UFC Boston Road Report: Why Chael Sonnen needs to win, Ronda Rousey opens up
By Josh Nason
If you’ve been a regular visitor to this site, you probably get the idea that promos matter around here. For the past few years, there’s been few MMA fighters better at the gift of gab than Chael P. Sonnen.
When Sonnen was winning, the act fit. He became a top draw in the sport, literally talked his way into a great gig for Fox Sports, and managed to get a title shot in a division he hadn’t fought in for years. Can you picture the slick-talking Chicago Cubs wriggling their way into a World Series slot because they drove more viewers and revenue? That’s “prizefighting” for you, I guess.
However, something happened along the way. Sonnen (27-13-1) stopped winning those big fights. After a submission win over Brian Stann and a narrow decision win over Michael Bisping (a fight many thought he lost), Sonnen has lost two in a row to Anderson Silva (2nd round finish) and Jon Jones (1st round finish). Granted, the competition is much higher and that gives Sonnen an excuse, but they are still losses on the ledger.
But when the competition slightly drops as it is tonight, we’ll finally see what we have in current day Chael. Against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, he goes in as a slight favorite
. The possibilities of him wrestling Rua for five rounds in the main event of UFC Fight Night Boston is high, as is the possibility of Rua battering Sonnen and winning by TKO in the 3rd round.
Rua (21-7) is closer to the end of his career than the beginning and also finds himself in a bit of win one, lose one rut. While he was able to beat up Brandon Vera, he couldn’t hang with Alexander Gutsafsson. He’s younger than Sonnen, but has way more fight miles. He wants to get back to the title, but unless he gets on a win streak and based on his current pace, that could be several years away. He might not have that amount of time left depending on how much damage he takes in that span.
Back to Sonnen, he wants to fight for as long as the UFC will have him. In order for him to keep being a major draw (the ‘top draw’ as he says, Dana White says he’s right up there), he’s got to win in order for people to take him seriously again and he’s got to be convincing about it. All he’s talked about is a fight with Wanderlei Silva, and with a win, he’ll likely get it.
If and when he gets there, the reaction can’t be “Yeah, but he doesn’t win.” It has to begin Saturday or else every promo after this will come off as just another pro wrestling schtick. We enjoy talk, but we also enjoy someone that can back it up when it matters the most.*****
Friday afternoon saw 135-pound women’s champion Ronda Rousey take to the TD Garden stage for a Fight Club Q & A. You can watch the whole video
, but here’s a few highlights:
UFC Fight Night Coverage
- This week, she’s heading to Bulgaria for eight weeks. I believe she’ll be in teammate Manny Gamburyan’s corner Saturday as she came out for his weigh-in Friday.
- One of her favorite celebrity encounters was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, saying they were really approachable and normal. She said that when it comes to celebrity, it’s like a bigger version of high school where the pro athletes are the best of the varsity, the musicians are the best of the band, etc.
- If there is still a flourishing women’s division 20-to-30 years from now, she’ll be happy to have that as a legacy.
- She’s training for the best version of Miesha Tate possible, while Tate is training for the worst possible version of her. She sees herself beating Tate in any of 20 different ways so far and tries to come up with new ones every day.
- She has a fear of papercuts and hurting a finger or toe would also freak her out.
- If she was to go on a romantic date with Cain Velasquez or Junior dos Santos, he said Cain because JDS said she was 'regular looking'.
- She was asked about Cyborg Santos and brought up how Cyborg could have fought in Invicta and still be under UFC contract, but when drug testing was brought in, she declined. “That’s what happens when you bring on Tito Ortiz as your manager.”
- On Bellator cutting women: “That’s why the UFC is way better than Bellator.”
- She had a lot of advice for younger girls who asked questions. That’s where her real influence is going to come in over the next year.
- She talked about how she got her nickname “Rowdy”, getting permission from Roddy Piper during his first amateur bout to use the name.
- She talked about her pre-fight routine and taking a nap when she arrives. She also said the reason she wears her ‘battle boots’ and stomps her feet is to get circulation back in her toes.
- She was really looking forward to Sarah Kaufmann vs. Sara McMann. She was also impressed by Cat Zingano.
- She doesn’t like Bryan Caraway at all. She said that when he's not around Tate, she seems to do better in fights.
- When asked about Kill/Marry/Armbar with Caraway, Ortiz and Tate, she would kill Caraway, armbar Tito, and “me and Miesha are going to Vegas” because she seems like a pushover in a relationship.
- She thinks it would be cool to be a dolphin.
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