IFL champion. I beat the
WEC champion twice. I've beat every champion of every
company's that worth watching except one because he
wouldn't fight me. There's not another fighter alive
that's done what I've done in terms of cleaning out every
company there's been. So those are my accomplishments and
my awards, and I'll go after one more on August 7th.
NWFS: You have a junior wrestling team as well..
Sonnen: Yeah. My partner Kevin Keeney and I coach the
All-Phase Wrestling club at APWrestling.org. And we're one
of the premier teams in the country. We started with six
kids in 2001 and we've built our club to 122 members. And
there's some excellent, excellent young wrestlers and
hopefully will be future Olympians.
Fightscene thanks Chael for taking the time out to speak
with us. Catch him fighting this coming Saturday, August
7th for the UFC Middleweight Title against Champion
Anderson Silva. The fight will be the main event of UFC
117 taking place in Oakland, CA's Oracle Arena. Info on
how to view the fight at UFC.com.