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Chael Sonnen vs the UFC Rankings

Chael Sonnen vs the UFC Rankings

Chael Sonnen made headlines again this week by stepping in for an injured Lil Nog to take on former #1 (and currant #7) ranked Light Heavyweight Mauricio Shogun Rua.  This will be The Bad Guy’s 11th fight in a row against top 10 talent, and yet he is conspicuously absent from the UFC’s top 10 rankings.  How is a man who continually fights the best in the world and has had 3 title shots in 10 fights NOT ranked in the top 10?

“Simple”, you say.  “Chael no longer fights at Middleweight, so he should no longer be ranked there.”

Excellent point.  But I’ll counter that with Anthony Pettis.  Pettis is currently ranked #2 in the UFC Lightweight rankings even though he is scheduled to take on Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo in his next fight.  It can be argued that Pettis has yet to fight at FW so he should still be ranked in LW, and while I agree, it is in fact true that Sonnen was removed from the MW rankings just before coaching The Ultimate Fighter, when it became clear he would be fighting for the LHW belt.  With Pettis already slotted into the headlining bout at UFC 163, shouldn’t his name be removed form the LW rankings?

“But,” you say, “Chael can’t be ranked at Light Heavyweight because he hasn’t beaten any LHW’s.”

Although Chael owns an overall winning record at LHW, it has been some number of years since he has beaten anyone of note in the weight class.  And yet, he at least has a history at LHW unlike Frankie Edgar and the Featherweight division where he is currently ranked #3.  Frankie and Chael both sat at the top of their divisions only losing to the champion, twice, and both moved to a new weight class where they immediately challenged for the title only to come up short.  Yet Edgar, who only has 1 win in the past 3 years and has never won a fight at FW, is considered a top contender while Sonnen is still in rankings limbo.

With an “anyone, anytime” attitude, Chael has positioned himself to break into the top 10 of the LHW division with a win over Rua at UFC 161.  Some think he should already be there.

  • MickeyC says:

    You should all know the rules do not apply to Chael. Any rules.

  • soundspawn says:

    MickeyC is right, this is a man who walked around with a championship belt after losing his title shot and being suspended… either of which would strip a lesser man of said belt.

  • THEGUNNER says:

    Ranks are for title contenders. Chael isnt one.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i say fuck him, and hasnt Shogun been pulled from the card as well now?

  • Richard Stabone says:

    How many years has it been since Chael won a fight at LHW, and who did he beat? That’s why he’s not ranked in the LHW division. Some things need to be earned, even for Mr. Sonnen.

    I agree with the general consensus that Shogun is (would have been?) a really good matchup for Chael’s next fight. Shogun has fought 10 times under the UFC banner, posting a 5-5 record in which he’s basically alternated wins & losses during his UFC run. Chael is still looking for his first LHW victory in the UFC. A win for either guy isn’t particularly relevant to the LHW title picture, but if people want to argue that it should solidify a spot among the bottom half of the top-10… ehh, sure, whatever.

    I like that matchup better than the Wanderlei fight. At this stage of Wandy’s career I’d rather see the UFC continue to match him up with fellow strikers (Rampage, Bisping, Leben, Cung Le, Stann) which has continually delivered action-packed fights, rather than seeing if Chael can hold onto him for 3 rounds. Exciting fights are much more interesting to me than silly drama happening outside the cage.

  • MCM says:

    I wrote the piece before any news of this fight being off 161 came out.

    @Richard, I agree that things should be earned. But how does one explain Edgar being ranked #3 in a division in which He’s never won a fight? I’m all for fairness, so either rank Sonnen or unrank Edgar, right?

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Sure, if there was some general rule that stated a fighter must have competed within a weight class in order to have a place among its top-10 rankings, I would support that. But what does it really matter? So Frankie gets a spot in the top-10 of his new division and Chael doesn’t. Big friggin deal… both got a title shot, which is what matters. The rankings become an afterthought, as the UFC continues to make the ranking system less & less relevant.


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