Chael Sonnen (27-13-1) has been unsuccesful in his last three UFC title shots and it seems to many that he may never earn another shot at gold. However, with these certain cirumstances that could play out by the end of 2013, the American Gangster could earn himself another trip to a championship fight.
Sonnen recently lost his last bout to Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight Championship in the very first round by TKO. Jones seemed to win the fight rather easily with takedowns and clinch work.
But let’s face it, it’s not an easy task to defeat Jon Jones and Jones’ last five competitors could attest to that. Jones has now indicated that a move to heavyweight could happen by the end of 2013. “I definitely have goals to compete at heavyweight and obviously go for a championship,” Jones said at a MetroPCS fan chat back at UFC on Fox 5. Now that Jon Jones could be out of the picture at light heavyweight beginning of 2014, we could see an open competition / grand prix-like-tournament for the 205 lb. strap.
The 36 year-old fighter is on that path right now and if he can rack up a solid three fight win streak, he could be up for another title shot. In fact, statistics show that Sonnen can do it. The last time he lost a non-title fight was four years ago at UFC 95 to Demian Maia. He is also 7-1 in his last 8 non-title bouts. Sonnen has won every round of those 8 fights except one with Michael Bisping back in January 2012.
The UFC cannot also forget how marketable Chael Sonnen is. Despite losing to Jon Jones, that fight and lead up to it made him more popular with his self-proclaimed “truth talk”. He was The Ultimate Fighter coach opposite Jon Jones, made appearances on ESPN numerous times, and became a full time host on UFC Tonight on Fuel TV. Dana White ranked Sonnen as the no. 3 biggest pay-per-view draw for the UFC, according to a post-fight UFC 152 conference.
The West Linn native will now touch gloves with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-7) in the Octagon on August 17th for the debut of UFC on Fox Sports 1. Sonnen earned the fight after stepping up to fight Shogun on 2 weeks notice prior to UFC 161 but had trouble getting his visa accepted through Canada so the fight was pushed back to August 17th.
Sonnen now has a great opportunity now to work his way back to a title shot with a serious contender in Shogun. Shogun is coming off a recent decision loss to Alexander Gustaffson but is still the no. 7 ranked light heavyweight, according to UFC.com.
Chael Sonnen will always remain relevant for his marketability and willingness to fight anytime.