COMMENTARY | In anticipation of his UFC Fight Night 26 showdown on Aug. 17 with Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua, Ultimate Fighting Championship contender and boisterous personality Chael Sonnen has gone somewhere entirely new with his trash talk -- Stratford-upon-Avon.
In a recent entry on his pre-fight Fox Sports blog, Sonnen pays tribute to William Shakespeare with his own reinterpretation of the renowned writer's Sonnet 18.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Sonnen wrote. "Well, yeah, if that summer's day includes me kickin' the crap outta you."
Sonnen (27-13-1, seven KO/TKOs) has posted regular poetic entries since July 31 (read the others here), targeting Rua (21-7-0, 18 KO/TKOs) and their upcoming fight in Boston. The posts have alluded to historic fights and have included topics ranging from "haters" to having Jesus' support to attacking Shogun's fighting style, fashion sense, and "attempts to protect Wanderlei Silva from fighting him."
On Aug. 9, Sonnen concluded his entry with the following:
"You can't deny history; we know it's true
Like Coleman stomped Wandy with his Rasslin' shoes
And your Muay-Thai crow-hop ain't gonna save you
If I catch ya in the kitchen, I'll dump you in the stew.
"So if you can count to seven, you got a week to go
But here's a piece of good advice, bro
Be careful what you do, and where you go
If you see me pre-fight, stupid, just lay low."
"The American Gangster" is a well-documented master of selling fights and getting under his opponents' skin. But when he meets Rua on Aug. 17, he'll need more than verbal jabs to stop the Brazilian.
Shogun is coming off a decision loss to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5 and to get back on track, he'll look to his superior striking and calm, focused demeanor to push through Sonnen's mental games. Between PRIDE and the UFC, Rua has fought some of the sport's elite, and, most important, he possesses a resume entry that continues to evade Sonnen: a UFC championship.
On the other side of the cage, Sonnen is likely to use his wrestling to control Rua and neutralize his Muay Thai. The Oregonian's aggressive style nearly earned him the middleweight title at UFC 117 and his fearless approach makes him very dangerous before and during the fight. He's coming off back-to-back losses to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva in his last two outings and is clearly doing his best to promote the bout and draw viewers to the debut of Fox Sports 1.
Between the build-up and potential action inside the Octagon, both men will look to christen the new channel in style.
For Sonnen's part, evoking Shakespeare also raises the bar on pre-fight hype and trash talk.
But will the mental tactics work against Rua? Work or not, they are certainly entertaining.
"Six more days 'til I split ya lip," Sonnen wrote on Aug. 11.
"Six more days 'til I sink ya ship
Six more days 'til my Kung Fu grip
Hands you your UFC pink slip."
Paul Putignano lives in Southern California, where he has covered mixed martial arts and a wide array of sports across the Greater Los Angeles area. His work has been published in a variety of newspapers and online publications.
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Chael Sonnen
- William Shakespeare