Over the last year or so, there has been a significant trend of fighters calling out competitors in other weight classes in an effort to procure the biggest and most lucrative fights possible. UFC lightweight champ Conor McGregor has flirted with a bout with welterweight king Tyron Woodley. Woodley has eyed fights with McGregor and UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping. Bisping is fighting a former welterweight in Georges St-Pierre. Former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones briefly eyed a heavyweight fight with Brock Lesnar. The list goes on. And while this trend seems to aggravate many members of the MMA community, current Bellator light heavyweight star Chael Sonnen, who foresees a heavyweight scrap with Fedor Emelianenko down the road, is all for it.
“Just before you and I got on the phone today I was reading something about a St-Pierre versus McGregor matchup, and I love that,” Sonnen said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “I have a little bit of resentment because of the fights that we missed because of where the sport was at, and [the UFC] specifically, they weren’t willing to change guys’ weight classes. What comes to mind is Matt Hughes versus Anderson Silva, also Anderson Silva versus Jon Jones. Those were matchups that the athletes were willing to do, the fighters wanted to see, the media wanted to see, but the promotion was pretty locked in on the policy of everybody stays in their own division.”
Needless to say, this policy seems to have loosened up of late. Bellator boss Scott Coker has been particularly open to fighters changing weight classes, and Sonnen is very happy about that.
“I’m happy to see where the sport’s going,” Sonnen said. “Scott Coker specifically, if there’s a big matchup and the fans want to see it, he’ll sign it.”
Do you share Chael Sonnen’s excitement about fighters drifting from one weight class to another?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/30/2017.