Chael Sonnen knows a thing or two about marketing himself as an elite fighter.
Yes, Sonnen has put Anderson Silva through the most difficult challenge – inside the Octagon – of his UFC career, but he will likely be remembered more for the way he provoked “The Spider” outside of all that.
The UFC has taken to listening to fighters such as Sonnen when it comes time to make high-profile and championship matches, because that is what feed the masses.
In the featherweight division, Ricardo Lamas has reeled off three straight impressive victories and appeared poised to become the No. 1 contender. One text later, and Lamas is on the outside looking in at a match between Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis.
Sonnen, the new host of UFC Tonight, explained the reasoning behind this going down the way it did.
The best fighter in the world is also the one the fans want to see the most – at least 99.9-percent of the time. Go to Lamas’ Twitter page. He has 3,200 followers. Whether he’s beaten guys or not, if nobody knows he exists, nobody knows he exists. I think he’s an excellent fighter, but I also heard his name for the first time a week ago when he fought on Fox.
Pettis, a former WEC lightweight champion and the top contender in the UFC’s 155-pound division, doesn’t plan to remain at featherweight forever; he just wanted the opportunity to compete for a title instead of waiting around again.