In the co-main event of Bellator 222, Chael Sonnen will take on Lyoto Machida at light heavyweight. There, it is expected the winner of that fight will take on Ryan Bader for the promotions light heavyweight title. With that said, this could be the last time that Chael Sonnen finds himself within reach of a title shot.
The 42-year-old made a promise to his father before he passed away that he would win a title in a major MMA promotion. After three attempts in the UFC and one in the WEC, he has yet to accomplish it. Sonnen still plans on keeping that promise, for if he doesn’t, he consider himself a failure.
“At this point, I almost regret it and wish I would’ve kept it as a personal motivation for myself,” Sonnen said to MMA Junkie. “It is a lot of pressure. … I will either win the championship, or I will be a failure, I believe that wholeheartedly. I was told when I was 17-years-old by Matt Lindland, we were both on a wrestling quest at that time. But, he told me, ‘You cannot retire unless you win a world championship; you can only quit.’ I don’t want to be a quitter.”
Despite the pressure, Chael Sonnen is rather confident he will leave Madison Square Garden with a win and a title shot. “The American Gangster” knows Lyoto Machida’s style is difficult to adapt to, but he believes his wrestling will dictate the fight and help him get his hand raised.
“Looking at it going in with, say the intimidation factor, he’s right up there because he’s so weird,” Chael Sonnen added. “I don’t have anybody in Portland that does what he does. We don’t do karate. In my mind we settled this debate of wrestlers vs. karate guys in 1993. That’s what I thought happened, but he stuck around, and that’s a credit to him. But somehow he’s found a way to make a sport that sucks effective.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/13/2019.