Where Does Chael Sonnen Go From Here? Wanderlei Silva? Vitor Belfort? Lyoto Machida?

August 18, 2013
67 Comments

UFC-162-pool-party-Chael-Sonnen-478x270Chael Sonnen surprised many by submitting Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 on Saturday night in Boston.

Hardly anyone, however, could be counted as startled that he immediately took aim at Wanderlei Silva, calling out the former Pride FC champion following his victory.

“Wanderlei Silva, six feet tall and 205 pounds, boy, until I met you, I didn’t know they could stack crap that high,” he declared.

“Wanderlei Silva, three months, you and the bad guy.”

The funny thing is, now that Sonnen has defeated Shogun, proving that he is still a fighter to be contended with at the top of either the 205-pound or 185-pound division, everyone wants to fight him.

Vitor Belfort took to Twitter immediately after the fight and dissed on Sonnen for calling out Wanderlei.

“@sonnench don’t run from me. Why are u asking for wand? Let’s fight,” tweeted Belfort, adding, “Why u are asking for wand, u have to fight me. Lets do it @danawhite @lorenzofertitta”

A short time later, it was Lyoto Machida calling for the fight with Sonnen, while also taking a dig at Belfort.

“Since @vitorbelfort hasn’t accepted our fight, I am sure that @danawhite can match me against @sonnench,” he tweeted.

UFC president Dana White had tried to match Machida up with Belfort as the co-main event of UFC 167 in November, but he wanted the fight at middleweight, a weight where Belfort has currently declined to accept any fight outside of a title bout.

Sonnen calling out Wanderlei Silva and with Belfort and Machida both calling for a fight with Sonnen only exemplifies the options that White says Sonnen’s victory over Shogun opens up for him.

“Tonight changed a lot of things for Chael Sonnen,” said White. “He proved that he can beat one of the top guys in the top ten at 205 pounds. Does he want to stay there or does he want to go to 185?

“There are a lot of options for Chael. He can fight at 205 or he can fight at 185. The win over Shogun puts him in a great place at 205, and it puts him in a great place at 185.”

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  • Eric Pope

    love how john fitch is basically released due to his “boring ” style, and it is, but iam sure chael is one fight away (vanderlei silva) frm title shot. You would think that a guy that has made homo phobic slurs before, that his main weapon wouldn’t be dry humping. fact is people watch sonnen fights to hopefully see him ktfo, they don’t watch his fights cause their exciting

    • Supaman

      Chael has more notable finishes than Fitch but more importantly than his actual fighting style, Chael has a very marketable personality while Fitch has the personality of a rock.

      • Jay Mcgarrity

        Damnn son, that’s an insult to pet rocks everywhere. Discrimination I tell you.

      • DamianCross

        Shows the mentality. Fitch dominated his division and remained humble and respectful about it, but in our society that’s having “the personality of a rock”. Don’t get me wrong I like Chael too, but its sad that we look at a successful fighter like Fitch and all we can say is that he should’ve mouthed off more.

        • jeremy

          fitches fights are soooo boring, when he fights i go get a beer and make chip dip and pizza. when chael fights its exciting and i dont leave my seat. there not the same fighters period. and jusst because both are wrestlers doesnt mean there fight style is exactly the same. chael brings it. fitch dosnt. big diff…

      • Eric Pope

        so awesome, ufc is turning mma into wwe, marketable personality more important then marketable fighting style.lets turn this into a soap opera for tattooed men, don’t worry it wont hurt the image of the sport

  • JDMMA

    anyone BUT Machida !!!

    • Truth

      Machida will KO Chael.

      • Collideoverme

        While Machida may prove a bit harder to take down, if and when Chael does, I can promise you Machida will not wreck Sonnen. It will end much the same. Chael is a top notch fighter.

        • Milosc

          I was a little shocked last night. Sonnen is not a joke..

          • Werdoomb

            Chael has DEF improved since his old days losing to Forrest Griffin.

            Wow. This guy looked sick. His takedown is on another level.

        • Kbroesq

          I think Machida is the most dangerous fight of the three. No one has been able to keep Machida down. Even if you take him down, he gets right back up. Sonnen’s takedowns are just too predictable for Machida and Machida will be able to KO Sonnen coming in.

          I wish the fight with Belfort would happen. It’s a rare event where I would cheer for Sonnen, but I don’t think I hate any fighter more than I hate Belfort. That is the best fight, and the drama will be huge before that. Two hot heads talking trash – I wish people would call for that fight more.

          • Collideoverme

            I kind of have to agree with the fact Machida will be way harder to take down and keep down, but I don’t think Machida will KO Sonnen. Machida hasn’t KO’d anyone since Couture.
            Belfort has been ANNOYING as of late and I would love to see him get knocked off his high horse.

          • Kbroesq

            Bader??

          • Collideoverme

            Chael would dismantle Bader.

    • chickenwing

      Sonnen will probably wreck Machida.

      But if he doesn’t, I can imagine he’ll be so pissed he’ll be dissing Machida for the next 3 years

  • JDMMA

    and if Wanderlei doesnt take the fight after being called 6 foot pile of crap then he should just retire and run his gym

    • https://www.facebook.com/bestnicknameeverbros Eugenio Croitoru

      If this fight doesn’t happen, Sonnen will have made Wanderlei look like a POS.

      • Werdoomb

        Wandy is already a POS for asking his Brazilian homies to back him up.

    • BobGyro

      Wanderlei cannot beat Chael. But how good is JOnes.

      • Werdoomb

        JBJ is ridiculously good. The best MMA fighter I’ve ever seen.

    • Jay Magallon

      Damn brother you could not be more right. I’m actually a fan of both, but with Silva’s lack of urgency since the beginning of Chael calling him out, I’m starting to take a favorite here. We’ve all seen the video of Wanderlei and Chael in the same vehicle where Silva warns him to quit running his mouth about Brazilians because Chael might have to fight him next. What the hell happened to that?? All talk I guess.

      • Werdoomb

        Chael said that Wanderlei caught him off guard, mumbled to him in broken English that he couldn’t understand, added subtitles, and posted the video on youtube without letting Chael know in advance.

        Pretty much, Wandy wants none of Chael.

  • wilson742

    eric pope ur and idiot chael sonnen is a great a fighter and will fight anyone shogun turns down fights all the time u know nothing about mma shut ur mouth

    • toom

      great post haters like Eric pope are gonna hate I’m a fan of both Fitch and sonnen and it was bs that fitch was released but sonnen just beat shogun a guy a lot of.people thought before jbj was the best light heavyweight ever and now your gonna talk s*** on him. booooo

      • Eric Pope

        lol not a hater, was pointing out hypocrisy of ufc. but if you think sonnen is top lhw then why call out a guy that even his fans want him to retire. I love wanderlei but he barely makes top 15.how bout sonnen call out younger fighters that don’t have 10years of wars and training behind them. call texeira, gustaffson, lyota, phil davis or even ryan bader

    • Ian Price

      Chael threw some hard punches from guard. I really don’t think people realize, Chael can hit hard. Just because he uses boxing technique, vs going for the KO, doesn’t mean he has pillow fists. And that wasn’t a lucky submission. He’s been training with Magelhaes for a couple years now. He’s probably pulled off that submission in practice dozens of times.

      • Lucas Freire

        Well…not on Magalhaes I can assure you xP
        But you’re right, I guess having most of his losses coming from submissions have taught him something like: DEFEND/ATTACK the neck!

        • Ian Price

          I’m sure you’re right. But Vinnie probably let Chael submit him hundreds of times so he knows exactly how to do it. You know, the feel of it.

    • Mark McDowall

      While I agree with you that Shogun does turn down fights…you have to look at his resume…he’s kind of earned that right.

      Sonnen has built the latter part of his career on his mouth. He’s talked himself in to 2 of 3 title fights, lost all 3, and got badly rag dolled by Jones. Sonnen is one of those guys that will be a perennial co-main eventer. Fights against bigger/semi past it names are where he should stay. Let him help sell PPV’s and then when his contract is up let him do commentary/ufc tonight.

      He has a great anniliticle mind when it comes to fights, and impressed everyone with his coaching on TUF.

      • King_DG

        What does anniliticle mean?

        • worktorest

          He meant analytical.

        • Mark McDowall

          Sorry Captain Spell Check…F’d up thing is that didn’t show up as misspelled when I typed it…still doesn’t…

    • Eric Pope

      iam an idiot, and I know nothing about mma, lol. I never said sonnen was a bad fighter, and if you got his package out of your mouth maybe you would’ve been able to see your screen and see I didn’t write that in my comment. lastly its you are an idiot, not you are and idiot, idiot

  • Mr Pete

    No, Wand! I do not want to see my hero on his back eating elbows and punches for 15 minutes. Machida is to smooth, that leaves only Belfort, trt vs trt

    • Kbroesq

      Exactly – that’s the best fight for SO many reasons.

  • Mike mckinney

    I like shogun and silva, but I found it odd that sonnen beat shogun and then called out a “lesser opponent.”
    I know the little rivalry but stil…

    Calling out wanderlei kind of shows Chael isn’t thinking he’s near a title. To the other poster, even if sonnen fights wandy and wins, I don’t think anyone will be talking title. That’s unless its vs. Vitor. If silva gets the title back and jones keeps his, Chael won’t be looking at a title.

    • DamianCross

      100% correct. Chael’s next few fights are going to be cash grabs against Brazilian opponents. And that is not a bad thing.

    • Mark McDowall

      Totally agree with you. Of all the people he could have called out he went for the bottom of the barrel. Which at this point of his career…who cares…Chael “the brazillian killer” Sonnen could sell alot of PPV’s fighting names as opposed to going for a title shot.

  • Baller31

    Out of the three, the only one I see beating Sonnen is machida. Both Belfort and silva have trouble with strong wrestlers.

    • Familia Perez

      That is an interesting point of view. Someone must not have told Vitor that Matt Lindland was a wrestler (Superior to Chael in that regard).

      • Kbroesq

        Are you kidding me…Lindland? Just because a guy may have good credentials or is a good coach does not mean they can put it together in the Octagon.

        So you’re saying that because Vitor beat Lindland,he has no trouble with wrestlers? It’s quite possible that someone can both (1) have trouble with wrestlers, and (2) be able to KO a wrestler in any given fight. Historically, Belfort has had trouble with wrestlers (and the mental game for that matter). It’s not like Belfort out wrestled Lindland…he KO’d him before any wrestling took place. Is Belfort going to do that to Sonnen? It’s quite possible, but not nearly as likely as in the Lindland fight.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    I had Chael winning this but by tko or decision using his conditioning. Even Sonnen thought he would be in for a long rough night. Even though Shogun hasn’t been as impressive in the UFC as he was in his PRIDE days this is still a very nice win for Chael.

    • TheCerealKiller

      He needs to suck up some PRIDE and retire.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        He’s young but he’s had some bad injuries and surgeries in his career. Anyone you want to see him fight for what could be his last fight in octagon? Nobody off hand for me. Maybe the Machida triology?

    • Jay Magallon

      Ageed. That was an excellent win. You tap out a legit BJJ black belt with a serious gound game in the first round. And one of the best in the world…luck or not(not that I’m suggesting it was) due credit is deserved.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        Exactly. Shogun still has nice wins over Machida and the Griffin rematch. Liddell I kind of give him credit for but it was way past his prime. To bad I would have liked that fight way earlier. But your right the guy is a legit BJJ Black Belt and a young dangerous guy who did go the distance with Hendo in a beautiful fight.

  • BobGyro

    How good is Jon Jones? Chael is a class C fighter when compared to the champ Jones.

    • Sir_Roy

      Jones is great. And I’m not saying he would have lost his fight with Chael by any stretch. But that fight was stopped early. With Jone’s toe being as it was, had the ref given Chael a chance (really early stoppage for a title fight), who knows what would have happened.

      • Werdoomb

        Actually, had the fight not been stopped Chael would have won. I doubt JBJ could have continued with his toe broken.

  • JRod

    Vitor is the most dangerous matchup for Chael. I think it makes the most sense. Both will be in contention at 185 after last night’s fight.

  • yq1e

    I think sonnen can beat belfort. And despite the recognition he gave weidman, I still think he can take the title at 185

  • bajafox

    Shogun is only 31 but he looks like he’s 41. There’s too much wear and tear for him to stay top 5. He should go the Chael route and take money fights before calling it a career.

    • Sir_Roy

      What do you think he was doing with Chael?? Or trying to do rather. Lol.

      • Werdoomb

        I though bajafox was gonna say go the Chael route and go on TRT.

  • lowlb

    Why was Shogun training with Freddie Roach when he should have been training for a wrestler? Why doesn’t every fighter claim tiny testicles and take trt? Chael’s wrestling and new JJ skills are impressive, but as stated elsewhere he is calling out guys he can out wrestle. I think it’s odd that they are letting Sonnen have free range of the ufc, though he is only calling out fighters who are not good with wrestlers. All you people on the hype train just like the show. You like the popular guy.

    • Kbroesq

      Machida is not bad at wrestling. People think you need to be a “wrestler” to say you’re good at it, but watch Machida’s fights. Not only is he good at wresting, but he’s great defensively.

      I think the Machida match is a horrible match up for Sonnen, so I don’t think he’s only calling out guys who have trouble with wrestling. Even if you don’t agree with me that Machida is a good wrestler, you cannot disagree with me that Machida does not have problems with wrestlers. No straight up wrestler has really beat him (legitimately at least) and he has beat many.

      • Werdoomb

        I would have agreed with everything you said prior to the Shogun fight.

        Yes, Machida has an excellent base. He is extremely tough to takedown and although he is not a wrestler he can trip/throw you from the clinch.

        No, I don’t think Machida is a horrible match up for Sonnen. In fact, i don’t think anyone is a horrible match up for Sonnen.

        Given Sonnen Machida, Mousasi, Bader, Phil Davis, Evans, Gustafsson, Glover Teixera or any other top 205lber!!!!!

        I don’t think Chael as a person but damn he is one entertaining SOB.

        • Werdoomb

          I don’t “like” Chael as a person.

          “Give” Soonen Machida..etc.

      • Ron Wheeler

        Machida does well against conventional guys who try to do the jab-jab-shoot strategy. Chael doesn’t even pretend to strike – he just shoots a double leg and eats shots on the way in. Not sure if Machida can cope with that, but I’d like to see the fight.

  • Jsondon77

    You people that think Chael simply talks his way into fights and shouldn’t get top tier fights because he lost his last 2 and had a .500 record are just haters. Chael lost the 2 fights prior to Shogun to Anderson Silva who hadn’t been beaten in years (never in UFC) and John Jones who has never really been beat at all. Chael is top 5 in light heavyweight and behind only Anderson Silva in middleweight, though an arguement could be made for Vitor.

    • Werdoomb

      Dude, I doubt no one doubts Chael’s skills after his win over Shogun.

      But, prior to his win, it was reasonable for anyone to believe that Chael talked his way into the fight given Chael’s poor performance at 205 back in the days and the fact that 205 is an extremely talented division.

      In MW, you got Chris Weidman above Chael buddy.

      So thank you for writing a comment to haters that do not exist.

      • Jsondon77

        I disagree that it was reasonable for people to believe that Chael simply “talked” his way into fights. Did Frankie Edgar talk his way into an immediate title shot against Jose Aldo when he went down a weight class after 2 consecutive losses to Benson Henderson? How about Vitor Belfort getting a title shot at John Jones when he was a middleweight prior to that? He got knocked out 3 minutes into the first round with Anderson Silva and was never a threat to Silva. By contrast Sonnen overwhelmingly beat Anderson Silva for over 4 and a half rounds in their first fight which he ended up losing to submission, and beat him in the first round of the second fight which ended when Chael got stupid with some crazy spinning elbow move The point being that Sonnen/Jones, Belfort/Jones, and Edgar/Aldo were all exciting matchups that people wanted to see with capable, exciting, and deserving fighters. The reason people bitched about Sonnen getting the shot is not because he didn’t deserve it, it’s because he talks a lot of shit and is someone people love to hate.

        And as far as middleweight rankings, maybe I should have spelled it out buddy. My rankings were speaking of contenders for the title. Meaning that Anderson Silva is the number 1 contender, and then Chael would be the number 2 contender, with a possible argument to be made for Belfort in that position.

        And if you don’t think haters exist, read other posts to this story.

  • Werdoomb

    The Chael fight made me think about a few things.

    First, contrary to what I have believed in the past, current-Sonnen can beat Pride-Wandy, even though old-Sonnen could not have. I don’t know what Sonnen has been doing but he has improved. TRT? Steroids, perfecting his takedowns..I don’t know.

    Second, from the way he manhandled Shogun, I just don’t see how Vitor and Machida could stuff Sonnen’s takedowns. Machida has a very good balance but his fights with Phil Davis showed that he could get taken down. And Vitor….not sure how he stacks up against top 205lbers.

    I don’t want to see Chael destroy Wandy the way he destroyed Shogun. Give Chael a solid 205lber! Ryan Bader, Lil Nog, Mousasi, Machida, Evans…anyone in the top 10!. I would love to see that fight.

  • BobGyro

    If Jones is number one then Chael is number 2.

    • Werdoomb

      ummm…dude…there are so many other fighters in the LHW division

      Notice how Shogun was only a slight favorite against Chael despite the fact that he was at one time #1 fighter in the world at LHW.

      I am not saying that Chael sucks. To the contrary, he is freaking impressive. But I wouldn’t say he is #2 just yet.

    • Eric Pope

      chael beats shogun so he’s number 2? would dan Henderson be number 2, or how bout forrest griffin lol, your logic is perplexing