Almost as soon as the rumours broke that Chael Sonnen would likely battle light heavyweight Lyoto Machida at UFC 136 on October 8th in Houston, Texas, UFC.com quickly nixed them by announcing that in fact Sonnen would face rising star Brian Stann in a middleweight fight on that show instead. The winner would likely be first in line for a shot at the UFC middleweight title after Yushin Okami gets his opportunity to unseat current champion Anderson Silva at UFC 134 in the latter's home country of Brazil.
The key to the fight may be in the hands of the Texas commission. If they naively sanction his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that Sonnen still insists he needs for his survival without forcing him to pass a series of strict medical tests, then there is a very strong chance that he could recapture the form that saw him dominate Anderson Silva for over four rounds at UFC 117 and easily win a decision victory over Stann by outwrestling him. Indeed, Stann has shown a weakness against high calibre wrestlers in the past, as he was decisively handled by Phil Davis at UFC 109, though I'm sure Stann will have been working hard on his takedown defence since that embarrassing defeat. Without the "medicine" which turned his career around, Sonnen may turn out to be an arrogant Emperor with no clothes and become the third person in a row to be finished by the improving Stann.
If Sonnen can't get past Stann, then his recent sit down interview with
Gene Okerlund Ariel Helwani, which can be viewed after the jump, will have largely been a waste. Unable to fight his first choice opponent in Machida and failing to get a rematch with Anderson Silva would mean that his recent online and verbal trolling of them and fellow Brazilian fighters Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would have been all for naught. Just a word of warning before you watch his interview promo. Remember kids this was done for entertainment purposes only, because we all know that continued TRT shadiness, homophobia and xenophobia are all laughing matters in 2011 and good for the image of the sport.