Chael Sonnen and the 5 Ballsiest Fighters in MMA

Matt Juul@@MattchidaMMAContributor IIIAugust 28, 2012

Chael Sonnen and the 5 Ballsiest Fighters in MMA

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    Chael Sonnen pulled one of the ballsiest moves in recent mixed martial arts history when he offered to move up a weight class to fight UFC champ Jon Jones on just eight days notice in order to save UFC 151.

    While Jones' decision to not take the bout may have nixed the entire event, Sonnen's choice to face one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world shows just how fearless and game "the American Gangster" is.

    MMA has been built off guys like this, willing to throw caution to the wind just for a shot at glory.

    Let's take a look at the top five ballsiest fighters this sport has to offer.

5. Kazushi Sakuraba

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    Kazushi Sakuraba became an MMA legend because of his balls-to-the-wall approach to fighting, especially in the early days of the sport.

    "The Gracie Hunter" never picked his opponents or cared about weight classes, as he was willing to go toe-to-toe with absolutely anyone.

    In his first pro bout, Sakuraba took on a massive Kimo Leopoldo, despite their 60-pound weight difference.  While that might seem like a staggering disadvantage, Sakuraba would face even tougher challenges as his career progressed through Pride and the tournament days of the UFC.

    Having competed in basically every division between welterweight and openweight, Sakuraba has faced and defeated so many big names, refusing to quit even when his face was battered to the point of being unrecognizable.

    There's no doubt that Sakuraba remains one of the ballsiest guys in the sports history.

4. Chan-Sung Jung

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    Chan-Sung Jung earned his Korean Zombie moniker for his never-say-die attitude in the cage.

    The featherweight phenom has gained a ton of fans in recent years for his ability to keep coming forward even after taking an absurd amount of punishment—especially in his wars with Leonard Garcia and Dustin Poirier.

    One of the most exciting fighters in the UFC today, Jung's ballsy ways may just earn him a future shot at the title if he keeps coming out on top.

3. Dan Henderson

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    A true living legend of the sport, Dan Henderson is another one of those guys who doesn't care about weight classes or how dangerous his opponents are.

    The former Olympian was toughened up by his years of wrestling training, a major factor that has helped Hendo survive so many battles and allowed him to fight into his 40s.

    Having taken out or faced nearly every big name out there, from Vitor Belfort to Fedor Emelianenko, Henderson is definitely one of the ballsiest and toughest guys around.

2. Chael Sonnen

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    Sonnen, in the past, has drawn the ire of fans for his hysterical yet sometimes disrespectful words towards his fellow fighters, as well as the country of Brazil.

    While some may not like his marketing tactics, Sonnen has stayed true to his word that he would never back down from a fight.

    Having twice already taken on the greatest of all-time in Anderson Silva—and nearly defeating him—Sonnen has no fear.

    His willingness to take on Jones with just eight days to prepare is just the latest addition to his long resume of ballsy moves.

1. Frankie Edgar

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    The perennial underdog, former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar embodies what it means to be ballsy.

    Edgar shocked the world by defeating future Hall of Famer BJ Penn, taking his lightweight crown at UFC 112 and subsequently defending the belt in their immediate rematch.

    Even more impressively, "the Answer" survived one of the most brutal first rounds in MMA history when he took on Gray Maynard at UFC 125 and was forced to weather a similar opening round storm in their rematch at UFC 136.

    And he was able to accomplish all of these amazing feats, while fighting in a weight class many feel Edgar is too small for—a notion reinforced after losing his belt to the muscle-bound Benson Henderson.

    Even when Edgar makes the move to featherweight, he will still be one of the ballsiest guys in the sport, especially if he takes on featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.

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