Chael Sonnen praises Fedor Emelianenko after Bellator 208: I’ve never ‘been ground-and-pounded like that’

Chael Sonnen, Fedor Emelianenko

On Saturday night, in the main event of Bellator 208, former UFC light heavyweight and middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen came up short to heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko. Although Sonnen had some success in this short but thrilling fight, landing a handful of takedowns, he had no answer for Emelianenko’s legendary power and ground and pound.

“I would call him explosive,” Sonnen told the media of Emelianenko’s skill (via MMA Fighting). “With his punches, there wasn’t a ton of set-ups, they just came and they came hard. Even on the ground, I had some good positions on him and he would just explode. It weren’t exactly technique-based. It was impressive. He’s an impressive athlete.”

Fedor Emelianenko forced the stoppage with a cage-rattling volley of ground strikes. Chael Sonnen says he has never felt anything like those ground strikes in all his days as a fighter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been ground-and-pounded like that,” Sonnen said. “I thought there was opportunity there. I was covering up and I thought that he was slowing down. The referee warned me — he said, ‘If you don’t move I am going to stop this.’ But I didn’t think he would because they were gong into my hands. I thought I was blocking them. I thought I was having a rope-a-dope moment. I thought I was luring him in. That was a bad strategy it turns out. That was a bad plan.”

With this loss to Fedor Emelianenko, Chael Sonnen has now been eliminated from the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. While he’s not ruling out future fights at heavyweight, he feels he’s far better suited for the light heavyweight division.

“We’ll see what happens,” said Sonnen. “If they want to do a losers ball and play this thing all the way out to third [place] then maybe we do that. But I don’t know. That’s up to [Bellator president] Scott Coker. If you ask me what weight class I’d rather be in, I’d say 205 is more appropriate.”

What do you think the future holds for Chael Sonnen after Bellator 208?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/14/2018.