It turns out he didn't have to.
The mouthy Republican ex-realtor put on a grappling clinic en route to a dominant second round submission victory over "The All-American" last night (October 8, 2011) in front of a rambunctious crowd at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Yeah, you read that correctly, Sonnen wins via submission.
So how'd he pull it off against the gritty Greg Jackson-trained fighter? And where to both men go from here?
Chael Sonnen made his intentions known immediately when he shot in for a takedown in the first five seconds of the bout. Stann defended him at first but was pressed against the fence in the clinch. When Stann got a little too aggressive throwing big right hands to the body, Sonnen turned him away from the fence and toppled him over directly into side control.
Once on the ground, this wasn't a Chael Sonnen that was content to throw pitter-patter ground and pound from inside Stann's full guard, this was an extremely aggressive Sonnen who was looking to pass, do damage and really work to gain dominant positions.
Watch How Sonnen sticks with Stann as he tries to turtle and sit out of a bad position on the ground. Sonnen is stuck to his back like glue.
Also notice how he slides directly into mount despite Stann's best effort to push on his thighs and keep him from doing just that.
Brian Stann didn't get any room to throw punches until the second round began.
So what did he do with his freedom in the stand-up realm? He throws a weak left leg kick that Sonnen immediately catches, dives forward and blasts him to the canvas with a power double-leg takedown.
This was such a poor choice of attack to get things started for Stann especially considering the fact that Chael Sonnen had attempted to shoot in and take him down in the first few seconds of the first round. He honestly should have known better.
Stann would not fare well on the canvas, giving up mount quickly on the ground.
Eventually, Stann retained full guard and the ref stood them up as he was hunting for a submission. "The All-American" clipped Sonnen with a 1-2 hook combination but the Team Quest fighter shook it off, closed the distance with a clinch against the fence, dropped down, lifted the Iraq war veteran over his head and slammed him to the ground with authority.
From side control, Sonnen would isolate one of Stann's arms with an arm triangle choke and he slickly hopped over Stann to the oppositie wide which allowed him to tighten the choke with greater leverage.
Stann tried to hold out, but his face was beet red and Sonnen was squeezing incredibly hard. It even looked like Stann's right arm was getting torqued as well from collateral damage.
Eventually, "The All-American" couldn't hold out and was forced to tap out and surrender the number one contender position to Sonnen.
For Brian Stann, he simply needs to continue to work his defensive wrestling abilities. He stuffed Sonnen a couple times, but he couldn't keep the fight standing long enough to land that knockout blow he desperately needed. Stann definitely earned this bout, but Sonnen manhandled him on the canvas once he had him there. Despite his improvements, he still needs a lot of work before he can hang with the elite ground fighters in the division.
Expect to see Stann face someone like recent title challenger Yushin Okami to help see where he truly stands in the division. If that's too much, a match against the winner of the Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le bout would make sense, as would Mark Munoz depending if he wins or loses his UFC 138 match against Chris Leben. If he doesn't mind waiting, he could also face the loser of the upcoming fight between Jason Miller and Michael Bisping.
For Chael Sonnen, this was as good as he's ever looked in the Octagon. Despite 14 months away from the cage, he showed absolutely no signs of ring rust. He dominated from start to finish and had his way with Brian Stann once the fight went to the ground. With his stoppage victory, he proved that he's heads and shoulders above the rest of the middleweight division.
With his awesome post-fight speech, it's obvious that the only opponent that would make sense for Chael Sonnen would be a much-anticipated rematch against Anderson Silva. He was minutes away from dethroning the champion last year and he's most certainly earned another crack at "The Spider." Whether the bout will actually take place on Super Bowl weekend is yet to be seen. What we do know is that you can expect the trash talk to be flying and we will be on "Chael Sonnen watch" 24/7 until that fight takes place.
So what did you think Maniacs?
How impressed were you with Chael Sonnen's dominant performance? Are you read for a rematch between him and the champion Anderson Silva?
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.