UFC Middleweight Title ContenderEdit
With his impressive upset victory in a war against top contender Nate Marquardt, Sonnen earned a title shot and his next fight was against champion Anderson Silva. He raped Silva for four and a half rounds before being 'submitted' via a triangle choke.
Chael was expected to get the immediate rematch against Anderson Silva he so richly deserved. Unfortunately, he tested positive for steroids after the first fight before the planned second fight could be confirmed. Sonnen has subsequently been suspended for one year by the CSAC. The sentence was reduced to six months.
Sonnen was next set to fight Yoshihiro Akiyama amidst more legal troubles after he pled guilty to money laundering charges. The sentencing would take place ten days after the Akiyama fight. In light of the legal troubles, the UFC suspended Sonnen themselves and the fight was called off. Sonnen was replaced with Nate Marquardt.
At the start of June 2011, Sonnen was still mired in legal troubles. He found time to feud on Twitter quite a bit however.
At the start of July, Sonnen called out former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Machida told Sonnen that he would sign up to fight him immediately. Sonnen accepted, despite having to move up to light-heavyweight in the process.
Instead, the next day Sonnen was announced to be facing fellow middleweight contender Brian Stann at UFC 136. The fight was likely for a shot at Anderson Silva's middleweight title. Sonnen defeated Stann via impressive second round arm triangle choke submission. After the fight, Sonnen called out Anderson Silva for a championship rematch on "Super Bowl weekend" 2012. Sonnen said he wanted to up the stakes this time around and said that "If I beat you, you leave the division. If you beat me, I leave the UFC forever." It was a very professional wrestling-esque speech but not unentertaining by any means.
At the UFC 136 post-fight press conference, Sonnen was quoted as saying he was the UFC middleweight champion and that the fight against Stann had simply been his first title defense. He said that he was willing to give Silva a shot at his title.
Sonnen next tweeted the following: "I ask Brazil for a fight, and Machida answers. I ask for a REAL fight, and a Marine steps up. I see you hiding Lyoto, and I won't forget this." Sonnen apparently still wanted to fight Machida at light-heavyweight in the future.
Machida would have to wait. Sonnen next signed for a rematch against Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship that he claimed was already his. He considered the fight a title defense.
Instead, Silva was out with a shoulder injury until mid-2012. In the meantime, Sonnen next signed for a number-one contender match with Mark Munoz. Sonnen was instead next set to face Mark Munoz. Munoz was injured shortly before the bout was scheduled to take place. The loud-mouthed Englishman Michael Bisping stepped in to replace Munoz. The winner would likely receive the next shot at Anderson Silva. Sonnen defeated Bisping via a controversial unanimous decision, receiving his long-awaited title shot.
Sonnen next fought a rematch against Silva for the UFC middleweight title. For the first round Sonnen looked like the man who nearly beat Silva in 2010, pinning Silva to the canvas and dominating him. In the second round, Sonnen came out kickboxing with arguably the best striker in mixed martial arts. Needless to say, this was a mistake. Sonnen soon learned this fact as he missed a high-risk high-reward spinning back fist and fell to the mat; Silva pounced with ground and pound forcing a second round referee stoppage to retain his belt. The two squashed their rivalry graciously after the fight.
Move to the Light-Heavyweight DivisionEdit
In early August 2012 -- over a month after the Silva rematch -- Sonnen signed to move back up to light-heavyweight and fight a rematch against former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. The fight would take place at the UFC's New Year's Eve event to end 2012 with a bang.
In late August, Sonnen garnered even more fame by offering to replace injured teammate Dan Henderson against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones on just over a week's notice. Jones refused suffering the cancellation of the UFC 151 card and earning ridicule.
Midway through October 2012 Sonnen signed to coach on the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show against Jones at the end of which he would receive a shot at the coveted UFC light-heavyweight title in April 2013.
Jones defeated Sonnen via first round technical knockout. In the post-fight interview, Sonnen didn't seem to be sure of whether he was retiring, staying at light-heavyweight or going back to middleweight.
Sonnen was briefly linked to a light-heavyweight clash with legend Wanderlei Silva before those claims were dashed.
After Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was forced to pull out of a fight against former UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua, Chael predictably offered his services on short notice in typical fashion. The UFC and Rua accepted the offer and Chael stepped in to take the fight on just under two weeks' notice.
The fight was rescheduled and Sonnen defeated Rua via a surprising first round guillotine choke submission before calling out Rua's long-time friend Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen himself was called out by Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis.
Sonnen instead next signed to fight Wanderlei Silva next but it was unclear at first whether the fight would be at light-heavyweight or middleweight. Sonnen then signed to fight his friend Rashad Evans. For months the fight was set and then Sonnen was switched again for the grudge match against Silva, coaching opposite each other on the third season of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil. Sonnen ended up fighting Evans after the TUF season had been filmed, although his fight with Silva was still scheduled for after the series finished airing.
Evans defeated Sonnen via a cringe-inducing first round technical knockout. Sonnen seemed unfazed continuing to trash-talk Silva ahead of their potential matchup and TUF season airing.
Testing Scandals and Subsequent RetirementEdit
Wanderlei ended up pulling out of their scheduled fight predictably in late May 2014 and he was replaced by former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort. Sonnen himself tested positive for banned substances and was pulled from the Belfort fight which had been a 185 lb one number one contender fight.
Sonnen then announced his retirement from mixed martial arts just a couple of days afterwards in mid June 2014 at the age of 37.
Out of Retirement and Into Bellator Edit
In mid September 2016, over two years after officially retiring, Sonnen announced that he was returning to the sport and even more surprisingly signed with the UFC's competitor Bellator MMA. He expressed interest in fighting former UFC light-heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz for his Bellator debut.
The fight with Ortiz was soon signed for a January 2017 Bellator event and Bellator president Scott Coker also hinted heavily that the long-awaited fight between Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva would more than likely take place in Bellator later in 2017.
Ortiz defeated Sonnen via first round rear-naked choke submission after a bizarre fight that some - very vocally - suspected of being "fixed." Sonnen loudly denied the claims.
A few months after the Ortiz loss Sonnen signed for a June fight with Wanderlei Silva, headlining the biggest Bellator card to date on pay-per-view in Madison Square Garden.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Jason Miller
- Forrest Griffin vs. Chael Sonnen - The fight was in the quarterfinals of the IFC light-heavyweight tournament.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Greg Curnut
- Jeremy Horn vs. Chael Sonnen 2
- Terry Martin vs. Chael Sonnen
- Chael Sonnen vs. Trevor Prangley 2 - After the fight, Trevor Prangley was cut from the UFC for the final time.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Alexey Oleinik
- Chael Sonnen vs. Tim McKenzie
- Chael Sonnen vs. Amar Suloev
- Chael Sonnen vs. Paulo Filho 1 - The fight was for the WEC middleweight title with Paulo Filho the defending champion. Filho's victory was controversial because Sonnen did not appear to tap out, but yelled while the armbar was placed, and the referee took this as a verbal submission. Sonnen later agreed with the referee's stoppage. The referee was Josh Rosenthal.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Bryan Baker - The fight was Bryan Baker's first loss.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Paulo Filho 2 - The fight was originally scheduled for Paulo Filho's WEC middleweight title, but the fight was instead fought at a 189 pound catchweight, and switched to a non-title bout after Filho failed to make weight. Throughout the fight, Filho seemed disturbed, disoriented and just plain confused. Filho announced after the fight that he would ship Sonnen the championship belt regardless of the non-title bout. The fight was the last fight in the WEC for both men. Filho also came into the fight undefeated and this was his first career loss and his only loss thus far.
- Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen - The fight was veteran Sonnen's return to the UFC.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Dan Miller - Sonnen was a relatively late replacement for an injured Yushin Okami.
- Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen - Many thought Yushin Okami would simply run through Sonnen with a dominant decision. They were right about the dominant decision and the running through, but it wasn't on the part of Okami.
- Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen - The fight was for the number-one contendership in the middleweight division. The fight was a huge upset with Sonnen taking a dominant unanimous decision over the highly favored Nate Marquardt.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva 1 - The fight was for the UFC middleweight title with Anderson Silva defending. Sonnen beat Silva for four and a half rounds dominantly before Silva locked up a controversial triangle choke in the last two minutes of a fight that was heading to a decision that Sonnen had on lockdown.
- Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann
- Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping - Michael Bisping was a late replacement for an injured Mark Munoz. The winner of the fight would receive the next title shot against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The fight was considered a controversial decision by some.
- Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen - The fight was for the UFC light-heavyweight title with Jon Jones defending.
- "I really don't know what happened. I came in second." - Chael after the first Anderson Silva fight.
- "I'm sore, tired, under the weather, over trained, under motivated and still tough enough to beat this guy.”
- "Send anyone you want, just don't send anyone you want back."