Monday, October 3, 2022

Sonnen Slams Those Criticizing RDA’s Championship Revelation

Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has backed Rafael dos Anjos after the Brazilian conceded that his search for another championship is over.

Returning from a lengthy layoff this past March, dos Anjos made it back-to-back wins for the first time since 2017, dominating late-notice replacement Renato Moicano in the UFC 272 co-main event.

While it appeared that “RDA” was in pursuit of a second reign at 155 pounds, that came to a crashing halt at UFC Vegas 58, where the veteran was knocked out by rising contender Rafael Fiziev in the headliner.

Over a month on from that setback, dos Anjos came to the conclusion that his time competing in the upper echelons is over and that his title ambitions have concluded. With that, the former lightweight king publicly called for matchup against a fellow veteran as his apparent new search for solely fun fights begins.

During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sonnen, who competed for UFC gold in two weight classes, discussed dos Anjos’ post and the backlash he’s since received. “The American Gangster” began by noting the game attitude that the Brazilian has had throughout his career.

“RDA is one of the fighters that I respect the most. There has not been anyone that I have ever witnessed with as hard a schedule as RDA,” Sonnen said. “You wanna talk about these pound-for-pound greats? You wanna talk about the St-Pierres and the champ-champs? What about Jon Jones and how great he is? Jon Jones took two years before going to heavyweight to adjust to the weight class… RDA goes ’55 to ’70, he’ll do it in a month.

“I have never seen a guy as willing (as dos Anjos)… He came clean. RDA comes out and says, ‘My last championship run has happened and it is over.’ He is now going to do fights that motivate,” Sonnen added. “He asks specifically for a veteran… I need to clear up what RDA is saying.”

Sonnen: “RDA Has Done Nothing Wrong”

Sonnen went on to address the fan consensus he’d seen on an MMA forum, which had many suggesting that dos Anjos shouldn’t be competing in the Octagon if he no longer boasts championship aspirations.

Dismissing that notion, the former MMA fighter-turned-analyst mentioned some notable names who fans flock to see despite their title runs likely being over, as well as the sizeable pool of athletes who will never reach the top but still “deserve” the right to throw down under the UFC banner.

“He is not removing himself from this group. There is an island that also exists,” Sonnen noted. “Nate Diaz lives on it. Conor McGregor lives on it. McGregor’s championship run is over. That’s true. Conor did not come out and tell you because he is not aware of it… RDA has done nothing wrong here, other than come to you and come clean.

“I read a thread (on a forum)… they’re giving RDA a hard time. They’re saying that he can’t be within the UFC. Excuse me, excuse me. There are many, (in the) women’s divisions and men’s divisions, whose championship runs are over; some of them never began,” Sonnen continued. “They (still) deserve the right. They earned it. All RDA has done is come and tell you.”

After adding that dos Anjos has never done anything but accept the toughest challenges sent his way by the UFC, Sonnen suggested that the 37-year-old is owed the opportunity to have this request accepted, not just by the promotion, but by the fanbase.

“Here’s the message… RDA is asking your permission to cross. He came to you openly… He is asking permission, and he’s doing it publicly,” Sonnen explained. “In all fairness, what has RDA ever asked us, the community, for? Except damn hard fights. Who hasn’t he been in there with? He’s been in there with Colby Covington. He’s been in there with Kamaru Usman. He’s been in there with Khabib.

“RDA is a thing of legend, truly… please don’t give him a hard time for this. He’s coming to you, he’s asking you, he’s talking to you. He’s just asking for a veteran, and he’s a veteran… RDA is recognizing something, probably from the practice room,” Sonnen added. “It’s the first thing he’s ever asked for. Please tell RDA, ‘Yes.'”

Interestingly, heavyweight Derrick Lewis made a similar revelation last year following his interim title fight loss to Ciryl Gane. “The Black Beast” admitted that he was targeting fun and ‘pressure-free’ matchups for the remainder of his career.

Do you agree with Chael Sonnen’s assessment?

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