He may never own a UFC belt, or any belt for that matter, but three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen makes a prime Muhammad Ali seem like an amateur trash-talker.
Whether fans love or hate him, Sonnen has liberally offered unfiltered and unadulterated insight on a wide spectrum of issues since his informal coming-out party in 2009. Truth be told, the 36-year-old Oregonian doesn't mind critics; he just wants to remain relevant.
"The American Gangster" apparently learned that being silent and essentially obscure in the first 12 years of his career wasn't a winning remedy. And with his shift in personality, he has seemingly gotten what he yearned for, utilizing his linguistic prowess to become one of the most talked-about athletes in MMA.
Even though he now needs around-the-clock security during trips to Brazil [primarily due to his feuds with Anderson Silva], Sonnen, who sports a UFC record of 9-8, has parlayed his brash persona and above-average fighting chops into super stardom.
Boxing legend Mike Tyson put it bluntly when asked by Fuel TV's Ariel Helwani whether he thought Ali or Sonnen was the better trash-talker.
"Oh, Chael Sonnen. Chael. Chael talks too much. Because I think Chael believes what he says. Chael. Chael hands down. Nobody talks more s*** than Chael."
But because he's provocative, humorous and rarely willing to break character, Sonnen has separated himself from his peers on this list.
He's got personality galore and he can't hide it. It's just a shame for fans, and for The American Gangster's wallet, that the Sonnen we know today didn't emerge sooner.