At 185 pounds, he's officially entered the Rich Franklin zone. Franklin was a former champion who lost twice, in devastating fashion, to Silva. He never got another shot at the belt.
For Sonnen, winning a world title is the goal, the reason he fights. And while the path to his goal at middleweight is currently long and arduous, he sees an opportunity to take light heavyweight by storm.
Can Sonnen compete successfully against the best at 205 pounds? Talk is cheap, but there is some precedent. Rashad Evans, another wrestler with a quick, powerful shot, has ridden a speed advantage all the way to the world championship.
Could Sonnen do the same?
We may soon find out. Chael is currently pondering his future, but it just may include a jump to 205 pounds. If so, here are five fights that could help him make an immediate impact on the division.