However, a win for “Uncle Chael” means a whole lot of pain from thereon in—he won’t be able to survive the ensuing onslaught from the division’s top dogs.
A former NCAA Division-l standout with a Greco-Roman pedigree, Sonnen has some exquisite wrestling credentials and good standup too boot, but that per se won’t be enough to ward off his contemporaries, some of whom boast identical strengths in the wrestling department, not to mention ever-improving striking.
In his last outing, Sonnen was unable to impose his will on Michael “The Count” Bisping, who, it must be said, gave a good account of himself, and could’ve easily been the victor that night.
If a rematch were to take place, it’s not a given that Sonnen would come out victorious.
Moving on to the rest of the snarling pack: Mark Munoz, Vitor Belfort, Alan Belcher, Tim Boetsch, Chris Weidman and Hector Lombard. Anyone of the aforementioned sextet have the sine qua non to trounce Sonnen, more so the latter duo.
Two-time All-American Weidman is the new kid on the block and is still improving. If he gets by Munoz, a shot at the title won’t be far behind.
Lombard has yet to prove himself on MMA’s grandest stage, but a win over Boetsch would silence any critics and thrust him smack-bang in the middle of the title mix, which spells bad news for Sonnen, as Lombard’s a beast.
That said, Munoz, Belfort, Belcher and Boetsch will also be a handful for the newly crowned 185-pound champion.
Hypothetical though it may seem, however, the realization is that these are the men that wait with bated breath if Chael Sonnen is able to capture the Holy Grail and assume the mantle of the division’s most wanted.
UFC 148 is scheduled for July 7, 2012, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.