Chael Says: Quotables from MMA's Most Interesting Man

Read on for a collection of the best Chael Sonnen quotes from over the years...
UFC light heavyweight Chael SonnenThere’s not much to be said here in the way of introduction that will top what is to follow, so we won’t attempt to. Here are some of the best comments from the UFC’s number one quote machine, Chael P. Sonnen, before his UFC on FOX Sports 1 battle with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua on August 17 in Boston.

The Fighting Life (2006)
“It’s not too hard.  Fighting takes up about as much time as anyone else’s hobby.  Guys that play golf probably spend more time a day playing golf than I do on fighting.  As far as athletically, it takes about 45 minutes to work out in the morning and about an hour and 30 minutes in the afternoon, and that’s it.  Then you’ve got drive time, but other than that, you’re inside less than three hours a day, so you can fit it in as a hobby.  I don’t have time for any other hobbies, but I certainly have time for plenty of other things.”

Full-Time Fighter? (2006)
“I went to the University of Oregon and I got a minor in business (Sonnen’s major was in sociology), and the very first day in Business 101, they tell you to have a job, you must provide a good or a service to the community.  Fighting doesn’t provide either.  I don’t want to leave my mark by the people that I beat up; I want to give back to society and I want to help people reach their goals.  That’s what a job does.  So it’s a hobby, not a job.  There’s no way to spin it so that it’s not.  And you’ve got a very short life expectancy in it, and for good reason – your body can only take it for so long and who wants to do it their whole life?  But I have guys who act like it’s their full-time job and they can’t do anything else, and I’m scratching my head, going, ‘well, jeez, it’s three hours a day.’ (Laughs)  If it’s all you want to do, just say that, but it’s not a full-time job.”

The reason to fight (2006)
“It’s nothing about the sport, and I don’t particularly even enjoy the fight itself, but I like to be involved.  It’s a different way to stay in shape and be one of the guys, hang out at the gym, and that’s like my social club because my friends are there.  So that motivates me to do it.  I like this, doing an interview – I like the attention.  And I find those things to be more valuable than the actual enjoyment of the sport.  I don’t want to get punched, and frankly, I don’t want to punch anyone else.  But the rules call for it, and if you want to win you’ve got to follow the rules.”

Becoming Champion (2006)
“I see these fighters come on and pretend to be tough guys, you put a microphone in front of their face and ask them who they want, and anybody who calls out anybody other than the champion should just go retire.  There’s no other reason to be in this sport than to be the champion.  I don’t think of myself as a fighter, I never tell anyone I’m a fighter, I don’t want to be a fighter.  I do want to be the champion, so if I’m delusional, then let’s find out now and I’ll move on to the next chapter of my life.  If I’m not, then I’m gonna take whatever steps and whatever opportunities they put in front of me to lead me to that one goal.  That’s the only thing I’m here for.”

The First Fight with Paulo Filho (2008)
“It hurts. I don’t know what a moral victory means. If the shoe was on the other foot and I got handed one that I didn’t quite earn, I’d feel just as good about it. I’d be completely content and proud of myself. At the end of the night, it’s whoever gets his hand raised, and so it hurt a lot. It kept me up at night. I got right back into the gym, but I was going through the motions and it was really difficult. I didn’t know how it would play out and whether I’d have this void forever. I’ve had a lot of disappointments in athletics over the years and they hurt a lot. But that’s the risk you take. It’s a two-man sport and only one guy’s gonna win.”

On the Rematch with Filho (2008)
“Strategically, I’m gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna throw him down and punch him in the face repeatedly.”

The Truth – Part I (2008)
“The only thing that I do that’s different than anyone else is I tell the truth. Fighters just lie and lie and lie. I don’t know if they’re lying to themselves or they’re just trying to do what they perceive is a good interview.”

The Lying Game (2008)
“I’m at the top gym in the world, and I’ve been to plenty of other gyms. I watched Randy Couture train for nine title fights, I’ve watched Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland train for title fights as well, and there’s nobody in the world who’s training more than three hours a day. But you’ve got these fighters who come out and lie – it takes so much time and they’re doing so much work, and I don’t know why they do that. Another thing they lie about is wanting to fight the best. ‘I want this guy at a hundred percent.’ Why? That’s not true. You don’t want the best. If they would hand you tomato cans, you would line up and fight ‘em one after the other. I just got asked yesterday, ‘do you hope Paulo’s a hundred percent? Do you hope he brings his ‘A’ game?’ No. I hope he wakes up with the flu, I hope he has to be helped to the ring because he has some injury and can hardly stand, and then I’ll clean him up. The last time I fought Paulo he was probably at 70 percent and he was a monster. Why would I want him at a hundred percent?”

Honor (2008)
“There are only a couple of fighters out there, myself included, that will really fight anybody. So not only will I bring honor back to the middleweight division, but I’ll also bring a lot of honesty back.”

Motivation (2008)
“There was a gentleman that won a world championship in wrestling named Les Gutches, and he was a hero of mine for many years. And Les told me that after he won that world championship that the next day was one of the most depressing days of his life because he worked every day for that, and he no longer had a goal. Fortunately for me, when I win that (WEC) middleweight championship, there’s gonna be another guy on the other side of town named Anderson (Silva) that’s claiming to be a champion in that same weight class. And this isn’t the BCS college poll where we identify two champions. The term ‘champion’ is very exclusive, and it’s exclusive to one. And if I’m not the champion, I don’t want to be called it. So my intention (after the Filho rematch) will change to finding out who the true champion is.”

On Returning to the UFC (2009)
“UFC’s got the tradition, and when I was a young man and went to bed at night, it was the UFC I was dreaming about. You always want to be satisfied and happy with your situation, and I always was, but in the back of the head, there’s no way to deny or pretend that this isn’t exactly what I was hoping to happen.”

On Strategy (pre-Demian Maia 2009)
“You’ll even hear veterans in that old mind frame saying ‘I want to take him where he’s not comfortable.’ I’m more of the strategy of ‘I don’t work on my weaknesses, I work on my strengths.’ So I don’t know where he’s comfortable or where he’s not – I know I don’t mind fighting on the ground, and I prefer it. So if he wants to be there and I want to be there, I don’t see why we’re reinventing the wheel.”

On Competition (2009)
“I came from a wrestling background, and at a wrestling tournament, you don’t pick your opponents; you don’t take the call that says ‘hey, will you take on this guy?’ You show up and you take on whoever weighs in. And I came into fighting with that same mentality. I fought Jeremy Horn when he was the number one guy in the world three times and the reason I got to fight with him three times is because nobody else would do it. When I first got into the UFC, I got in there against a guy named Babalu (Sobral) because at that time nobody else would fight him, and I volunteered. So I got in a little bit over my head, but it also provided me with my opportunities to get me to where I am now. I’ve got a few losses on my record where I jumped in and wasn’t quite ready, but over time, my abilities have caught up with my confidence and my goals and I am kinda starting to catch a stride.”

On the Yushin Okami Fight (2009)
“You don’t want to get beat by anybody, but especially him. I gotta prepare for a guy and try to hype a fight with a guy that doesn’t even understand what hyping a fight means. I’m a one man band in this thing. I’m going at it alone, and when we get in the ring, if he backs up like he likes to always do, there’s just no end game here – there’s no way to win. So anyway, I’m just gonna go and beat the guy up because it’s the only thing that he and I can do together in friendship.”

The Truth – Part II (2009)
“There are some guys who will get their feelings hurt here and there, but I’m not a big name caller. I don’t pick on guys very much. I’ll just point some things out and make them take a little look at themselves. I’ve even had guys come and go ‘hey man, I read an interview you did on me and you were right about that. I didn’t even realize I was doing that.’ (Laughs) So I don’t know if it’s gotten me in trouble too much, and at the end of the day, this is the fight business. We aren’t fight friends. This isn’t Eminem insulting 50 Cent during an interview from across the country. If somebody’s got a problem with what I’ve said, well, let’s go fight. We can settle this. We don’t have to do this through the media and sing songs about it, we can also just go fight. So anytime this gets me in trouble, the solution to the problem is very evident – it’s an eight-sided cage called the Octagon – I’ll see you there.”

On Anderson Silva (2010)
“He adds a couple of new dimensions because he’s very long and lanky – he’s got a really odd body type for the weight class – and he’s got an odd style. There’s nobody to mimic him. He fights in a sport called Muay Thai, which isn’t even a real sport, it’s something somebody made up in a garage somewhere. And apparently Anderson got a membership to that guy’s garage because he got pretty good at it.”

On the psychological game (2010)
“As far as psychological warfare, the only ones I’m after are the fans. They’re the only people I care about and I’m out here to entertain the fans. The fans have been really receptive to knowing what goes on behind the scenes and the secrets of the locker room are at the forefront of the fans’ minds. I’ve caught on to that, so I continue to share and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Before the first Silva fight (2010)
“No one tunes in to see Anderson Silva. The guy’s the worst Pay-Per-View draw in the history of Zuffa, and he’s a four-year undefeated athlete with one sponsor. There is one company on the face of the planet that’s willing to put their name on that guy. He walks into a room, he doesn’t have any fans, the media doesn’t want to talk to him, you watch the UFC promotion and it’s the Chael Sonnen show and it might as well be. Anderson Silva is about as entertaining as watching paint dry so if you can keep the mic and camera on me, I’ll sell some tickets. I can drag Anderson Silva outside the hotel any day I wanted to and beat him up, But I’m gonna wait until August 7th and I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure millions of people are watching me do it.”

Hard work, dedication (2010)
“25 minutes is a long time to fight and Anderson Silva has got a real hard time doing it. And that’s why he goes out there and looks like Michael Jackson and dances instead of fights, because he’s got to kill some time. If you go fight like I fight, that when that bell rings you go get yourself in a fistfight, you gotta be in really good shape and you gotta work really, really hard leading up to the event. He’s not in really good shape and he doesn’t work really hard leading up to the event. So he’s found a great way to compensate, which is to just eat up that clock with his movement. I don’t fault him for that. I’ve never done 25 minutes and it certainly is a long time to do anything, but my father was a plumber. He worked hard every day from sun up to sun down and he never once complained about being tired. So I would never disrespect him by complaining about being tired in a 25 minute sporting event.”

Pre-Silva I (2010)
“That whole Black House team has a big bull’s eye on their chest, so I might move up to 205 to slap around (Antonio Rogerio) Nogueira and I might go on a diet to get rid of (WEC featherweight champ) Jose Aldo. There’s no telling what I’m gonna do but I’m not overlooking any one of those team members. So we’ll see what happens. I’ve got other things in mind as well that are a lot more pressing than a couple members of the Black House team that I might move on to, but I have a feeling that beating up Anderson Silva is gonna be like eating Chinese food – 20 minutes later I’m gonna want to do it again. So maybe I’ll beat him up and give him an immediate rematch and do it all over again. But my plate is full right now – I’ve got to get through August 7th and that’s the bottom line.”

Groundhog Day (2011)
“I’m just looking at myself. How fast are my hands, how many punches did I throw today, did I eat the right things, how many hours of sleep did I get last night? I only look at myself. The Octagon’s the same size, Herb Dean’s hair is just as bad, Bruce Buffer’s in the shark suit either way. Nothing changes for me. The rules are the same, the rounds are the same, and my life is the exact same. My money’s the same, I wear the same t-shirt, I’ve got the same cornermen, and they can call it a title fight, they can call it a main event, they can call it an undercard – my life is no different. When that same music hits those speakers, I’ll make that same walk, put that same mouthpiece in, and do everything I can to win, regardless of what’s riding on it.”

Vacation? (2011)
“I didn’t need any breaks, I never need a break. You only do this three times a year anyway. It’s like you’ve got all these crybabies out there talking about ‘my wife really wants me around more.’ What a ridiculous statement. What do you mean ‘around more?’ It’s three hours a day and three weekends a year. There is no around more. You couldn’t possibly be around more. So no, I definitely don’t need a break from three hours a day and three weekends a year. I was just the opposite. I was like a good cowboy that just wants to jump back on the horse.”

On the first Silva fight (2011)
“I expected more resistance everywhere from him. From the grappling to his striking, his strategy, I just expected more resistance everywhere. So yeah, I was surprised at his lack of resistance.”

On Silva (2011)
“He’s a punk and a bully, he really is, and now he’s out there trying to be me. He’s doing everything he can to copy me. He’s wearing masks to weigh-ins and yelling at guys at press conferences, and doing everything he can do to be me. So good for him. It’s like Marshall Mathers once said: ‘they may walk like me, talk like me, dress, act, not give a dang like me, and they just might be the next best thing, but they’re not quite me.’”

On respect (2011)
“People like respect and I’m the only respectful fighter in the whole sport. A lot of other fighters have a real misunderstanding that lying and dishonesty is respectful. They love to bow to your face and stick a knife in your back the first chance they get. I don’t. I’ll tell you like it is to your face and then I’ll stick the knife in your back because I told you that if you turn around I’ll put a knife in your back. And that’s the difference with me. I’m honest and I’m respectful. And these guys love to say ‘Chael doesn’t have any respect.’ Well, check your dictionary at the local junior high that you flunked out of. I’m absolutely respectful and absolutely honest as well. You guys are a bunch of liars.”

On retirement (2011)
“I don’t ever want to be done. I’ll never quit this sport. I’ll never be done with this business, but at some point, this business will be done with me. I’ll be one of those last guys that hangs on past the time that he should. I like it, it’s what I want to do, I do it because I choose to do it, not because I have to do it, and there is no life after this. This is what I want to do with my life.”

On title shots (2012)
“I’m not after a title shot, and this is the big thing that separates me from everyone else. I’ve never asked for a title shot and it’s not about a title shot – it’s about the title. And for so many guys, they want that title shot and they sit and they argue and they go to the media and they politick for these opportunities, and I’ll fight my way through. And if somebody can beat me, then I don’t deserve it; if somebody can beat me, then they should go have it. I don’t need politics or the media or anything else to propel me. If my skills and my ability won’t do it, then I don’t want it. It’s not about the shot and these fake opportunities because you politicked your way through the system. I will punch my way through the system, and if it fails me, then I shouldn’t be there in the first place.”

On the title (2012)
“The title’s the goal, not Anderson. He can go off and do what he wants. But he will be remembered the same way Mike Tyson is – as a phony. I had to grow up hearing Mike Tyson was the best fighter in the world when he was never – not for one day of his life – the best fighter in America. He never won a national title as a kid, he never made an Olympic team as an amateur, he could never beat Evander Holyfield, he never was the best fighter in America, but for 10 years they told us he was the world champ. It’s the same with Anderson. He’ll be remembered the same way. His pocketbook and his bank account will look really good, and he’ll be remembered as the wimp that he is.”

On Chael Sonnen (2009)
“I will take on whoever, and a lot of guys say that because it’s got a nice ring to it, and then behind the scenes, when Joe Silva calls, all of a sudden their arm hurts, their knee hurts, or their shoulder’s sore. They need to get their tonsils removed or they need to play in a movie when they really don’t know how to act. Guys come up with a lot of reasons not to get in there, and I have a lot of reasons too. I’ve never felt good when it comes to fight. Not one time have I walked in the ring feeling good. But when that music comes on, I will make that walk every single time, regardless of the opponent. I never think about who’s across from me.”

Watch Past Fights

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