Chael Sonnen hoping to join the company of Hulk Hogan, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali with Bellator HWGP win

Chael Sonnen, Fedor Emelianenko

The MMA career of Chael Sonnen is one for the history books. He’s bested opponents like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Michael Bisping, Brian Stann, Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami and Alexey Oleynik. He’s battled legends like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. He helped revolutionize the way fighters promote themselves, ushering in an era of trash talk and showmanship that, though long present in boxing and pro wrestling, had not yet taken hold in MMA.

If there’s one thing that has eluded Chael Sonnen over the course of his legendary MMA career, however, it’s a major world title. Though he has fought for titles in WEC and the UFC, he’s never managed to wrap a gold belt around his waist in a major promotion.

He’s currently working on changing that.

Having defeated ‘Rampage’ by decision earlier this year, Chael Sonnen is now in the second round of Bellator’s exciting Heavyweight Grand Prix. Tomorrow night, he’ll look to clinch a spot in the finals by defeating a bona fide god of MMA in Fedor Emelianenko. If he’s successful against Fedor, he’ll then battle the winner of Ryan Bader and Matt Mitrione’s fight sometime in the new year. And if he wins that fight, he can call himself the Bellator heavyweight champion.

For Chael Sonnen, winning the Bellator heavyweight title would be a career-defining accomplishment, and he looks at it as a chance to join the company of Hulk Hogan, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, all of whom wore heavyweight gold in their respective sports.

“The heavyweight world champion… that’s something I can get behind right there,” Chael Sonnen said in a promotional clip for his Bellator 208 fight with Fedor. “I’ve fought for world championships. They’re meaningful and they’re important, and they’re something that only dreams are made of. But the heavyweight world championship is something completely different. That’s the one that Hulk Hogan had, that’s the one that ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson had, that’s the one that Muhammad Ali had. That is the most coveted prize in all of sports, and that’s just the reality.”

Do you think “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen can capture Bellator heavyweight gold in the promotion’s exciting heavyweight Grand Prix?

He’ll look to take the next step in that direction when he battles Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 208 tomorrow night. The fight airs on The Paramount Network and DAZN.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/12/2018.