Opinion: UFC on FOX Sports 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen, Post-Mortem
By Jesse Heitz
Last Saturday night, UFC on FOX Sports 1: Shogun vs. Sonnen, or rather, Ultimate Fight Night 26, took place. It was a fairly well-stacked card that proved to be rather entertaining. The event has definitely left us with some points worthy of digesting. We have fight outcomes, title and division landscape implications, and fighter futures, to discuss.
Most pressingly, we have Chael Sonnen’s submission win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the card’s main event. This was quite a win, there can be no doubts. Rua, despite having been 2-3 in his last five fights going into the Sonnen bout, was still ranked in the top ten in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Division. As such, Sonnen’s guillotine choke win was exceptionally impressive. Yet, there’s been much commotion as of late over Sonnen’s rightful place in the rankings.
In the case of the Light Heavyweight Division, an argument could be made that he’s within the top ten in said division, having gone 1-1 there since his first stint ended in 2005. However, the notion that UFC President Dana White espouses, that Sonnen is atop the rankings at Middleweight, where he not only hasn’t fought in over a year, but was crushed in his final fight, is ridiculous.
Perhaps more interesting were Sonnen’s words during his Ultimate Fight Night 26 post-fight interview, in which he stated,
“Wanderlei Silva, six feet tall, 205 pounds. Boy, until I met you I didn’t know they stack crap that high.”
“Wanderlei Silva in three months, you and the bad guy.”
Despite Sonnen’s over-the-top post-fight promo which smelled horribly of bits ripped off from “Full Metal Jacket” and professional wrestling’s Scott Hall, it’s clear that he outwardly wants to fight Wanderlei Silva, ostensibly at 205 pounds. This is a fight I’d honestly like to see; after all it has been brewing for quite some time now.
Some MMA fans scattered across a variety of forums have echoed this sentiment, while others figure that Sonnen is on to bigger and better things. Unfortunately, this is quite believable. Given Sonnen’s recent past of being handed unearned title and otherwise prominent fights, it’s not unfathomable that we’ll see him challenging for a title in the very near future, although most believe he’ll be making a run at Chris Weidman’s belt should Weidman be able to successfully defend it against Anderson Silva in their rematch.
We know that Wanderlei, despite being beyond his prime and unlikely to ever challenge for a title again, is still a tremendous draw. We know that Sonnen’s microphone abilities make him a veritable box office hit. I don’t see why Dana White wouldn’t put such a fight together, given the ample back story, years of bad blood, and Sonnen’s recent win over Wanderlei’s protégé. It’s everything you need to make money hand-over-fist. Should Sonnen win, it bolsters his case for challenging for someone’s title. So, in the words of the immortal “Big John” McCarthy, “Let’s get it on!”