CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA – Chael Sonnen is in a state of purgatory after failing, for a second time, to capture the UFC middleweight championship from Anderson Silva at UFC 148 earlier this month.
Sonnen is still one of the very best 185-pound fighters on the planet, but dropping two fights to the reigning champion is never good for a fighter in any division, especially being finished both times.
Since the July 7 defeat to Silva, the 36-year-old has been vocal about his future options, whether it is retirement, trying to make another run in the middleweight division, or moving up to light heavyweight for a fresh start.
Sonnen has let his options be known to the public, but what does Sonnen’s boss, UFC president Dana White, think about his future?
"I haven’t talked to Chael since the fight," White told FightCove.com after the UFC 149 pre-fight press conference last Thursday. "I’ve been running all over the place, but I think Chael has a lot of cool options right now."
Even though the Oregon native has lost to Silva twice, he is still the only man to threaten the champion’s unbeaten UFC record, a statement proven by the fact Sonnen has won five of five completed rounds with the Brazilian champion.
When White was asked if Sonnen’s options could possible include a third fight against "The Spider", he didn’t brush the idea off entirely, but his demeanor made it seem unlikely.
"He’s still the only one ever to challenge Anderson Silva…I’d never say never, anything’s possible." White stated. "(Silva) beat him twice, it’s hard to do a rubber match when the guy is 2-0 on him."
Sonnen is known for exchanging heated verbal comments with anyone who speaks his name in a negative manner, and the latest man to do that is former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. "Rampage" recently said that Sonnen "sucks". A Sonnen vs. Jackson fight could pull huge numbers at the box office, but White believes it is not a fight that is going to happen in the near future, if at all.
"Quinton’s got a fight already," he said. "And then he claims he is leaving (the UFC) forever."
Since the loss to Silva at UFC 148, Sonnen has made several appearances as a co-anchor on FUEL TV's UFC programming like UFC Tonight and pre and post-fight shows for events. With his shining personality and intriguing analysis, the on-screen commentary role is an area Sonnen has excelled in. If Sonnen decides retirement is the way to go, White belives we will be seeing a lot of more him on television.
"Let me tell you what, FOX loves this guy," White explained. "He’s going to end up with a television deal."
No matter what unfolds for Sonnen next, White said the two-time middleweight title challenger has a bright future in the sport no matter what, even if it's as a television broadcaster with the FOX, the UFC's television partner.
"Chael Sonnen’s got an awesome future," the UFC president said to FightCove.com after last Saturday’s UFC 149 post-fight press conference. "The guy’s still one of the best in the world, there are some interesting fights out there if that’s what he choses to do, and FOX loves him."
"When I tell you FOX loves this guy…he’s going to end up with a huge FOX deal, that’s what I believe is going to happen. But it’s his life, we’ll see what he decides."
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow me on Twitter at @FightCoveMike.