Sonnen has never been one to hold back his thoughts on MMA fighters and the latest headlines around the sport. He’s transitioned nicely from a decorated fighting career to a career in the booth, hosting multiple ESPN shows and his own podcast.
Sonnen, like Lesnar, knows a thing or two about promotion. Lesnar is one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling and has played the role of a heel well in both the WWE and the UFC.
But aside from his marketing skills, Sonnen doesn’t think that Lesnar amounted to much inside the Octagon. During a recent segment on his Beyond the Fight YouTube show, Sonnen said Lesnar’s success in the UFC was mostly due to his sheer size and physical gifts.
“Nobody else talks about it,” Sonnen said. “I bring it up to try to prove a point. When you have Francis Ngannou who’s 260 pounds of steel and you put him in with Stipe Miocic who’s 230 pounds, there are 30 pounds the right way disadvantage to Stipe. Brock Lesnar does not enjoy my company. I’ve been around Brock and he’s been a gentleman. But I can tell he’d rather be anywhere else but me.
“But one point that I make about Brock, it’s not meant to (slight) him. Brock was not a very good wrestler. That’s true. Brock never had Olympic aspirations. Brock was 265 pounds of steel. In the NCAA finals, he took on someone who weighed 220 pounds. There is a 45-pound weight discrepancy. It’s a fair point by me and it irritates Brock. But I’m right. I am right when I say it about Francis.”
Chael Sonnen, Brock Lesnar Are Both Former NCAA Wrestling Stars
Lesnar exceeded the expectations of many fans when he earned the UFC’s heavyweight title upon signing with the promotion. In what was seen as a sideshow originally, Lesnar developed into one of the biggest stars in the UFC in the late 2000s.
Sonnen and Lesnar were both standout wrestling during their times in the UFC, and going all the way back to their times competing on the NCAA level. Lesnar earned the 2000 NCAA heavyweight wrestling title at Minnesota, while Sonnen enjoyed moderate success in the Pac-10 conference at Oregon.
Lesnar and Sonnen are both retired from MMA, despite rumors that Lesnar was interested in a potential return to compete for the UFC heavyweight title. Sonnen left the fight game after his loss to Lyoto Machida at Bellator 222 in 2019.
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen?