Love him or hate him, Chael Sonnen is the top UFC middleweight contender. During a recent podcast on the ‘Joe Rogan Experience,’ Sonnen let out his secret to success that helped him turn a corner. Just as many other fighters such as former champ, Rashad Evans have admitted, Sonnen says that he has seen a sports psychologist to help him overcome his psychological battles in the cage.
“For me, I had a fight with Yushin Okami who was ranked number two in the world and I was one of those guys that was kind of looked at in the top 10. That was right before I fought Nate Marquardt and it gave me a lot of confidence, but here is what happened Joe.
I have never lost a round of fighting, and when I say that, sometimes a guy will laugh because I have lost fights. But, I’ve never lost a round. I’ve never had a fight where a judge ever scored a round against me until my last match with Bisping.
I’m looking at my record. I’ve won every round I have ever fought. I’ve never been in a tough fight. I’ve never had stitches, I’ve never broken anything, I have dominated everybody and I’ve lost eight fights, and I’ve lost all of them by submission and I’ve lost all of them in the second round. And I’m staring at that on the computer and I’m staring at these numbers like a CEO would his spreadsheet. And I’m saying, ‘There is something going on here and it’s not physical. There is something going on that I can dominate eight minutes of a fight, seven minutes of a fight, nine minutes of a fight and find a way out time after time after time in the same round with the same move.’
So, I went and got help. I went and got professional help and I sought out a doctor, Ed Versteeg. I hate talking about this because this was a real secret. This was a real turning point for me was when I went in, worked on sports psychology and got hypnotized.
I was never the same. I was never the same in practice, my attitude was different. Controlling my diet, being discipline, falling asleep, the way I approached battle, the way I approached the second round. Everything changed, and it changed to the point where, I hate to say what I just said and now it’s too late because I felt like it was my secret.
I discovered something and I don’t want other people to know. I will write about it someday in a book, I will talk about it you know, when I’m retired , but I’m not going to tell anybody because it’s competitive edge.
So when I started seeing a sports psychologist and I finally came clean, it’s like being an alcoholic, before you can get help, you have to admit you have a problem. When I finally admitted I got a problem, when I finally said, it, when I finally could acknowledge it and look somebody in the eye and tell them this is what’s going on, I’m finding a way to lose as opposed to win. I work harder than these guys. I been at this longer, I know how to stop submissions, I’m finding my way into them, I’m finding a way out and that’s what’s happening.
I had to acknowledge that and once I did it, I never lost again. I lost to Paulo which was the controversial one and then I lost to Anderson after dominating him, I’ve never been beat since I saw this doctor.”
Source: Joe Rogan Podcast