Chael Sonnen knows plenty about the way that title fights are made as he was a three-time UFC title challenger. The mixed martial arts analyst recently expressed why he believes Israel Adesanya’s UFC 293 middleweight title bout loss to Sean Strickland could derail Dricus du Plessis’ opportunity to fight for the belt.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, ‘The American Gangster’ stated:
“[Khamzat] Chimaev versus Paulo Costa just became the No.1 contender’s match. It wasn’t originally. It was the No.1 contender’s match for Chimaev if Chimaev wins and they were going to yank that rug and reveal that to us right after the fight, in case Paulo Costa won, but now because you got a new champion at top, Strickland versus Paulo works all day long. Strickland versus Chimaev, plus they’ve trained together, it works all day long.”
Sonnen, who challenged for UFC titles at both middleweight and light heavyweight, continued:
“That’s going to be the No.1 contender’s match and du Plessis is going to get forgotten yet again… If du Plessis really wanted to do the smart move, he calls for Adesanya. He’s not going to get Adesanya, but he calls for Adesanya as a way of letting the world know this is personal between he and I.”
Check out Chael Sonnen‘s comments on Dricus du Plessis below:
Du Plessis appeared to be next in line for a middleweight title opportunity after defeating Robert Whittaker via second-round TKO at UFC 290. After turning down a UFC 293 bout against Adesanya, however, his path to a title opportunity appears murky, at best.
Chael Sonnen believes Israel Adesanya will receive a rematch against Sean Strickland
While some fans and pundits have expressed that they don’t believe Israel Adesanya deserves an immediate rematch against Sean Strickland, Chael Sonnen is not amongst that group. Speaking to Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour, ‘The American Gangster’ stated:
“I’m doing an immediate rematch for sure because, hey, the bigger thing lost there – getting these two back together, I’m sure they did a fine piece of business and I’m sure next time will be even better, right? The sequel generally does better than the original.”
Check out Chael Sonnen’s comments on the middleweight title picture below (starting at the 10:37 mark):
In the immediate aftermath of the shocking upset, UFC President Dana White expressed that Adesanya will likely be the first to challenge Strickland for the title. Sonnen noted that if ‘The Last Stylebender’ avenges his loss, the division could be held up for the next 12 months.