After three straight wins over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt by decision, Chael Sonnen earned a title shot against Anderson Silva.
We all remember how that fight went. 23 minutes of dominance that was nullified by eight seconds of brilliance.
That in itself warranted a rematch. However, since Silva was injured, Sonnen defeated both Brian Stann and Michael Bisping by submission and decision, respectively. Afterwards, he was awarded the rematch against The Spider.
Then, on a warm July night, Chael once again left the Octagon with his head down after enjoying early dominance against the best in the world.
But who is the real Chael Sonnen?
If you look at his career, he’s 27-12-1, which isn’t bad. He’s won 67.5 percent of his fights. But when you look deeper at the numbers, you’ll see that out of his 27 wins, he’s only finished 11. That’s only a 40.7 percent finishing rate amongst wins and 27.5 percent overall.
Since joining the UFC, Chael is 5-3 with just one finish, placing him at a UFC finishing rate of 20 percent in wins and 12.5 percent overall.
There’s another decorated wrestler who is 23-4-1 (1) NC, winning 81.4 percent of his fights. Out of those 23 wins, he’s finished 10, with a finishing rate of 43.4 percent amongst wins and 35.7 percent overall.
Since he’s joined the UFC, he’s gone 13-2-1 with four finishes, giving him a UFC finishing rate of 30.7 percent in wins and 20 percent overall.
That man is none other than Jon Fitch.
Chael is a legitimate contender in the middleweight division, as he’s shown by dominating 5.5 of the seven rounds he’s fought against the champion.
But he’s no Jon Fitch.
Fitch has the better overall record, UFC record and finishing rate, both overall and in the UFC. Both guys have an outstanding power double leg takedown and inflict most of their damage while in their opponents’ guard.
However, Fitch is the superior fighter and fights in a superior weight class. The one thing he lacks is the ability to sell a fight with his talk.
So the real lesson in all of this is that it pays to talk trash in the fight business. Sell yourself and sell the fight. Either people are going to pay to see you kick some ass or get your ass kicked, but either way, they’re going to pay.
Just imagine if Fitch could get under GSP’s skin like Nick Diaz has done. Maybe then he wouldn’t have to win 20 matches in a row to get a title shot.
Even now, after knowing the numbers, you’d still rather see Sonnen face GSP than Fitch if you had a choice. That's because you know Sonnen is going to say something that’ll make you want to see him fight. He always does.
So who’s the real Chael Sonnen? Just a poor man’s Jon Fitch with a superior mouthpiece.