It’s looking like former UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen is preparing for a comeback, as his two-year suspension came to an end last month. Sonnen recently entered the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s [USADA} testing pool, and according to “The American Gangster” himself, his first USADA test has come back, and it revealed that he was “basically clean.”
At 39 years-0ld, it doesn’t seem likely that Sonnen will be able to climb up the middleweight ranks, and once again challenge for the 185-pound title, but after Michael Bisping, who Sonnen has a victory over, shockingly defeated Luke Rockhold to win the Middleweight Championship back at UFC 199, it became clear that anything is possible in the UFC’s middleweight division.
Over the past couple of months, Sonnen has named a few guys that he would like to step into the Octagon with if he ever decided to come back, one of which was Wanderlei Silva, which is a fight that probably won’t happen, because Wanderlei is no longer with the UFC.
So, who will Sonnen end up fighting upon his return? Well, there are five names that come to mind.
- Georges St-Pierre
Like Chael Sonnen, Georges St-Pierre is also preparing for a UFC comeback, as it has been reported that he recently enrolled in the USADA drug-testing program. Furthermore, GSP’s fight kit has recently become available on the UFC’s website. So, it’s pretty clear that the former Welterweight Champion is going to be back in the Octagon fairly soon.
Last month, Sonnen said that he would “love to kick GSP’s a**.” Then, in a later interview, he backed off a bit. However, he did say that if he wanted that fight, he’d probably be able to get it. But, GSP and Sonnen are in two completely different weight classes, so while a fight between the two would do big business, it would do either of them any good if they’re trying to get title matches in their respective divisions.
- Michael Bisping
As noted in the intro, Chael Sonnen does hold a victory over Michael Bisping, as Sonnen earned a controversial split-decision victory over the current Middleweight Champ back at UFC on Fox 2 in January of 2012.
It’s not likely that Sonnen will get a shot at the title upon his return due to the fact that he’s coming off of a devastating knockout loss to Rashad Evans. But Sonnen has earned a title shot coming off of a loss before, so it’s not out of the question.
Also, it’s worth noting that Michael Bisping may not be the UFC Middleweight Champion when Sonnen does return to the Octagon, because he’s set to defend his title against Dan Henderson, who famously knocked Bisping out back at UFC 100.
- Vitor Belfort
Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen have had issues for many years, but they’ve yet to resolve them inside the Octagon, but Sonnen has said that he would like to change that if he returns to the UFC.
Currently, Vitor isn’t exactly a contender for the Middleweight Championship, but he is still one of the division’s biggest names, so a fight between him and Sonnen would make a ton of sense.
- Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz’s suspension has just ended, and he’s looking to come back and do a big money fight, and a fight with Chael Sonnen would certainly be a big money fight.
Diaz has fought at welterweight for the majority of his mixed-martial-arts career, but he has fought at middleweight a couple of times, most recently against Anderson Silva.
If Sonnen vs. Diaz were to get made, the talking leading up to the fight would be on par with the talking between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor, but would it draw as much money? Probably not because of the fact that both men are coming off of losses, and because neither of them are currently title contenders.
- Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen have fought twice, and even though Silva ended up getting his hand raised in both bouts, Sonnen certainly gave the former Middleweight Champion a run for his money both times.
Sonnen has expressed his desire to have a third fight with Anderson Silva, and the fight may end up happening if Sonnen returns to the UFC.
[Image via Esther Lin / MMA Fighting]