Looking back at Chael Sonnen’s top feuds and fights of his storied career
“If you never go too far, you will never go far enough.” Was a motto “The American Gangster” lived by, which made him one of the best talkers in MMA history.
Chael is undefeated and undisputed in the world of trash talk and was the first to really do it in mixd martial arts, years before Conor McGregor made it famous. With Chael’s recent retirement at Bellator 222 below is a list of the most entertaining feuds and fights in his 49-fight career.
#5. Nate Marquardt
While this was certainly not the most entertaining feud in terms of the trash talk, it was a dominant win for Sonnen. Winning Fight of the Night, this was one of Chael’s most dominant wins against the 29-9-2 Nate Marquardt. It was an eliminator for the middleweight championship and Chael imposed his will on Nate, dominating him the entire fight. His superior wrestling ability was on full display as he smothered Nate for 3 full rounds. He did not get the finish but in many ways, to dominate your opponent over 3-5 rounds is a lot more impressive then landing a good punch or locking in a quick submission.
Out of Chael’s 29 wins in the UFC, this is certainly one of his most impressive and definitely established him as a dangerous wrestler at the time.
#4. Tito Ortiz
Now we get into the trash talk. Chael has never defeated Tito in the Octagon, but has consistently thrown championship-level insults at the interesting personality that is Tito Ortiz. These two have only met in the Octagon once at Bellator 170 where Chael lost via submission. However, if you have not seen their pre-fight press conference, the trash talk from Chael is the stuff of legends, even making Bellator president Scott Coker react several times.
Wins in the UFC are obviously extremely important, but when this feud is mentioned the trash talk from Chael is remembered more than the win by Tito. Just to give you a little taste of this hilarious press conference here is one quote from the Bad Guy: “Tito always says I’m using my mouth to get my opportunities, the only person I know that made money using their mouth is his ex-wife [Jenna Jameson].”
#3. Jon Jones
Jon Jones is one of the greatest of all-time, but he had to clash with the best of West Linn, Oregon in 2013. As is the case with my next entrant, Jones and Sonnen were coaches on the Ultimate Fighter in 2013. To no surprise, Jones and Sonnen didn’t quite get along. You can’t always tell when a fighter get’s under their opponents skin, but you could tell Jones did not like Ol’ Chael. They would do face-to-face interviews and Jones wouldn’t even look at him, Chael really got under Jon’s skin which led to a very entertaining feud.
They would fight at UFC 159 where Chael did lose in dominant fashion, but being dominated by one of the GOAT’s is nothing to be ashamed of. We don’t get to see many real feuds with Jon other than DC, so looking back this was a highly entertaining feud, even if Chael didn’t get the win. His stock definitely rose that night.
#2. Wanderlei Silva
Now we start to get into the cream of the crop of the Chael trash talk. Chael and Silva were coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil in 2013, and would later fight at Bellator 180 where Chael would pick up the win. When it comes to Chael’s legendary trash talk, his feud with Wanderlei produced some of the best. I encourage you to watch that season of the Ultimate Fighter, even if it is only for Chael, because it’s fantastic.
Their Bellator fight was not the best fight of all-time, but the whole feud made for such good theatrics. There is some debate in 2019 about entertainment vs sport when it comes to the UFC, but no matter what side of that spectrum you are, you had to find Chael’s insults towards Silva fun to watch.
#1. Anderson Silva
Was there any doubt who number one would be? This is not only Chael’s best rivalry, but it is also Anderson’s in my opinion.
When you look at the best feuds in UFC history, this is right up there with Conor vs Nate. Although Silva does not speak complete English, the trash talk was some of the best we’ve ever seen. The two met at UFC 148 and although Anderson got the win, Sonnen knocked Anderson down a few times and had a phenomenal showing against one of the best. I encourage you to find a compilation of this feud, strictly for the trash talk. Chael was at his highest level here.
Between the incredibly entertaining build up and the impressive showing for Chael P. Sonnen, this is without a doubt his best feud and one that will be remembered by all for years to come.
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The Scrap’s Austin Luff is broadcasting student with a passion for watching and writing about mixed martial arts and professional wrestling. Make sure to follow Austin on Twitter (@Ginger_Guy_).
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