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

When Chael Sonnen uttered those now infamous words after his victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26, it started a volatile chain reaction in the UFC’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

It seems everyone wants a piece of Sonnen nowadays as he continues his vicious onslaught of one-liners and crafty rhymes that make even the greatest poets jealous. Whether it be Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort or Lyoto Machida, everyone wants a shot at Sonnen and no one is safe from his patented trash talk.

Silva seems to be the likely candidate to face Sonnen next, assuming he is healthy and ready for a showdown late this year. The two fighters have had bad blood as far back as I can remember. Sonnen’s constant lambasting of Brazil and constant chastising of almost every top fighter the country has to offer made him a target. Sonnen’s words post-fight didn’t help his case, but it did prompt a reaction from Silva, who offered his own rebuttal to Sonnen’s words in his own video.

This is a perfect storm for the UFC and Sonnen. Machida, Belfort and Silva are all top fighters with highly marketable names that will help the UFC keep its pay-per-view-selling, gold-egg-laying fighter, Sonnen. Sonnen’s words draw people in, and right now his fight with Silva is rumored to land on the same card as welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre versus Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre alone does very well on pay-per-view, but add in a trash-talker like Sonnen and a hot cauldron of boiling anger in Silva and you have yourselves a tasty recipe for a main/co-main event duo.

Sonnen can certainly help draw in the eyeballs for his fights and has a good medium to do it through his analyst duties for Fox Sports 1, but selling pay-per-views and winning fights to become a title contender once again are two totally different beasts in and of themselves.

Although Sonnen could definitely beat Silva—honestly, I would only give Silva a puncher’s chance—fighting guys like Belfort and Machida would give Sonnen a huge run for his money.

Silva is a good launching pad from which to start a title run. Sonnen’s win over Shogun already has him off on the right foot. But getting those wins over the top five at middleweight or light heavyweight would be tough, especially after seeing Sonnen’s last two title fights end in two rounds or less. Good luck selling him as a continuing threat. That isn’t to mention all the trash talk he uttered before the fight only to get dominated by light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former middleweight champ Anderson Silva.

Sonnen is a great fighter, but Machida would give him an extremely tough time in trying to take the fight to the ground. I just don’t see Sonnen getting that string of wins together, considering he would need at least four wins to even get any consideration for a title shot at light heavyweight. Sonnen did think about dropping down, back to middleweight, but if Anderson Silva wins his rematch against Chris Weidman, why would the UFC make a third Sonnen/Silva fight, seeing as the last two fights were finishes by Silva?

I don’t buy it.

The UFC has a good thing here with all these top fighters calling out Sonnen. It’s great because of the publicity and buzz Sonnen generates, but Sonnen’s days as a title contender are closing. His ability to contend is becoming more and more of an impossibility as time goes by. Someone like Machida or even Belfort could be enough to give Sonnen a loss and send him right back to the end of the line.

Machida tends to have success against wrestlers due to his elusive style—we’re not going to count the boneheaded judging in his loss to Phil Davis—and that alone would be enough to beat Sonnen. If the fight doesn’t go to the ground, Sonnen tends to be non-existent, as his striking really isn’t up to par.

Despite the could-be losses, the UFC can market Sonnen in the time being and especially in this fight with Wanderlei Silva. That fight is just too good to pass up, despite Silva’s waning skill set. Everybody and their mother wants to see that fight happen.

Sonnen has concocted the perfect recipe for the UFC, and the promotion would be wise to take it before Sonnen starts down that bumpy road for a title shot.

Photo: Chael Sonnen (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.