Chael Sonnen has a piece of advice for Henry Cejudo, who rematches dominating flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson at UFC 227 on August 4. Sonnen feels that, if Cejudo hopes to build interest in this flyweight title rematch, he needs to cast himself as the villain in the story.
“He just wouldn’t come out of his shell,” Sonnen said of Cejudo’s typical attitude. “He just simply wouldn’t do it. He just wanted to be the good and likeable guy, no matter how many times we try to grab him by the collar and say ‘Henry, that spot’s taken — the good guy is taken by Demetrious — but there’s another seat in the car.'”
While Sonnen feels Cejudo is typically focused on being the good guy, he feels that it was the flyweight challenger’s brief bit of Twitter trash talk that actually earned him his rematch with the flyweight champ.
“He came out of his shell this much [gestures] in a few Tweets on social media guess what? He got the fight,” Sonnen said.
Unfortunately, Sonnen doesn’t expect Cejudo to fill the bad guy role on a long-term basis.
“I worry as a fan that that was his goal, and his only goal: to get the fight,” Sonnen said. “I worry as a fan that he’s not going to do his part to bring attention to this. That’s irresponsible of him. He will think it’s sportsmanlike of him, he will see it as sportsmanship. That’s also why he’s broke. He just refuses to see what we’re doing here. This is a world title fight, which is a big deal. This is a rematch which historically speaking, is big business — and it’s the co-main, which is the industry’s way of saying ‘we know you can’t do your part.’ That’s not on Demetrious. A little bit of it is. Demetrious is involved in this too, but he’s the champion. He’s the one that gets to be himself. He’s the one that gets to be in that spot because he’s got 12 pounds of gold wrapped around his waist. He’s the guy who gets that opportunity, because he’s the number-one ranked fighter in the world. It’s incumbent on the challenger, and in this case, it’s Cejudo.”
“I liked when he came out of his shell, it got him a title shot,” Sonnen continued. “I don’t know if he’s got the intellect and the awareness enough of his surroundings to realize to pursue this.”
“I have a feeling the next time we see Cejudo, he’s going to have boyish smile on his face, he’s going to be wrapped up in the American and the Mexican flags, and he’s going to want to talk about the good old days at home with his mom. In the history of fighting, a smile, a couple of flags and a Mom have never sold a fist fight on a Saturday night.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way.”
What do you think of Chael Sonnen’s advice for Henry Cejudo?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/20/2018.