Chael Sonnen is convinced that he’s the true UFC middleweight champion and, after absolutely trouncing Brian Stann tonight at UFC 136, he will likely get a second shot to make it official. The bout between Sonnen and Stann was tentatively pegged as a title eliminator, but considering Sonnen’s dominance tonight (as well as their long history), it would be hard to justify anyone else stepping into the cage next against UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
Sonnen ran through Stann like he had somewhere to be; repeatedly closing the distance on the All-American and dumping him to the mat, where he proceeded to run a grappling clinic. The Oregonian stuck with what he does best, grinding his opponents down with constant pressure and offense. The hard-nosed battler wasn’t content with taking home a decision tonight though, as he applied an arm triangle choke as soon as he’d broken Stann down enough to force the opportunity; the former U.S. Marine Corps Captain tried to hang tough, but the finish was inevitable. The time was 3:51 of the second round.
After the decision was read, Sonnen met with Joe Rogan, who asked him to discuss his impressive win. Instead, Sonnen channeled his inner-professional wrestler and went right into calling out his biggest rival: UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who was sitting in the crowd tonight at the Toyota Center.
“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck,” Chael asserted. “Super Bowl weekend, the biggest rematch in the business. I’m calling you out Silva, but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I leave the UFC forever.”
Sonnen has done his best to be Silva’s foil, egging him on even before their initial UFC 117 match-up was announced last summer. When they finally met in the cage, after one of the most entertaining (thanks mostly to Sonnen) fight build-ups in UFC history, Sonnen took it to the champion like no one before him: he essentially pounded on the champ for the majority of five rounds before falling to his biggest weakness, a triangle choke, which was applied just as the belt seemed to be in his grasp.
Since then and until tonight, Sonnen fought his battles outside of the Octagon, owing to hot water he got himself into with both the California State Athletic Commission and the U.S. federal government. Those chapters appear to be closed though, and Sonnen is itching to capture the belt which he believes is rightfully his already.