What’s Next for Chael Sonnen After UFC 159?

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Updated: April 29, 2013
Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen is one of the those few fighters that has been able to build-up a career based not only on his credentials within the cage, but also whilst on the outside of it. However, after another crushing defeat on the championship stage there are a lot of questions left unanswered about the future of the biggest mouthpiece in the UFC today. After UFC 159 people have talked about the potential of an “Anderson Silva v. Jon Jones Superfight” (especially after the post-fight press conference), and no one has really been whispering too much about what is next for Chael, and to be honest Chael has been a little vague about his immediate future.

As I see it today, there are a two separate roads ahead for Chael – each with a different set of circumstances attached:

1. Continue in the fight game:

Move back to middleweight: Anyone who has listened to Chael Sonnen talk knows that he is not in the sport for anything less than a championship. I question whether or not he is even willing to fight for anything less than a belt anymore, but that’s neither here nor there. Sonnen was perfectly outmatched in every way by a younger, bigger Jon Jones; let’s be honest folks, Jones is going to be at the top of the light heavyweight division for awhile. Knowing that Sonnen stands less of a chance at winning against Jones, and with interests of the UFC’s at putting on an actually entertaining fight, why not have Sonnen go back to middleweight? It’s not altogether horrendous idea if he wants a chance at a title – his career is rooted as a 185lb’er, and he has actually had some proven success against Anderson Silva. I don’t doubt that the UFC would be willing to give him another shot at Silva if he works his way back up. Not to mention, Sonnen is a pretty big middleweight!

Go up and up and up: Could a move to heavyweight be an altogether ridiculous idea for Chael Sonnen? Ridiculous, maybe… but, not altogether impossible. Sonnen may not be physically suited for heavyweight right now, but I definitely think he has the frame for it – he just needs to pack on some more weight. I honestly think that the Sonnen circus would allow for this to happen, just to capture some attention – and who knows maybe another immediate unproven title shot. A strong wrestler like Chael would probably even make a good match-up against Cain Velaszquez.

Going down!: Could Sonnen actually drop the weight to fight at welterweight to give Georges St. Pierre a run for his money? He has said he would do it in the past, during a standard Sonnen-style rant. It would give him the chance to be the only fighter to go for the “triple crown of MMA”, having fought the three best P4P fighters in the world. That said, I think Sonnen is just too big to fight at 170lbs, and what he would give up in strength would put him at massive disadvantage against a guy like St. Pierre (who is a monster at welterweight).

2. Go Gracefully Into Thy Good Night:

Op-ed columnist: Sonnen alluded to the fact that he might be interested in working for the UFC magazine if the opportunity were presented for him – and I could see him being excellent in this capacity. Sonnen’s candid diatribes always make for an entertaining read/listen. Why not add in something that gives the UFC magazine a little more of a “Maxim Man” appeal to it with Sonnen at the helm of that vision?

MMA Commentator: Sonnen would make a fantastic colour man, and I don’t think anyone can deny that. Every good commentator team needs a straight man and a colour man – which is why Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg work so well together. While I don’t see Sonnen ever replacing Rogan, I could see him taking over for someone like Kenny Florian or Jon Anik on the Fox/FX/Fuel events that they do. I personally find their commentary about as lively as a two-headed goat on Valium – and if Sonnen stepped in for one of these guys, it could make for a little more entertainment during those shows.

FOX News Host: I have no doubt that the actually rather intelligent Sonnen could sit an spar with some of the political commentators on Capitol Hill, and given his far right stance a marriage with FOX news is made in the stars.

The Less Likely Options…

Porn Star: It worked for Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver – why not for Sonnen? Everyone’s got to pay the bills.

Infomercial Pitch Man: I challenge anyone to tell me that they don’t think that Sonnen could do a better job of pitching the “schticky”.

President of the United States: Sonnen has never been one to hide his political ambitions – even going as far as to run for the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006 as a Republican (until he was forced out for his real-estate boondoggle). Sonnen has managed to seduce the MMA viewing public with his way with words – who knows, maybe he will have a chance to do the same with the American public in a more formal capacity at some point down the road… assuming he can have his road expunged.

Anyone can guess as to what they think Sonnen will end up doing in the future, but only one many knows the answer – Chael Sonnen. Whenever a fighter falls at the hands of such a crushing defeat, it’s hard for them to really know what the next steps are.

My guess? Sonnen is by no means done with MMA just yet. I think he will go back to the drawing board at light heavyweight and work his way back up to another title shot – and who knows, maybe he will be successful the second time around (although if against Jones, I am not so sure). I see someone like Mousasi being a great match-up against Sonnen, or maybe Ryan Bader. One thing thing I guarantee is that, you will see Sonnen in a commentator/editor role at some point in the next few years.

Either way, the man has done a great job of entertaining us – even in defeat – and I can’t wait to see him throw down again in one capacity or another.

Follow me on Twitter: @lastwordmark, the guys from Hammer MMA Radio @stevejeffery, and the site @lastwordonsport

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Andrews via photopin, CC

 

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