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UFC fighters barbs shots rather than blows at Chicago news conference

01/26/2012 07:01 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT
CHICAGO - Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen brought his own championship belt to the news conference Thursday, proclaiming himself the "reflection of perfection"

"How you going to deal with the man of steel," a poetic Sonnen asked England's Michael (The Count) Bisping, his opponent in the co-main event of the UFC on Fox card Saturday night at the United Centre.

"And how will you react to Sonnen's attack?"

Earlier, former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans rubbished the wrestling skills of main event opponent Phil (Mr. Wonderful) Davis.

"Your technique is trash," he said of the four-time NCAA all-American.

Said Davis: "He'll never beat me in wrestling — not thumb-wrestling not anything of the sort."

Evans (21-1-1) also suggested an injured Davis (9-0) had been happy to avoid meeting him in Philadelphia last August. That prompted Davis to suggest the Illinois commission test Evans for drugs.

Saturday's mixed martial arts card may be hard-pressed to live up to the entertainment value of Thursday's news conference. UFC president Dana White was an amused ringmaster as the fighters put on a show at the podium.

A win by Evans sets up a 205-pound showdown with champion Jon (Bones) Jones. White said Davis could also get a title shot if he wins, depending on his performance.

The tone of the news conference started promisingly enough with Evans denying he had anything personal against Davis other than he had to fight him.

"It's like personal but not really personal personal, you know what I mean?" said a laughing Evans.

But the former champ couldn't resist putting down Davis's striking skills, saying "Phil couldn't bust a grape."

And the barbs kept coming.

"Phil looking like Arsenio Hall and John Salley had a baby," he added to laughter.

"He practised that (line). Give him a hand," said an amused Davis.

The Sonnen-Bisping winner is slated to fight champion Anderson Silva this summer, likely in Brazil. Sonnen dominated Silva for four rounds when they met at UFC 117 in August 2010 before falling victim to a triangle coke in the fifth.

Sonnen (27-11-1) has dismissed talk of a rematch, saying Silva will never fight him again.

White dismissed that theory.

"Chael's nuts, OK. He says all kinds of crazy things (like). ... He will fight Anderson Silva if he wins."

Sonnen didn't seem fazed behind his championship belt.

"I think you can get them on Ebay for about $29.99," Bisping (23-3) said of the shiny prop.

"I don't know where that came from," said a laughing White.

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