The next challenger to Anderson Silva’s middleweight strap, Chael Sonnen dropped his guard in an interview on Brazil’s Sportv network, pointing out the five Brazilian fighter’s he admires most . Even a Jiu-Jitsu champion with no history in the UFC.
Duly ignoring the opponent for his June outing, the American fan of Palmeiras soccer club picked three Jiu-Jitsu black belts, one heavy-fisted boxer and a pioneer of cross-training with a luta livre, judo, Thai boxing and capoeira background.
Chael Sonnen wanted to pick José Aldo as a sixth name, but his list didn’t sound half bad as it was. He stuck with Royce Gracie, Junior Cigano Vitor Belfort, Junior Cigano and Marco Ruas. The fifth name came out of left field, for having been exclusively from Gi Jiu-Jitsu history: gold-medal collector Saulo Ribeiro, a Jiu-Jitsu teacher from the Brazilian state of Amazonas now living in San Diego , who holds a winning record since the very first IBJJF World Champion.
SONNEN’S FAVORITE, EVEN WITHOUT MMA BACKGROUND
Check out what Sonnen had to say about each fighter, and check out an efficient self-defense from Saulo Ribeiro. The trick is to pay attention to the opponent’s shoulder, not their arms, and swap positions with the aggressor.
Royce Gracie: “He’s the greatest of all. I saw his fights, and I was blown away by the size of the guys he’d beat. He was much smaller. A hero!”
Marco Ruas: “What can I say about him? To me Ruas is the guy who changed our sport.”
Junior “Cigano” dos Santos: “This guy has been surprising everyone for some time now. He’s strong, and I like the way he fights. I also want to pick José Aldo, who’s excellent, but I’ll stick with Cigano.”
Vitor Belfort: “He’s an intense fighter. He’s one of my favorites, and my mom’s favorite. I like watching Vitor fight. He’s fantastic, came on the scene really young. And I consider him to be a good person.”
Saulo Ribeiro: “He wasn’t in MMA, but he was fantastic in Jiu-Jitsu. He deserves all the medals he won in the sport.”