I’m now 1/3 through my training camp to fight Chael Sonnen for the No. 1 contender’s spot for the UFC middleweight title, as hilarious as that sounds. But that’s what happens when you accept a change of opponent on 10 days notice. In one week, I will be weighing in for the 185-pound UFC On FOX fight in Chicago.
I am under no illusions as to the task I’ve got on my hands next Saturday. No one else in the division wants to fight Chael Sonnen, and sure as hell no one else would have taken the fight at this kind of notice against him. The guy is a beast, let’s be honest. He’s a great wrestler, no question, but what makes him so dangerous is his physical and mental strength, his will to win and the fact he’s a tough mofo!
His standup isn’t great and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu is average, but he makes up for all that with being so tough and relentless. That’s really what makes Chael one of the best fighters in the world — his will to win and his toughness.
That said, his Achilles’ heel is submissions. He’s tough as nails, but for some reason he taps out pretty quickly. That’s a weird contradiction in him. Yes, he’s looked outstanding of late — beating Brian Stann, Yushin Okami, human pin-cushion Nate Marquardt and obviously dominating Anderson Silva for four rounds — but he’s not invincible. He has lost 11 times. He has weaknesses in his game like anyone else.
There are no easy opponents or perfectly made-to-order gimme fights at this level. It is going to be a tough, hard, nasty fight, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t want to beat Jason Miller to get a title shot. I want to beat Chael Sonnen. And I don’t want to fight anyone other than Anderson Silva for the belt. I’m either good enough to be the UFC middleweight champion, or I’m not. All I’ve been asking for is the chance to earn my shot, and that’s what I’ve got next week.
Yes, it’s a big task, but it is a big task for him to beat me on 10 days notice. I am vastly more experienced than his original opponent, Mark Munoz, and am a far better striker. I strongly urge anyone with some spare cash to put money on me. Me starting a 4:1 underdog is a joke. I’m highly, highly amused by those odds. Please, ladies and gentlemen, refinance your house and make some money on "The Count" next week.
I was mildly amused by some of the things Chael said about me when the fight was announced. But, to be honest, I was expecting a little more from him in the smack talk department. Saying I sound like the British kid in South Park? Not your best material, Chael. Even cornflakes-for-brains Jorge Rivera used the South Park references, but I’m sure Chael’s got some quality zingers coming up.
He won’t let me down on the smack talk, I am positive. "Fail" Sonnen has failed at politics, failed at real estate, failed at being a crook in real estate because he got caught, failed as a middleweight title challenger, so I am sure Fail Sonnen won’t want to fail at his true calling in life: smack-talking.
And for the record, I have to admit, I think Chael is hilarious a lot of the time. He’s a great fighter, is a genius self-promoter and MMA is lucky to have him, to be honest. Those who say he’s too WWE don’t know what promotion in sports is like in the 21st century. I think the guy’s personality is great for the sport.
That said, I am kicking his arse next weekend. He’s had his shot at the belt. Now I want mine.
UFC on FOX 2, featuring Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, and Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman, will be LIVE on FOX at 8 p.m. ET, Jan. 28. Follow Bisping on Twitter @bisping.