Chael Sonnen has had a less than flawless career in MMA, dropping four straight title bids in the UFC and WEC. Still, he’s remained one of the most highly sought after and highest paid athletes in the sport. Why is that? Sonnen attributes it to a simple philosophy: you can’t win every fight, but you can at least make those fights worth watching.
“It’s a two-man sport and you don’t know who is going to win. We can’t control who is going to win. You can only control how you compete,” Sonnen said in a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com.
“As an athlete, you’ll never feel bad about losing, but what you will feel bad about is underperforming,” he continued. “That’s a real thing and it happens a lot when we don’t live up to our potential. And that keeps you up at night and can give you years and years of regret.”
“It could be a relationship, it could be a homework assignment, or it could be an athletic competition. If you don’t go out and perform to the best of your ability, it will really bother you.”
“But the wins and losses, one guy is going to get his hand raised. That’s fine,” he concluded. “But a lot of times we’ll worry about the outcome and spend so much time thinking, ‘I have to win, I have to win,’ that we don’t perform.”
Sonnen last defeated former UFC and Pride champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, submitting the Brazilian fighter in the first round. He is currently set to face Rashad “Suga” Evans next at UFC 167, the promotion’s 20th anniversary show. The event will take place on November 16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.