Chael Sonnen file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Chael Sonnen has expanded his verbal offensive on UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva to include his two best-known training partners -- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Sonnen trashed the Brazilian twins in a UFC Fight Club question-and-answer session on Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
“He’s got a black belt under the Nogueiras,” Sonnen said, referring to Silva. “I think a black belt under the Nogueiras is saying, like, I got a free toy in my Happy Meal. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. One of ’em’s a punching bag, and the other one I just ignore; he’s really irrelevant.”
Sonnen will challenge Silva for his 185-pound crown in the UFC 117 headliner on Aug. 7 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Ed Soares, Silva’s manager, again found himself in the verbal crosshairs of the outspoken Oregonian.
“He’s the world’s most famous interpreter,” Sonnen said. “Somehow he even got himself into the [UFC] video game.”
A two-time national wrestling champion, Sonnen has for some time openly jockeyed for a matchup with Silva, who has held the UFC’s middleweight crown since October 2006. Widely regarded as one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, the Brazilian will enter the cage against Sonnen on a 12-fight winning streak.
“I’ve stuck my finger in this guy’s chest for four years, and he fought everybody in the world that wasn’t named Chael Sonnen,” Sonnen said. “He’s got what I want. He’s got 12 pounds of gold, and I want it.”
Silva’s latest effort, a unanimous decision victory over Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia, was all but universally panned. He spent much of the early parts of the bout taunting Maia and grew more and more disengaged as the fight progressed. UFC President Dana White threatened to cut Silva if he repeated the performance in subsequent appearances inside the Octagon.
“This is a one-sided dance,” Sonnen said. “I saved Anderson’s job. Uncle Dana was going to give him his walking papers, and I begged him, ‘Keep him around. Keep him around for one more fight. I will retire this guy.’”