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Sonnen says he knows who CM Punk's 1st opponent will be & it's not a 'bottom tier guy'

Chael Sonnen says he knows who CM Punk's first opponent will be and it's someone MMA fans know and recognize.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night was more than just the date of UFC 181. It was the date the UFC decided that it was going to go public with a huge announcement, the signing of pro-wrestling superstar, CM Punk aka Phil Brooks. For pro-wrestling fans, it's a win because not only do they have an outlet to see a beloved personality, it's also a big deal to have another of their icons cross over into a legitimate sport.

For MMA fans, the signing is a joke, laughed at and ridiculed by some of the most respected names on the UFC fighter roster, as well as by journalists, analysts and fans. Who do you pair him up with? He has no real wrestling credentials, no fighting credentials, is winding down the last leg of his physical potential at age 36, and by the comments made from Ralek Gracie, he treats BJJ as more of a hobby than a legitimate, useful career skill.

Will the UFC have to bring in an outside athlete to mark a comparable skill level? According to former middleweight superstar, Chael Sonnen, he already has the answer to the burning question on everybody's brain; who will be Brooks' first opponent in the Octagon?

MMA Mania's Michael Stets caught up with Sonnen yesterday in a fantastic interview, who had this to say:

"Dana doesn't do the oddity fights and every few years he will," Sonnen said. "Every few years he will do something and give a chance to do something that is more based around fun than anything else. James Toney comes to mind. Way back before James Toney, it was back in 2005 they brought a guy in by the name Sean Gannon, who was a police officer that beat a guy named Kimbo Slice in this video that got put on YouTube and 'went viral' as the kids say. Every so often somebody's lucky number comes up and they do something that is more based on fun. I think that is pretty clearly what is happening here.

"When James Toney came in, they gave him Randy Couture and I was pumped. It was still unknown even though it was just a few years ago. It was just a little bit unknown. Can this boxer land that one punch? Can one punch finish an MMA guy? I thought there were still questions. It reminded me of the 90's, when things just kept going. I think there will be some attention for it. I know I am excited for it. I can tell you this, it doesn't make any sense to put him against an older guy or an unknown guy.

"For the money that you got to pay him and the attention that is going to bring, he is likely to lose. It does not make sense to do the build up and have him lose to a guy that cannot gain momentum in his own career. If you are going to give a guy a push and put him on a main card or co-main spot, which is where I think they are going to end up. You have to give it to a guy that if he wins and he is expected to win, than he can go on and do something. You can't pay Punk the numbers you are paying him and then try and let it coast. You just can't do it. I think you stick him on a pay-per-view and you have some fun with it and you let him have some fun with it. I think that is what this is about."

According to Sonnen he thinks you could see Brooks debut in April or May and he also teased that he had a good inkling of who he might be put up against saying, "I have a pretty good idea who his opponent is."

"I'm going to keep that close to the vest," he said. "It would not make sense to give him a bottom-tier guy."

Since he wouldn't give a name, Sonnen was pressed on if he knew it was actually a ranked fighter or not.

"Well he is not a bottom-tier guy, I can tell you that," Sonnen said. "You will know who he is and he will be a pretty-heavy favorite to win. Punk is not going to come in as the favorite."

As always, Bloody Elbow will keep our readers posted on this story as more information becomes available.

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