Chael Sonnen, the man with the gift of gab, has officially signed a new deal extending his contract with the UFC for five more fights. Given his current fight frequency, the new contract could extend his UFC career another three years – exciting news for the many fans of the pound-for-pound best trash talker in the business. Failing to acquire a UFC title after three attempts, many have pondered what the 36-year-old “American Gangster” had planned for the remainder of his UFC career.
In addition to announcing a new contract, Sonnen shared that he plans to move back to middleweight after his fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on UFC on Fox Sports 1 next month. The normally brash, trash-talking Sonnen has had only respectful things to say about Shogun, stating that he is a legend in the sport and that anyone who has been in the sport that long is to be respected. Sonnen is also planning to move his camp to Mark Munoz’s Reign Training Center in California. This is good news for the American Gangster, as it may lead to the continued evolution of the somewhat one-dimensional wrestler.
Sonnen has lost to only the very best in the world in the past four years. Having lost twice to the former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, however, it seemed very unlikely he would ever receive another middleweight title shot. Chris Weidman winning the belt at UFC 162 could be exactly what Sonnen needed to refresh his title aspirations at middleweight.
While Sonnen could be planning to work his way back up the middleweight ladder and face the newly-minted champion Weidman, a potential fight between the two seems like a nightmare matchup for the American Gangster. Sonnen even went on record saying “every time when I was in that division and my phone rang, I would think, ‘geez, I hope they’re not going to tell me I have Chris Weidman.’” Weidman is a strong wrestler in his own right, and has a more dangerous jiu jitsu game to go along with his top-level boxing.
One thing is for certain, neither Sonnen nor Shogun have any intentions of ending up on a three-fight losing streak. Both men have a lot to lose next month as they headline the UFC’s first event on the new UFC on Fox Sports 1 channel.