Whether you like him or hate him, when Chael Sonnen talks you usually listen. He is the most fascinating fighter in the world today, due to having no restraints when he speaks and being highly intelligent. Unlike Tito Ortiz, he is the true definition of being the people’s champion. The man is adored by a large group of MMA fans. Some people may not be fond of how he talked his way into a title shot with Jon Jones, but that is the past. Now this is the present, where he has been offered with major fights from multiple fighters.
There is a target on Sonnen’s back and he embraces the attention. When Wanderlei Silva talks about “sucking his blood”, he chuckles and wants to punch him the face. If Vitor Belfort finally decides to stop changing his mind every week, he is willing to fight him. Even Lyoto Machida decided to get on the frenzy of wanting to fight Sonnen. He has become a huge commodity, especially after his dominant submission victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Everyone got to see first hand how wrestling and ground control could win a fight. Even though Shogun managed to get back up, it was clear that he was no match for Sonnen when it came to grappling. It always impresses me when you know what a fighter is going to do and he manages to do it within five minutes. Sonnen makes it clear that he’s going to take his opponent down and out-work him for a decision or submission victory.
He did just that last Saturday and has re-boosted his stock, after two straight knockout defeats. Here is the breakdown of the opponents he could face in his next fight and who he should face next.
This fight has been discussed for a few years now with so much bad blood between them. Sonnen talks about how he needs to finally face him, while Silva is sick of his big mouth. It’s the perfect storm to set up a major fight for the future. They are both coming off wins and are relatively settled as fighters who won’t challenge for a title, but can get many fans excited for any fight they’re involved in.
The animosity between both fighters will automatically make this fight exciting. I can’t see how this fight will be boring in any way possible, even if Sonnen takes him to the ground. There is no doubt in my mind that he would even attempt to try to “lay and pray”. He’ll go for the finish when there is an opening to continue his streak of defeating Brazilian legends. I’d like to meet an MMA fan that wouldn’t want to see this fight.
Belfort is another logical choice to face Sonnen in the near future. The issue is that he always tends to change his mind and his mood has been unpredictable. He’s turned out fights against Gegard Mousasi and Tim Kennedy, which seem very uncharacteristic of Belfort. He always seems humble and willing to fight whomever they decide to put against him.
Similar to the Silva fight, this fight will have plenty of animosity and full of action. You won’t see any stalling, especially from Belfort who seems to be a new fighter taking TRT. Out of the three fighters I’ll mention, he is the biggest threat to Sonnen. He has the best cardio out of the three, along with knockout power in his punches and kicks. It’ll be the ultimate test for Sonnen in trying to out work his opponent, since Belfort has been coming into fights in tremendous shape.
It would be highly unlikely people would actually want to see this fight. Machida’s stock has tremendously dropped, due to his last two fights being very underwhelming. While his style is smart and his counter striking is world class, not many people are clamoring to see Machida fight a wrestler. They matched him up with Phil Davis and the fight wasn’t anything memorable, besides the ridiculous judging.
It was very odd to see Machida ask for Sonnen because it came literally out of nowhere. I’m sure he’s looking for big fights, but the matchup brings nothing appealing. Hopefully he can fight someone like Belfort, who can bring out the killer instinct that Machida has been lacking in recent fights. Another wrestler going up against Machida could be another fight that leaves fans sitting on their hands. They need to have him face another striker so they can limit Machida’s movement and make him strike more often.
Phil Davis tweeted that he would be interested in fighting Sonnen, but he isn’t going to be considered. I’d like to see him face Silva the most out of the the list because it seems long overdue and Belfort has other fights waiting for him. It’s expected that he’ll fight Dan Henderson in November, which would be an incredible fight.
Everything is pointing towards Sonnen and Silva in the ultimate grudge match. It will bring the best out of two fighters, where Sonnen will try to take him to the ground while Silva would want to keep it standing up. It’s the perfect clash of styles and personalities, who can finally settle their difference. Will we see Sonnen knocked out in devastating fashion or will Silva be worn down and forced to submit?
Regardless of how popular a fighter is, wins still matter. If Sonnen was on a three fight-losing streak, I’m not sure if many people would favor him in any future fights. Thankfully he manhandled Shogun, which makes his next fight much bigger and it gives fans hope that he can go on a winning streak. They’ll believe that Sonnen can avoid being knocked out by Silva and can finish him on the ground. His performance on Saturday could be considered a career saver because now people believe that Sonnen can still fight at a high level and not just be a commodity. The next few months should be fun leading up to his next fight, which should be against Wanderlei Silva.
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