by Geno Mrosko
-- What's this? Is Chael Sonnen being... nice? Parish the thought. That's the case, though, in a recent interview with Heavy.com, where the former Realtor has nothing but glowing praise for Brian Stann, his upcoming opponent at the UFC 136 event on Oct. 8 in Houston, Texas. In fact, he's almost too complimentary, going out of his way to call him an "awesome guy" and "really good." This may or may not be bad news for the UFC, who have grown rather fond of the money Sonnen makes when his motormouth is in full effect. He does go on to say that he wouldn't count on toning down the trash talk completely, so maybe another heel turn is on the horizon. If it's not, though, will the Zuffa marketing department have a tough time selling this fight to the mixed martial arts fanbase that has grown to depend on Sonnen's shenanigans? Or is a veritable number one middleweight contender bout between two elite fighters enough to shell out $50 for? Opinions, please.
"I wasn't ready for a Brian Stann style fight; I was ready to take on a Wanderlei or a Machida or something like that. I'll need to sit down and reevaluate and up the intensity, that's for sure. He's doing such a good job. Rewind to his match with Chris Leben. I really would have lost whatever they would let me bet; I would have lost it all. I thought Leben would beat him. I think Stann's an awesome guy. I didn't think he could get by Leben. Nobody has dominated Chris Leben like that - ever - in his entire career. That was kind of like an 'Oh Wow' moment when I saw that in my living room. That was a special performance. Then they gave him a really easy fight after that, and he went out and did some more great things. Even an easy fight, you've still got to go do the fight, and he did. He's really good."