If the teaser trailers can be believed, Chael Sonnen’s second recent appearance on a Canadian television show went better than his first, though this week’s offering from MMA’s best self promoter is still likely to fetch its fair share of headlines.
In November, Sonnen quite purposefully made a stir when he walked off the set of TSN’s “Off the Record” after a contentious (and possibly staged, at least on the fighter’s part) interview with host Michael Landsberg. From the looks of the outtakes from Sonnen’s upcoming do-over on the show, he and Landsberg get along fine this time, but the middleweight contender doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to make any number of outlandish statements on his own.
Chief among them: that he’s “done” chasing a rematch with 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva and that, if he defeats Mark Munoz next month in their title eliminator, he’ll ask UFC brass for a bout with champions like Junior dos Santos, Jon Jones or Georges St. Pierre instead.
“I’m going to become the No. 1 contender on Jan. 28, but despite what you might think, I’m not going to use that voucher to fight Anderson Silva,” Sonnen says. “I’ll be looking at dos Santos, Jones and possibly St. Pierre. I will take that voucher to Dana White and I will pick one of those three guys. My time with Anderson is done.”
Obviously this sounds like just more theater from Sonnen. If he defeats Munoz to once again become the middleweight division’s top contender, there is little possibility the UFC passes on the chance for a second big money bout with Silva. The company is reportedly already eyeing a June fight for the champion in Brazil and it just doesn’t make much sense to have that be against anyone other than Sonnen.
The idea of the former Oregon wrestler moving up (or, laughably, down) in weight to take on one of the UFC’s other champions is admittedly intriguing, but it remains unclear how that would fit into the UFC’s upcoming calendar, even if the organization would let him do it. Dos Santos is fresh off a knee injury and already scheduled to take on the winner of Brock Lesnar’s UFC 141 fight with Alistair Overeem, there is no shortage of 205-pound challenges afoot for Jones and St. Pierre’s own blown ACL could keep him out for the duration of 2012.
No, whether he likes it or not, it appears Sonnen’s path back to a middleweight title bout remains set if he can slip by another powerful wrestler in Munoz at the UFC’s second live broadcast on network television. It’s probably Silva or bust, so long as the 36-year-old champion can get his shoulder in working order in time.
Like any good performer, Sonnen just understands the importance of keeping his audience’s attention. And even if his way is less accurate, it's still a lot more fun.
“The bottom line is, I’m done with the guy,” Sonnen persists. “He and I have no business. He’s cold product. He’s like jheri curls and Pepsi Clear, OK? He’s yesterday’s news. I destroyed this guy back when he was tough [and] that was years ago. He’s so far over the hill and past his prime it’s not worth talking about.”