UFC: What If Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans and Nick Diaz Lose Their Next Bouts?
Rashad Evans should have already had his title shot, though several circumstances have since prevented the former light heavyweight kingpin the opportunity to take UFC gold once again.
The same can be said for both Chael Sonnen and Nick Diaz, who have also been the victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Now, should all three men lose their next respective outings, what will it mean for their respective divisions and careers?
Rashad Evans has been the No. 1 contender for the light heavyweight title for nearly two years.
Initially, Evans was set to face Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 in March of last year. After the Brazilian suffered an injury in his second battle with Lyoto Machida, Rua was on the mend for nearly a year.
Evans, rather than take up another fight, opted to wait for the former Pride star to re-enter the Octagon. The move proved to be a detrimental road block in his career, as Evans too suffered from injury in the weeks leading up the fight, which spearheaded Jon Jones into the title tilt.
Since then, Evans has returned to the cage, defeating rival Tito Ortiz last August by second round TKO. He will now face Phil Davis at UFC on FOX 2 on January 28.
It's the last hurdle that Evans has to endure, however, should he lose, it would mean that Evans sidelined himself all for nothing. Should Evans lose, a preemptive move to the middleweight division might come to a head, as The Ultimate Fighter season two winner has discussed before.
Nick Diaz initially earned his shot at champion Georges St-Pierre after the Stockton fighter was transplanted from Strikeforce.
Whilst in the San Jose based promotion, Diaz earned the organization's welterweight title, deftly defending the belt in memorable battles with KJ Noons, Evangelista Santos and Paul Daley.
However, in typical Diaz fashion, the Californian opted to no-show several pre-fight press junkets for UFC 137, which prompted the promotion to remove him from the title tilt altogether.
The lackadaisical approach of the Cesar Gracie fighter actually worked in his favor, as St-Pierre fell out due to injury, and Diaz returned to the event, where he met former world champion BJ Penn.
There, Diaz was able to demonstrate why he is one of the greatest fighters to watch, as he bludgeoned the face of "The Prodigy" into a battered and bloody mess, earning the clear cut decision after three rounds of action. This earned him "Fight of the Night" honors.
Should Diaz lose his next outing against top contender Carlos Condit at UFC 143, it would mean that Diaz will now be shunned from his highly anticipated battle with the aforementioned Canadian, who has since not taken a liking to the enigmatic fighter.
In the long and storied career of Anderson Silva in the UFC, Chael Sonnen remains the only man to come close to handing "The Spider" his first loss inside the Octagon.
The duo originally met in August of 2010 where Sonnen earned his shot after defeating the likes of Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt, in succession.
Little gave Sonnen the benefit of the doubt, although the Team Quest product proved his naysayers wrong when he dominated Silva from the opening bell, rocking the Brazilian with his surprising boxing acumen and later muscling him to the ground with his powerful and adept wrestling skills.
However, one thing Sonnen has consistently been lacking in has been his jiu-jitsu, which was exposed in the fifth and final round, when Silva cinched a "Hail Mary" triangle-armbar which elicited the tap.
Since then, Sonnen has battled adversity in all areas. The Oregon native has had his realtor license revoked due to money laundering allegations, and was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for alleged steroid use—which eventually was revealed to be the result of testosterone replacement therapy gone awry.
Now, Sonnen is fresh off of a win against former top contender Brian Stann, submitting the heavy hitter last October, and is now scheduled to face Michael Bisping at UFC on FOX 2 come next weekend.
Should the charismatic fighter prove successful against the Brit, it will align him for a rematch against his bitter rival Silva, giving the UFC the blockbuster rematch their hoping for.
And if not? Then Bisping will garner the shot at the title, which will garner little attention, since Silva should be the consummate favorite against Bisping in all areas of the game.