Instead, it’s been heavily rumored this week that Sonnen will face off against Mark Munoz at UFC on FOX 2 on Jan. 28. MMAInterviews.tv were the first ones to go on the record claiming that the fight was in the works and MMA Mania has since confirmed it with “sources close to the contest.”
While I’m hesitant to jump to the conclusion that this bout is set in stone, there does seem to be a lot of smoke surrounding this particular rumor. Furthermore, Dana White stated this past weekend that Sonnen’s participation on the UFC on FOX 2 was “possible” when asked about the rumors, so it definitely sounds plausible.
If it’s true, Chael Sonnen doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, despite his recent “acceptance” of Anderson Silva’s challenge to fight in Brazil. Sonnen told ESPN1100/98.9 FM a couple weeks ago that he was fine with taking another fight before getting his rematch with Silva.
“I’m not going to sit around and wait for him. […] I don’t just need the title, I need to be the best fighter in the world. If there’s someone who can knock me off and beat me then I don’t deserve to be there. So god bless them and let that guy have his shot,” said Sonnen.
You certainly won’t hear any complaints from Mark Munoz either. After his victory over Chris Leben at UFC 138, Munoz declared that he deserves a title shot way more than Chael Sonnen does. Munoz won’t leapfrog Sonnen, but he’ll at least get the opportunity to prove he’s more deserving if the fight pans out.
Munoz seems pretty confident that he’ll knock Sonnen out of the top contenders spot too. In a recent interview with CSN’s Fight Fix, Munoz recounted how he was beating Sonnen “pretty handily” in an amateur wrestling match when they were in college until Sonnen attempted an illegal heel hook that “popped” Munoz’s ankle.
“We competed in college together. He wrestled at Oregon University, I wrestled at Oklahoma State. We end up going at it and I end up beating him pretty handily. But in that, he tried to submit me in a kneebar and then changed it into an ankle lock. No, sorry, a heel hook. Not a legal move in wrestling. He tried doing that to me and I felt my ankle pop and was like ‘aah’ and I knew that he did it so that he could try to come back. I was actually beating him pretty handily. I got upset during that match and was just ruthless in that fight afterwards.
Years later we end up having dinner together and my wife is sitting at the table and she gets pretty upset, saying ‘What’s Chael Sonnen doing here? I hate that guy; he tried to hurt my husband.’ Out of the blue, she said ‘So, can you tell me why you did that?’ He pretty much explained himself and… he’s a good guy, man. He was like ‘Can you blame me? I was getting beat!’ So I guess…if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”
Man, it would be a heck of a gamble if this the direction the UFC is going in. They could just sit Sonnen out until June and put him in the title fight with Silva in Brazil and do huge business at the gate. With great risk comes great reward though. If Sonnen were to win on FOX and whip another epic post-fight challenge to Silva with millions of people watching, Silva vs. Sonnen 2 could very well become one of the biggest, if not the biggest fight in UFC history. Of course, if Sonnen loses, they risk losing it all, so yeah, quite the gamble.
We’ll let you know if it pans out or not.
While some sites are reporting it as a done deal according to their sources, BE spoke to Mr. Sonnen himself and he says the bout has not been confirmed or signed. A matchup with Munoz remains a possibility, but nothing has been set in stone as of late last night.