Chael Sonnen Comes To Defense Of UFC Champ Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya

Chael Sonnen is very outspoken when it comes to MMA and other matters. But he finds it very difficult to listen to critics call UFC champion Israel Adesanya a steroid user.

Sonnen was a guest on Submission Radio recently and discussed Adesanya, a potential fight with Jon Jones and more. 

On Israel Adesanya’s pec controversy and people jumping the gun by calling him a steroid user and cheater

“Oh, of course. That’s not how it works. You don’t look at a guy and do an eye test. That’s never been the standard. He’s passing the scientific test of USADA, but somehow you saw something? I mean, come on. It’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t warrant it with a response. But I am with you, I appreciated his transparency. It sounds like a medical issue. He certainly did not owe us an explanation on that, but I definitely took him at his word. He talked about, ‘its sore,’ and he noticed it himself and he’s getting MRI’s done. I mean, if he wants to update us, great. But if he doesn’t, man, that’s his personal info.”

How quickly Khamzat Chimaev can work his way up to a title shot

“Chimaev will be fighting for a championship in one of the two weight classes by this time next year. That’s a prediction there based on nothing, but I think he’s more likely to do it at middleweight. Not to mention, Chimaev called for the fight. I mean, the only thing you have to do to fight Adesanya, is get Adesanya’s interest. Adesanya doesn’t give a damn about the rankings, and Dana respects Adesanya enough that he’ll listen and try to do what he wants. I bring that to you because the Yoel Romero fight made no kind of sense. And Adesanya said to Dana, he goes, ‘look, I want to fight that guy. That’s why I got in this business, is to fight guys I don’t like. I don’t like him. You’re telling me you can’t have him? That means you’re punishing me for my success. That’s not fair’. And Dana goes, you know what, I’ve never heard that argument before, but you’re right, you got the fight. I bring that to your attention because if we want to talk about Chimaev and Adesanya, all you have to do is make Adesanya interested. If he’s interested, win or lose, man, this guy calls for some fights that even the oddsmakers don’t think he’s gonna win. He’ll walk out there and do it, but you gotta get his interest.”

On Adesanya wanting another fight in 2020, and with all the top middleweights booked, who he could even possibly fight

“You want to know the top two guys right now? Chris Weidman and Chimaev. Now, it’s for the reasons that you just laid out. The calendar’s booked. The top guys, the most likely suspects, they all got dance partners. And I do take Adesanya at his word. He’s not one of these guys that says ‘I want to go and do’, he’s a legit badass. If Adesanya tells you something, no matter how crazy the idea might sound, he’s not joking. So, you’ve got Chimaev who says he wants to fight. You’ve got Chris Weidman that says he wants to fight. I mean, look, if it’s like a job interview, if no one else shows up, it’s your job. So, in this case, there’s two guys that showed up. It sounds like Chimaev and Weidman are gonna have to battle this back and forth, or Adesanya isn’t going to get his way and he’s gonna have to wait until 2021. So, within the parameters that you gave me, on if he’s gonna fight this year and it can’t be X,Y,Z because they can’t be lined up, you’re down to Chimaev and Weidman, just by a show of hands.”

On Jon Jones being the A-side in the fight but Adesanya beating him if they fought tomorrow

“Jon Jones would be the A-Side, because if they fought tomorrow, that means they would weigh whatever they weigh and Jon would have a little bit of size on him. On the other hand, Adesanya would be in shape because he just came out of a fight. Adesanya’s going to beat him either way. Adesanya’s a better fighter than Jon Jones. He’s more crafty, he’s more tactical, he’s faster, he’s equally as long. Adesanya beats Jon Jones. The question is, how hard would he have to work? If it’s a full training camp and everything is even and they weigh close to the same, okay, great, he’s probably not going to have to go the full five rounds. If you threw him in there tomorrow, it might be a longer fight. Adesanya still beats him.”

What Conor McGregor is aiming for with the Charity fight with Dustin Poirier and his feud with Dana white

“I gotta tell you, there is something that we’re all missing here, and I don’t know what it is. And I’ve spent a meaningful period of time, even calling friends in the office, you know, asking Dana directly on this, I am trying to get to the bottom of it too, but there is definitely something that we don’t know. Conor says that he wants to fight. I take him at his word. Dana would love for Conor to fight. We all understand that. Conormania is a very real thing. For some reason, they’re not coming together. And we’ve heard all the nasty rumours and the legal issues and that it was just a big PR mess. It looks like he outran all of that. Whether it looks like it’s true or not, it looks like those days are behind us now. So, I don’t think it’s that. Ariel Helwani thinks it’s very clear that Dana just wants to stall this until he can get a live gate because Conor does so well at the gate. I think that that is a very simplistic notion. I think that Ariel is wrong. But I don’t think Ariel is wrong for bringing it up, because there’s obviously something here that we are not figuring out yet. As far as this fight with Pacquiao, he’s not boxing Pacquiao. But as far as Poirier, we’ve been told by the UFC that that is officially faxed over and that offer is there. We’ll see what Conor says. By the way, I don’t know that I want him to take the fight. I mean, I do want to see Conor. If those were my choices – I see Conor, I don’t see Conor, I’d rather see Conor. I just think there’s more interesting things out there. I mean, what are we doing with Nick Diaz by example? If Conor is looking to contend and come back for a championship, okay great. But the only one that’s saying that is Dana White. I’ve never heard Conor say that he wants to do that. I’ve never seen Khabib showing interest in doing Conor again. So, if we’re only having Conor at rare times and they’re just for fun, spectacles, let’s make it the funnest spectacle we can.”

How Nick Diaz/Conor McGregor goes

“Okay, so Nick’s been gone for a while. I mean, that’s one of the things. Nick has been gone for a period of time. So, I think that we’d have to get some kind of exposure in there to Nick. I think that we can also trust that Nick is durable. He can hold up, and he can box himself. So, maybe Conor couldn’t just go to straight striking against Nick and put him away and put him down, and Nick can hold up all night long. You know, Conor doesn’t have very many weaknesses. The guy doesn’t have much kryptonite out there. But he’s stated by his own admittance that at times he gets tired. So, I think you could make a compelling argument and go do that match. But the build-up and the staredowns and all that other stuff, it just makes for a fun spectacle. If that’s what we’re doing here, let’s quit lying about it, let’s quit lying about ‘we’re building contenders’. Unless we are. If Conor comes out and changes his [mind]. Great, then he changes. But I haven’t heard him do that. I mean, he wanted to box this day and go 155 [pounds] this day and go 170 [pounds] the – it looks like he’s just having some fun. I’m all for it. I like to have fun. But let’s make it fun. I don’t get what’s fun about Poirier. They’ve already fought. Why are we here? What’s the point of this?”

If getting into a public feud with Dana White is a bad idea for Conor

“Look, nothing good is going to come from it. Okay, so yeah, the house always wins, alright. You’re dealing with the boss in Las Vegas, the house always wins. And getting into one of these pissing matches, I’ve just never seen a guy win it. I’ve seen a number of guys do it, and for whatever reason they get a little comfortable with Dana. Dana’s the boss. And over a period of time, he’s such a nice guy, you might think that you’re friends. But when you get a little too comfortable and you think you’re gonna come and talk back, that’s not the way that it works. You don’t walk in the boss’ office and flip the desk over. At least you don’t do it twice. Now, I think that Conor could work through this. I know that Dana is willing to work through this. Dana has to put up with headaches every single day that I would not put up with if I was in Dana’s spot. But he does. He’s willing to. So, these guys will work it out. But Conor is not gonna do any better because of it. For Conor to be able to go and box Pacquiao, just by example, Dana White has to sign off on that. Dana White helped Conor to fight Floyd. If it was not for Dana White saying yes, I’ll amend your contract and allow you to do this, Conor doesn’t have a hundred million dollars right now. Just in all fairness Conor, owes Dana. If Conor doesn’t see it that way, he’s gonna see it that way eventually. And you can ask Dana to honour your contract, but he’s gonna do that for everybody. Or you can have Dana do you a favour. And I will tell you from personal experience, you’re much better off, take the favour over the money. If he wants to go fight Pacquiao and now he thinks he can call Dana and go, ‘hey, would you do me a solid?’ What do you think that answer is gonna be? No.”

On GSP vs. Khabib being bigger than Khabib vs. McGregor 2

“I don’t think that GSP is very likely. I want it to be. That’s a dream fight for all of us, myself included. And I think Conor would do it. You can say about Conor McGregor. If you say he’s a coward, that’s just simply not true. Conor will fight anybody. You could pick the weight class, you could even pick the sport and the rules. That guy will make that walk. For better or worse, but he’ll show up. I have to tell you though, at the time Dana was saying, ‘hey, we’re gonna do this again, we’re gonna do it again’, there was a lot more buzz and excitement around it. And I know that they could build that back up, but I know the reason why Dana was hanging his hat on that was because it’s just such a big and massive fight. It’s not a bigger fight than Georges St. Pierre versus Khabib. There’s no fight that is. St. Pierre versus Khabib, biggest fight you can make in MMA.”

Khabib/Gaethje Prediction

“I would predict that Khabib is going to win, but I would not debunk anything that you just said. And it is an interesting match. Look, Khabib wins every fight the same. He throws you down and bludgeons you. But Justin Gaethje has never been held down and bludgeoned, that’s one of the problems. And Justin Gaethje also knows how to scramble and get back up to his feet. These guys that Khabib has held down are not wrestlers, they’re Jiu Jitsu guys. They’re not trained to turn around, hand fight, stand up and get away. And I don’t know that Gaethje has been refining those skills over the years. I could tell you, Justin Gaethje in collage would not get taken down and held down by Khabib. Justin Gaethje now, if he’s gotten away from his wrestling, I don’t know really know what that training looks like. know that he’s working out every day with Kamaru Usman, who’s a fantastic wrestler and I would trust that that’s gonna help him, but positionally it is very interesting. And I also don’t buy into the theory that Khabib has to take you down. I’m suggesting for you a historical fact that Khabib does take you down to beat you up. I don’t suggest that he has to. He’s ended up on his feet a couple times. He struggled to get Conor McGregor down and then dropped Conor McGregor. Which is something Floyd Mayweather couldn’t do. Khabib could not get Al Iaquinta down, and it turned out into a straight up boxing contest and he out-struck Al Iaquinta. So, Khabib has a couple of options. This isn’t just a grappler versus striker, but I think he’s gonna have a hard time taking Gaethje down.”

On what to do with Covington/Masvidal next

“It’s really tough. Like, you and I sit around as fans and we just throw out what the biggest match is. It doesn’t work that way. I think we discovered that when we were breaking down middleweight a moment ago. But you have to look at, who’s available? Who is isn’t lined up? I mean, as much as Masvidal thought he was gonna get a rematch with Usman, Usman is lined up to fight Burns. And oh by the way, they haven’t even announced the date of that fight. I thought that fight was like coming right up. Then I found out it might be in December. And then I heard from Kamaru himself, they’re looking at February of next year. So, I don’t think that Masvidal wants to sit out, cause that would put him out till summer of next year. He’s not gonna do that. Colby’s certainly not gonna wait around. So, if you’re looking at the pieces of the puzzle that you have, somebody’s gonna have to jump on the Leon Edwards grenade. Maybe Wonderboy already stepped up. And then the other problem that these guys have, I mean, Colby is a top contender any way you want to do it. Masvidal is a champion right now. People don’t like to admit it, but I watched them put a belt around his waist that nobody’s taken from him. You’ve got the top guys right now, but if you’re not careful, if you’re not watching yourself and guarding your house at all times, Chimaev is gonna leapfrog over both of you. So, any time when we start talking about who’s here right now, what’s that got to do with six months from now, man? Somebody is always up in the morning running, getting their miles in and planning their own career. I only suggest that to you because if these boys want to fight, then get on with it. But the window’s short. Your career is short. Get the fights you can get while you can get them, and then get out.”

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