Apparently completely man-handling a man who was widely recognized as the heir to the middleweight throne is not enough to warrant a title shot.
According to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's manager, Ed Soares, Sonnen still has a lot left to prove before fighting Silva for the coveted middleweight strap.
"We are fine if this is what the UFC wants, but if you look at this logistically, Sonnen should fight Demian Maia first. Demian beat him up easily, by submission, so why not make them fight first, to determine who gets a shot at the title?" Soares told sportsnet.ca.
Soares is referring to the loss that Sonnen sustained in his return to the Octagon at UFC 95 last year. After defeating WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho in a non-title affair at WEC 36, Sonnen, along with the rest of the WEC's middleweight division, was merged into the UFC, and shortly after Sonnen was matched up against Maia in London, England.
Maia made quick work of Sonnen, finishing the Team Quest original with a beautifully executed triangle choke two minutes into the first round.
The loss was a minor setback for Sonnen and he instantly returned to his winning ways with dominant victories over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami, and Nate Marquardt. At the time Miller was an unbeaten prospect, Okami was considered long overdue for a title shot, and Marquardt was hyped up as the man to eventually dethrone "The Spider."
Surely with those wins Sonnen should be deemed next in line for a title shot after the champion defends his belt against Vitor Belfort at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. Apparently, Soares feels differently, and it remains to be seen if the UFC matchmaking team agrees with him or not.
In recent interviews Sonnen referred to himself as the "alpha male" in the locker rooms and said that Silva knew who the real "bully" was backstage. Soares is amused by Sonnen's comments and notes that the only way people will know Sonnen's name is if he talks about Silva.
"There's not much to say about that [Sonnen referring to himself as the "alpha male"]. It's funny, but really, who actually listens to what Chael Sonnen has to say? The only time people listen is when he talks about Anderson. Who is he, really? If you walk down the street and you mention his name, does anyone really know who this guy is? Likely not, but if you mention Anderson Silva, people know the name."
This isn't entirely true. The reason everyone is talking about Sonnen is because of how dominant he looked against Marquardt. Most believed that was Sonnen's fight to lose, but after he decisively dominated Nate "The Great" everyone has begun to hop on the Sonnen bandwagon—and for good reason.
The verbal banter is a smart marketing ploy on Sonnen's part, and it is increasing his name value among casual fans. Fans love to see a fighter back up their trash-talk, and that is exactly what the All-American wrestler is doing.
Soares feels that all the talking means Sonnen has a man-crush on the middleweight champ.
"Chael's also said a few things about Anderson's choice of clothes and that he wears earrings, didn't he? Sounds to us like he may have a crush on Anderson."
It will be interesting to see what Sonnen will say in response to Soares. One thing is for sure, things are certainly heating up. If Silva remains the middleweight champ after UFC 112, a bout with Sonnen could be considered one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
That may sound absurd at this point, but as the talking continues fans will become more and more enthralled by the matchup.
This article was originally featured on fiveknuckles.com