Chael Sonnen has built his career on dramatized grudge matches and inflammatory boasting, but he's no stranger to showing respect when he feels it's due. Set to face his friend and colleague Rashad Evans this weekend, Sonnen has ditched the theatrics in favor of the respectful approach. For those concerned that Sonnen will lack edge because of that respect, the man himself assures that he's only calling things like he sees them.
"I think his wins and losses speak for themselves," Sonnen said recently on UFC Tonight. "His record is his record. I'm not a trash talker, I'm a truth talker. If I see good things I'll say it."
Sonnen has fought men he's respected in the past; such was the case with Brian Stann. And while Sonnen admitted that he didn't look forward to fighting the military hero, he went after The All American like he owed him money. Whether or not Sonnen has tapped into that same readiness against Evans already doesn't matter -- when the time comes, he'll do his job.
"I don't think [I've flipped the switch yet], I don't know if I even have that switch," he said. "Eventually they'll call my name and I'll walk out to the music, and when I get a standing ovation from the crowd, I'll be ready to fight."
Friendship aside, Evans presents challenges on a tactical scale as well. Sonnen's biggest advantage is typically his wrestling, but Evans is an accomplished grappler in his own right. It's possible that Sonnen will be fighting without his trump card, but that doesn't mean he's out of options. The wily veteran of over forty MMA bouts has a few things up his sleeve and is confident he'll be walking away the victor regardless of what Evans brings to the table.
"I think it's a hard fight," Sonnen admitted. "I'm going to my Plan B. My usual strategy isn't going to work on this guy. But I've been around a long time and I have some things in my bag of tricks. It's going to be one more for the bad guy."
Sonnen and Evans will square off this weekend at UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks which takes place from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Make sure you check out our live coverage of the event this Saturday. The fights kick off at 6:30p.m. ET/3:30p.m. PT.
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