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Chael Sonnen has lost many times inside the Octagon. On the MMA Hour, via MMAFighting.com, he explained that the pain doesn’t go away- but at least his teeth are still intact.
“Physically, everything hurts,” said Sonnen. “[Emelianenko] hit me with a missile about five-seconds in. That one still hurts a little bit. But other than that, I am doing well…My teeth are okay. If I had one wish going into a fight, aside from serious injury, it’s that I won’t lose a tooth. I had that same wish since I started this when I was 19 years old. But, yes they are all intact.
“Emotionally, I get heartbroken about these things. From a competitive standpoint, I have dedicated my whole life to this since I was nine years old and I would have started earlier if my dad would have let me. He wouldn’t let me start until I was nine. It hurts. It hurts really bad that you don’t get those moments back.”
Sonnen got knocked down and ragdolled repeatedly by Fedor, and kept getting up and moving forward, until Fedor unleashed some particularly brutal ground and pound that turned Sonnen fetal. For Chael, it’s getting back up after a defeat like he just suffered, that defines the word ‘fighter’ to him.
“I’ve had these feelings before,” said Sonnen. “I am convinced, in my interpretation, this is what it means to be a fighter. Somewhere over time that word became corrupted. It became about the punches and the kicks. But I’ve always believed it’s feeling like I’m feeling right now and getting out of bed anyway and facing the media and getting back on it. So now I have to be a fighter. I prefer to be a winner, I prefer to be on top of the world and looking down on everybody else. But today I’ve got to fight.”
He elaborated on his gameplan further, explaining what went wrong. He also said this is the first time in his career he’s been outstruck, which seems incredible.
“I’ve fought 49 guys, well I guess 50 counting Fedor, and I’ve never been outstruck,” said Sonnen. “Not one single time have I lost the stand up part of a fight. I can’t that anymore. This is first stand up I’ve ever lost. I didn’t think he was fast enough to catch me. I thought I’d be too quick. So I was going across and distract him with some punches and get into a clinch or get into a double-leg and make it a wrestling match. I wanted to have my hands on him at all times. I was ready for some of those throws Sambo throws, I was ready for them to go against me, I was ready for him to succeed with those throws and have to scramble on the mat.
“It wasn’t like a real sophisticated gameplan as much as it was just pressure-based. I just wanted to fight him. I wanted to be on him and wanted him to have to respond. But I also thought I could take his shots. I still didn’t see those punches. They were so fast and I was so impressed. In spite of hanging my head here today, I have to give him his credit. He earned it. I’ve got to credit his sped and his power, they were very difficult for me.”
Sonnen concluded that his future will hopefully not be at heavyweight. Physically, he can compete more effectively there.
“When I get a phone call and they have an idea, I say yes,” said Sonnen. “But ideally, I liked to go back to light heavyweight. I had a really hard time in both of my heavyweights getting to some of the positions I wanted to be in. So I think physically, it’s a little better for me at light heavyweight.”
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