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Trash talking in MMA has been viewed as a huge factor in the success of the newly-retired Chael Sonnen. The veteran retired after his recent loss to Lyoto Machida on Friday.
With his childhood and life being dedicated to wrestling, Sonnen attended and wrestled for West Linn High School, where he was a state runner-up in 1996. Sonnen went on to attend the University of Oregon to earn his All-American honors and was a two-time Dave Schultz Memorial International Greco-Roman winner. He graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and even had a tryout in professional wrestling at WCW’s Power Plant in 1998.
After getting his record to 7-2-1 with battles against future UFC fighters in Jason Miller and Forrest Griffin, the Oregon native competed for a number of promotions before he arrived in the UFC in 2005.
His UFC debut was a submission loss to Renato Sobral. Sonnen won once and suffered defeat twice before he was cut from the UFC roster. Sonnen then went back to fighting for promotions and defeated names in Oleksiy Oliynyk, Tim McKenzie and Amar Suloev before signing with the WEC.
Sonnen participated in a feud with Paulo Filho, where the two exchanged a win over the other. This brought Sonnen back to the UFC with a record of 23-10-1, where he lost to Demian Maia at UFC 95 in 2008.
Despite the loss to Maia, Sonnen went on to gain victories over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt to earn a crack at the Middleweight title against then-champion Anderson Silva. The bout earned Fight of the Night and Year honors. Sonnen dominated nearly the whole bout before Silva locked in a triangle armbar and retained his championship.
After testing positive for elevated testosterone levels, Sonnen served his one-year suspension. After returning, he defeated Brian Stann and Michael Bisping while calling out Silva in what was seen as an anticipated rematch for the title.
With the rematch granted, Silva won by TKO in the second round. Even with the loss, Sonnen proceeded to fight Jon Jones for the Light Heavyweight title. Despite the loss, Jones suffered a broken toe in the first round.
His time in the UFC came to an end after submitting former Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio Rua. When he lost to another former champion in Rashad Evans, before another failed drug test in the buildup to his fight with Wanderlei Silva, both men were then cut from the UFC. In result, Sonnen announced his first retirement from MMA.
After going through a two-year suspension, Sonnen came out of retirement to compete for Bellator MMA, where he lost to Tito Ortiz. However, Sonnen faced Wanderlei Silva and then defeated him via unanimous decision. The same result came when Sonnen faced another former champion in Quinton Jackson. Sonnen lost in the semifinals of the tournament to Fedor Emelanenko, but still got to face one of the greatest MMA fighters of all-time in the process.
With his drop back down to light heavyweight, Sonnen lost to Lyoto Machida before he announced his retirement from MMA for the second time in his career. With a record of 31-17-1, Sonnen holds wins over multiple former champions and with his dedication to combat sports, it’s safe to say that Sonnen is one of the best to step foot inside of an MMA fight.
Photo Credit: MMA Junkie, Bloody Elbow, Bleacher Report, MMA Junkie