UFC Fight Night 26: 5 Fights for Chael Sonnen to Take Next

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2013

UFC Fight Night 26: 5 Fights for Chael Sonnen to Take Next

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    One more for the bad guy.

    After being branded an underdog, Chael Sonnen answered with a first-round submission win over former UFC light heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 26.

    Shogun, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, appeared to completely underestimate Sonnen’s submission skills.

    Sonnen was determined to lock up the guillotine choke, as he made several attempts to secure the hold standing and on the ground. Despite the obvious attempts, Shogun persistently left his neck exposed without the slightest fear of being in danger. Sonnen eventually made him pay by latching on a deep, standing guillotine choke and pulling guard for the tap at 4:47 of the first round.

    “I’m the man of the hour, too sweet to be sour. What you see is what you get and what you don’t is better yet. I’m the women’s pick. I’m the men’s regret, and if you pick against Chael Sonnen, you made a bad bet,” Sonnen told UFC commentator Joe Rogan after the fight.

    Sonnen confirmed on a recent episode of UFC Tonight that he wanted to return to the middleweight division after his fight with Shogun.

    Here are five fights for him to take next.

Rashad Evans

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    After such a dominant performance over Shogun, there is the possibility that Sonnen changes his mind and remains in the light heavyweight division.

    If Sonnen hopes to make another run at Jon Jones, Rashad Evans would be the perfect opponent to continue his ascension through the light heavyweight ranks.

    It was actually revealed by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani during a recent episode of UFC Tonight that Evans was closely monitoring the bout between Sonnen and Shogun in hopes of facing the winner.

Winner of Yushin Okami vs. Ronaldo Souza

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    After Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami or Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza could be next in line for a UFC title shot.

    The two middleweight contenders are slated to meet at UFC Fight Night 28 in a title eliminator bout.

    If bouts against Belfort and Wanderlei Silva fall through, Sonnen could creep back into the middleweight title picture with a win over Jacare or another over Okami.

Vitor Belfort

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    Wanderlei Silva may not be interested in fighting Chael Sonnen, but Vitor Belfort would be more than happy to step into the cage with the self-proclaimed “Oregon Gangster.”

    Immediately after Sonnen submitted Shogun, Belfort hopped on to Twitter and requested to be the first man to welcome him back to the middleweight division.

    People can say what they want about Sonnen. But he has never been one to back down from a fight, and a win over Belfort would go a long way in putting him back into title contention.

Lyoto Machida

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    What Brazilian doesn’t want to fight Chael Sonnen?

    Lyoto Machida, who has recently expressed interest in moving to middleweight, threw his name into the Sonnen sweepstakes along with Belfort’s on Twitter.

    According to Machida, he was supposed to fight Belfort, but the former UFC champ has yet to accept the fight. Machida doesn’t believe Belfort should be rewarded with a fight with Sonnen after possibly passing on a fight with him.  

Wanderlei Silva

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    There really isn’t much explaining needed for this fight.

    Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen have been feuding ever since the famous van confrontation three years ago, where Silva warned Sonnen to stop trash talking Brazil.

    A few words were exchanged here or there, but there wasn’t much that came after the initial confrontation.

    However, things have certainly picked up recently. On UFC Tonight, Sonnen accused Silva of secretly filming the confrontation and uploading it on his YouTube page in an attempt to make it look like he punked Sonnen.

    For months, Sonnen has been calling Silva out and challenging him to a fight, but “The Axe Murderer” hasn’t appeared all that interested in the bout. Perhaps his opinion has changed after watching Shogun, his close friend, lose and being called out on national television at a live UFC event.

    “Wanderlei Silva, six feet tall 205 pounds, boy, until I met you, I didn't know they could stack crap that high,” Sonnen told Rogan in his post-fight interview.