39-year-old Chael Sonnen has reportedly signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA. According to the news, Sonnen was given a release from UFC. He last competed at UFC 167 three years ago in getting stopped in round one by Rashad Evans in November 2013. It’s pretty surprising that Sonnen has inked with Bellator, considering his advanced age and the fact that he’s been out of the MMA sport for such a long period of time.
You can argue that Sonnen (29-14-1) is the equivalent of a journeyman at this point in his career, because he’s been around the MMA sport for a long, long time, and he’s had mixed results. Sonnen has been in big championship level fights in the UFC, but he’s always lost, which is unfortunate, because he’s always been a very good fighter. Sonnen has come up short quite a bit during his career, and it’s not likely that he’s going to get positive results at 39 with him having been out of the sport for such a lengthy period of time.
“Chael is an incredible athlete that has competed at the very highest levels of the sport,” Bellator MMA President Scott Coker said via mmafighting.com, “and I know that he is going to continue to do just that here at Bellator. When we were signing him, Chael was adamant that he wants to compete in three divisions here. He already has unfinished business with Wanderlei Silva, but he also wants to fight guys like Tito Ortiz, Fedor Emelianenko and even Rory MacDonald at middleweight. These are all fights that I’d be very inclined to watch, so hopefully we can put some, if not all of these match-ups together starting before the end of the year.”
Sonnen has lost four out of his last seven fights in the last three year years of his MMA career. His losses came at the hands of Anderson Silva [x 2], Jon Jones and Rashad Evans. The careers of Evans and Silva have gone downhill rapidly in recent years. It would be interesting if Sonnen could fight them again.
You would have to give him a chance of beating one of them if he can regain his top form from 2009. Heck, even if Sonnen isn’t able to get back to fighting at his best, he still might beat Silva and Evans, because both of them are fighting so poorly at this point in their careers. The only question is whether Sonnen could fight UFC guys with him now signed to Bellator.