It's barely been 24 hours since Chael Sonnen and Scott Coker shocked the MMA world with their announcement that Sonnen had been signed to Bellator.
For a guy like Sonnen, you can match him up with basically any living, beathing being, and he would sell every seat in the building. He is one of the best talkers in the game and laid the blueprint for fighters like Conor McGregor and full-heel Ronda Rousey. Now that he's in Bellator, the world is Sonnen's oyster, and at multiple weights and perhaps in a different country.
Here are five top fights to make for Sonnen as soon as possible.
5. Tito Ortiz
The "American Gangster" himself has already said that it's the 'Bad Boy' versus the 'Bad Guy' on November first. With Tito Ortiz looking to get out of the game soon, this would be a big (money and name) fight that he'd be looking for.
This scrap would be worth it just for the trash talk alone. Bellator could do a press conference every day of the week for this fight and people would tune in every single time. With Sonnen's last fight being in 2013 (coincidentally in November as well), it'd be a great way to get back into the game.
4. Rampage Jackson
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is another guy that would make sense to match Sonnen against. He's another big name that draws eyeballs with a larger-than-life persona, wearing chains and acting crazy in a way gets people interested.
Since returning to Bellator from the UFC, Jackson has managed to string together five straight wins. Well, one of those was also in UFC, but wasn't supposed to be. There was a contract dispute and some legal trouble, but Rampage ended up right back in the organization in June of this year where he earned a split decision against Satoshi Ishi.
3. Rory MacDonald
This may be one of the most dangerous fights for both men. Rory MacDonald just signed at the end of August and wants the Welterweight title shot first, but is open to other weights as well ...even at "gangster weight."
A young lion versus older gangster fight from both guys who were top fighters in the UFC would be incredible. There is a risk of tarnishing both new signees, but MMA is chaos now, so we can let it slide. MacDonald has said he would take an entire year off before his first fight in order to let his nose heal; a nose that Robbie Lawler laid waste to at UFC 189.
You can watch that entire, insane bloodfest here.
2. Fedor Emelianenko
There are still few fights that are as big as a fight with Fedor Emelianenko.
Bellator president, Scott Coker mentioned Fedor's name along with others as opponents they had in mind for Sonnen. In the Bellator media conference call today, Sonnen said that he didn't believe any of Fedor Emelianneko's fights in Japan were real. Regarding his last fight with Fabio Maldonado, Sonnen said the ref had an ear piece and trashed the commission (which was run and appointed by Fedor himself).
This is probably the least likely fight to happen on the list, but certainly one of the biggest, if it comes together. With Fedor going from Japan to Russia, and forever infamous for being a difficult in negotiations, who knows if it could ever truly come together.
There is still that $2 million rumor that Fedor may appear on the Rizin card for New Years Eve, though.
1. Wanderlei Silva
One of the biggest grudge matches ever in the history of the UFC has to conclude in Bellator. It absolutely has to. This is unequivocally the best fight to make.
The story is all there, it's built in and one foul remark from Sonnen would light the wild fire again. You're talking about a season of The Ultimate Fighter that originally had Wanderlei Silva so enraged that he was going to quit on air. The amount of time invested in this feud is worth revisiting, considering that it never resulted in a fight.
Silva had issues with his "lifetime ban" from MMA, which is why he is fighting in Rizin currently. However, that ban was reduced to a three-year suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission retroactive to May 24, 2014. That means Silva is able to fight as early May 25, 2017. No matter what, though, Sonnen said he'd "find that son of a bitch wherever he goes" on the conference call.
The time frame lines up, the bad blood is there, you've got two names, violence and a pile of money. If Ortiz truly is first, this is the fight you make six months right after.