Chael Sonnen has empathised with Dustin Poirier after UFC president Dana White appeared to dismiss his chances against Conor McGregor in a recent interview. Sonnen says he has been in Poirer’s position in the past. Former UFC lightweight champion Poirier will square up against McGregor at UFC 257 on January 23. It will be McGregor’s first fight since his win over Donald Cerrone in January 2020.
In the latest episode of his Beyond The Fight YouTube show, Sonnen said with White matching up the Irish superstar and other fighters even before UFC 257, Poirer is bound to feel disrespected.
''When Dana is saying the perfect scenario is when Conor fights two or three times and one of them is for a title, when Conor is about to fight Poirer. If you’re Poirier you’ll say ‘’wait a minute, ‘I’ve got business with this guy and you’re making other plans? What about me?''
Sonnen, a former UFC star, recounted his experience of being looked down on in his own career, first in 2009.
''I had a fight with Nate Marquardt. It was a big moment for me. I had never been in that position. I cracked TV but now you’re in one of the feature matches. And they made it clear – whoever wins this fight is fighting Anderson for the belt. Nate was two and a half to one favorite. Nate had already fought Anderson and already worked his way back to what they were saying about him. I had just come over from the WEC. It wasn’t the same but we were being told that this was the semi-final match until I won. They showed me some respect but they didn’t give it to me''
Sonnen recalled how he found himself in a similar situation in 2013.
I was getting ready to fight Vitor (Belfort). Contract was signed. I remember Dana came and said: ‘If Vitor wins, Vitor will fight Henderson for the title. If Chael wins, which we don’t think is going to happen, we’re going to give ourselves some room because we’re not gonna give him a title shot.''
Chael Sonnen thinks UFC 257 can go either way
Speaking about the McGregor Vs Poirer fight, Sonnen believes it's not a forgone conclusion The Notorious One would win. While he thinks it's never a good idea for Dana to start 'marking out a calendar' when being interviewed, Sonnen admitted that McGregor is always an exciting fighter to watch.
''I think we should have used Conor when we can use Conor. Connor is fun, Conor has a different commodity. Every athlete has a commodity, it's performance. Conor is an entertainer, Conor is interesting.''
Published 13 Jan 2021, 04:59 IST