When it was revealed middleweight title-contender Chael Sonnen would be moving up to 205 pounds for a fight with Forrest Griffin the MMA world let out a collective “meh”. While a decent fight on paper, Griffin has been mediocre at best for the past few years and wasn’t likely to be baited into the entertaining war of words Sonnen so often starts with his adversaries.
However, Sonnen has since revealed he may be facing someone else in the immediate future rather than Griffin. And, though he hasn’t stated who it is, there’s only one logical choice given a few recent developments – Lyoto Machida.
Sonnen nearly scored a title-fight last week when teammate Dan Henderson dropped out of a bout with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at the last minute. Though “Bones” ultimately turned the match-up down, Sonnen clearly got under his skin during the ordeal to the point the 25-year old even said he was willing to fight him at a later date.
With Sonnen’s name lingering towards the top of the contendership list based on his marketability and budding feud with Jones, Machida would make for the perfect opponent based on a few reasons…
1. The two of them have talked openly about disliking one another in the past so the rivalry is already there. Sonnen excels when he can spit smack atan opponent and Machida is ripe for the picking…or picking on, as the case may be.
2. Machida was named as being next in line for a crack at the championship after beating Ryan Bader but has in reality only won a single time since being submitted by Jones this past December. As such, to be considered a legitimate challenger to Jones’ reign he needs to pick up another significant victory such as the one Sonnen could provide. Likewise, a win over Machida would immediately give Sonnen contendership credibility at 205 pounds.
3. With Jones being booked against Vitor Belfort on September 22, and likely winning based on how the two compare to one another, there’s a good chance “Bones” won’t fight again for another 2-4 months. That means Machida has a period in which he can (and should) compete as opposed to sitting on the sidelines for six months.
Sonnen’s stock has surged in the wake of the fallout from UFC 151 and the organization needs to strike while the iron is hot. Having him duel “The Dragon” is absolutely the way to go on that front and, while it’s possible the crafty Oregonian is simply teasing fans/media with his comments, it seems logical to think there’s truth involved and Machida will surface as his next scrap before Jones takes to the Octagon next month.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC