Chael Sonnen: A Star Is Born

Chael Sonnen: A Star Is Born


Everybody meet UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen. He’s a star.

The U.S. Olympic wrestling team alternate grounded and bloodied Nate Marquardt for 15 minutes in a violent bout at UFC 109, earning him a title shot against middleweight king Anderson Silva.

When Sonnen beat then-WEC Middleweight Champion and top-5 ranked 185-er Paulo Filho in a non-title fight (due to Filho missing weight) I wrote that he deserved to fight Anderson Silva immediately after the UFC absorbed its 185-class into the WEC. That’s because Sonnen represented the best choice, if not the best fight, for “The Spider.”

Sonnen’s toughness and high-level wrestling makes him an interesting style test for the UFC Middleweight Champion. And considering that the soft-spoken Silva sells a fight about as well as a Quaker minister, the Oregonian’s personality and fight prowess would have made the match work. But Sonnen got Demian Maia instead and lost for the third time in four UFC appearances, sending him away from title consideration.

Then Sonnen bounced back with a win over former International Fight League Middleweight Champion Dan Miller at UFC 98. Then he dominated perennial contender Yushin Okami at UFC 104 to run his post-WEC record to 2-1. The brief winning streak made him a credible opponent for Nate Marquardt, a gifted fighter who had been laying waste to the division following his 2007 loss to Silva.

In the weeks leading up to his fight with Marquardt Sonnen turned interviews into viral phenomena with scripted and off-the-cuff commentary that divided a previously indifferent fan base into distinct pro and con camps. A company man through and through, Sonnen spit polished the UFC logo in his post-fight comments by trashing Strikeforce and built hype for his middleweight title bout by saying that he hoped Silva defended the belt against Vitor Belfort at UFC 112 because facing “The Spider” would be an easier fight.

And that’s why Sonnen’s next fight is going to be a big one. He is peaking inside the Octagon and has a very real drive to fulfill a deathbed promise to his father that he’d be a world champion someday. He walked his talk on Saturday night. By summer we should know whether this new star is going to burn bright or burn out.


  1. I cannot say enough about Sonnen…Since the first time I watched this man fight in WEC, I knew he had absolute potential to go as far as HE wanted…He IS going, and once he gets there, he may just walk away, as if to prove a point to himself, and his father…
    Can Sonnen create enough of a storyline for anyone to care? Does it even matter? Only somewhat…What DOES matter is that Sonnen is getting it done, the old fashioned way…Grit and determination…
    Somehow, someway, you get a sense that Sonnen needed a few defeats, that could have been victories, to provide motivation towards bigger and better fights…These fights include loses to Demian Maia and Paulo Filho…It should be mentioned that Sonnen did fight Filho again and made him look like an amateur…
    If there is ONE thing Sonnen should keep in mind, it’s to better AVOID opponents submission attempts…
    Sonnen is the type of person who loves to fight, mix it up, and keep the drive alive, and sometimes that means allowing his opponent too much leeway and opportunity to remain in the fight…
    Filho had no right winning that first fight, nor did he have a right to last all three rounds of the second fight…A ‘Seal the Deal’ or ‘Killer Instinct’ may help Sonnen reach the top, defend the title once, and then walk away a TRUE Champion…
    And though he completely controlled a then phenom Bryan Baker, there was NO reason for that fight to go a full three rounds…
    Grandma Moses could have replaced Sonnen in the third round of that fight and finished Baker…You CANNOT give a fighter any extra chance to submit you or knock you out, just because you want to ‘play’ with him a bit longer and teach him a lesson…
    Though Marquardt offered very little as a whole, you can still see what he did from the guard to Sonnen’s face…
    Imagine if Sonnen could work on his stand-up, to the point where he could look for a KO first, and a take down second…It seems he ONLY works his stand-up to look for a shoot and take down…And mind you, it’s a BEAUTIFUL thing, but there are so many people that are good from their guard, and when Sonnen gives them that extra chance, you never know what can happen…
    It is my opinion that we should push off of our strengths to gain momentum for our weaknesses…And that’s what I believe Sonnen has begun to accomplish in his last two fights…No one could have picked him to win both of these fights….except Sonnen, and that’s ALL that matters…
    Yes, it is true, YOU, Chael Sonnen are a star…Right now you are shining VERY brightly, and I see no reason why you cannot do what you set out to do, and that’s to win the 12 pound gold belt and walk away a CHAMPION…
    God Speed on your healing, and know that I am SO damn proud of the man from The Pacific Northwest!

  2. Good article. I agree that he should’ve gotten a shot at Silva after UFC absorbed the WEC 185-pound weight class. And truthfully, is the best shot to defeating Anderson Silva. He just has to avoid those strikes.

  3. What an awesome fight. Sonnen is one of the best fighters I have seen in awhile. An all around fit, disciplined, determined and stubborn athlete. He definitely knows what it takes to win. ( a lot of hard work, training and the will to be the best.) Keep it up Chael. Looking forward to watching the title fight.

  4. I really love to watch Chael Sonnen fight, and I enjoy all the trash talk as well. I think that Chael should consider dialing back some of the trash talk about Anderson Silva. People forget that the Spider’s ground game is not bad, he can win a fight from his back. Chael needs to work on his submission defense, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to figure out a way to add some power to those ground and pound punches. It could be difficult to win by decision in a five round match against such a swift and solid striker. So hopefully he adds some tools in preparation to fight Anderson, or Belfort. . . I think he might just need them.

  5. Wow i take back what i said about Sonnen!!! I didnt give him a chance an he looked great i hope his next fight is a great one no matter who its against!!!!
    An i dont think Randy should just leap frog everyone just because he beat the worst Colman we had ever seen!!! Really an he was giving a gift against the TRUTH an you guys KNOW IT!!!!

  6. Chael is amazing. He was the first person to talk to me in the crowd after I made my amature MMA debute in Portland. He deserve’s top rank privileges, and is a great guy. He does alot for our community and I hope to earn the my way to following in his footsteps with buisness inside the ring and outside for the ring and community. I kept tell’n my friends to watch out this fight, but I had to own up to bein biest. Way to rep the Pacific Northwest!

  7. Chael sonnen has the best shot other than vitor because if he gets Anderson down he can hold him there and maybe pound him out or win a unanimous decision, also I agree that randy doesn’t deserve the next shot at machida/rua it should be the winner of the Jackson/Evans the only reason randy is even in consideration is because his names Randy Couture

  8. Don’t hate on Chael for running his mouth, he just says it how he sees it. The guy is really smart and does do a lot of things outside of the ring unlike many other fighters. I have been a growing fan of his before this fight, and doubted him against Nate. I was very glad to see him pull out the win, the way he did.
    Another note, shit talking is shit talking. In the world of fighting, there is no better way to promote yourself and get people to watch you. If a trash talker wins you over because you like what he says then you are going to watch him in hope he backs up his talk. If a trash talker wins over your hate, then you will def. tune in, in hoped he gets stomped. Its all a part of the business.

  9. Chael surprised a lot of ppl with this fight, something is growing up there, that man need the best oponents to u believe how good he is, i simply expected Nate to destroy him, bit i was so wrong..Gj Chael u won my respect.

  10. Nate came closer to finishing that fght than chael did, this cocksucker is way overrated. Sadly it was the most exciting fight of the night, and thats why you like him!! No chance against silva, stick to politickin!!!!!!!

  11. Ahh “The U.S. Olympic wrestling team alternate grounded and bloodied Nate Marquardt” total lie… all the blood was from Chael Sonnen in this fight. Looks like the auther of this bias review needs an HD TV!

  12. Chael fought a good one last Saturday, but he has more to prove and running his mouth like that, made him a wannabe a bully. With fighting any one can be anyone. This win doesn’t make him a top contender among the elite. I like him before he got in UFC, but to me now he is a wannabe bully and a star. Martial arts made of respect and discipline toward your opponents, even a baby as martial artist should be respected. He can beat everyone in his division, gets to heavyweight, lightweight and to others to me if he does change his disrespectful attitudes. he will be steal a wannabe. This is not politic, this is real because it’s truly physical. Self-respect is the key and personally he doesn’t deserve a shot at the title. Chael my brother you need therapy and before someone humiliating you. Nate deserve a rematch bro before your belt. Good luck in your quest and I still like you man, but not the man.

  13. Trash talk is not only fun, it’s absolutely necessary. If every guy was nice and meek then there wouldn’t be half as much to talk about in between fights. And Randy does not deserve a title shot at 205lbs yet, there are other guys who have had more impressive performances and have been laboring in the division. Heck, I would give Anderson Silva, (I know he won’t fight Machida), a title shot at 205 before Randy. The only merit to giving Randy a shot is the matchmaker’s famous words, “styles make fights.” Maybe a solid wrestler is closer to solving Machida than a lot of guys would be, but if that is the case then Rashad could put on another good showing and get a second chance at the title.

    One thing to add, the UFC is so good at middleweight that I couldn’t be upset with who the champ is by this time next year, Chael, Anderson, Vitor, they are all fighters I like to watch.

  14. It was impressive that he beat Nate, but I really wasn’t impressed HOW he beat him.

    Thats all this sport needs is another damn lay and pray asshole, hell, Marquart did more damage from bottom than Cael did from top. I say Anderson owns him. He would beat Vitor, just like Randy did, but Anderson would beat him.

    He said, ” I’m a repblican, I won’t lay on my back with a man between my legs”. Yeah Cael, thats because you like to be on top….in between his legs.

    Im not buying into the hype, he’ll end up like all the rest.

    Is he a better wrestler than Henderson? Is he a better Jui-Jitsu guy than Lutter or Laites?

    Suck it Cael.

  15. This fight wasn’t much of a surprise to people who watched Chael in the WEC. He absolutely demolished Paulo…twice. His take downs are as good as GSP and I’ve yet to see even great wrestlers stop him form doing it. His striking is actually quite decent, but obviously not as good as Nate’s, or the Spider. His ground and pound is devastating. Yes, he was bloodier than Nate at the end of the fight, and he admitted to getting his bell rung at one point, but nobody can deny that he beat Nate up. Chael got sliced by an elbow and got caught by a couple power shots. Nate got head on canvas elbows and punches all night…he just didn’t get a nasty cut.

  16. Like so many times before, the ignorent mma-wannabe´s believes in hypes like Sonnen. Okey, his wrestling is exelent
    and his ground n´pound ok, but thats all. The fact that he manage to take down Nate sais more aboat Nate´s
    state of mind than Sonnen´s takedown abbillyties. But let´s face it. Wrestling is wery effective, to get a descision
    – but how exiting? No person who knows anything aboat the sport will give him a chance, of a real fight, against
    fighters like Anderson, Franklin or even Wanderlei (despite he seems more like a shaddow of his past fighter-
    spirit). But can he hold Nate down, then he might even hold the other fighters down aswell. It will be effective in
    the judges eyes. But so unimpressing, and boring.

  17. Chael has the work ethic of a lion and the brains of a business man. I have known Chael for 15 years and with his demener i would have never guessed he would of been a world class fighter. Alot of you didnt know he never won a high school collegiate state title. For him it has always been fuel. He loses and comes back two times better ask Filho that. I was most impressed with him saying after the fight that he found out he wasnt good enough yet to beat Silva. Please tell me how he is a shittalker because he never disrespects a fighters skills and always is honest about how bad he was hurt. If his opinion on Vitor that hes tougher than Silva is talking junk than we are misinterpreting Chael. How can you not like a guy who’s changed laws to bring mma to a city and a guy who coaches young kids into State champions. He has done more in his 20’s than most have done in a lifetime.

  18. Chael Sonnen, is much more than a grade A trash talker. All of his hard work, and ambitions astound me,

    To those of you who bad mouth this king, he doesn’t just fight in the ring, he fights outside of the ring. If you guys don’t know what I mean, find out for yourselves.

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