Chael Sonnen is one of those guys who seems to be impervious to fan popularity whether he wins or loses. For some reason, “The American Gangster” is always seemingly in the UFC spotlight even though he has now lost three of his last four fights.
Yes, he’s high-profile because of his tremendous trash-talking as a fighter and because of his broadcasting work. However, Sonnen definitely seemed a little off of his game at UFC 167 when he squared off against former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. “Suga” continued his resurgence with a dominant first-round stoppage victory.
Whether it was not being keen about fighting a friend and broadcasting colleague in Evans, or already having his next fight in place against hated rival Wanderlei Silva, Sonnen turned in a remarkably docile performance. We will find out in his next fight whether Sonnen’s fighting career is on a legitimate decline when he fights Silva. The two men will act as opposing coaches on the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 before they square off against one another in the Octagon.
That fight will definitely be a highly-anticipated matchup and will represent another big payday for Sonnen, but if the pro wrestling shtick is to have an effect, it needs to be backed up with results.
Other than a surprising submission of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Fight Night 26, Sonnen has been stopped by former middleweight champ Anderson Silva, current light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones, and Evans. He’s talked about a move back down to 185 pounds to compete in the division he seems most comfortable at.
Sonnen’s rise to fame is most tied to his remarkable performance against “The Spider” at UFC 117. Sonnen was a quote machine heading into that fight, talking as much smack as anyone could remember. However, not only did he talk the talk, but walked the walk. It was only a dramatic fifth-round come-from-behind submission that allowed Silva to retain his title.
No one had given Silva a fight like that before, so the Sonnen legend was made. Of course, Silva is human, as we saw when he lost his title to Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Hopefully, when we see Sonnen hook up with “The Axe Murderer” next, we’ll see the competitive fires burning a lot more than what we saw at UFC 167 in Las Vegas.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports