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Monday Mailbag: Sonnen's next move; Women in the UFC?


Bit of a light mailbag this week for various reasons, but we still cover some important subjects - women in the UFC, middleweight contenders and Sonnen’s next move. Answers this week provided by staff writer Paul Quigley:

David Jaques - Where does Chael [Sonnen] go from here? Does he move weight like [Rich] Franklin or wait until [Anderson] Silva runs out his contract before making another title run? And who's left in LHW division if Jones dominates Hendo?

Sonnen has already hinted at a move up to light heavyweight, and I personally think this would be a good move for him at this point in his career. He has competed at 205lbs in the past and has even won a couple of championships in minor promotions at that weight.

I honestly think Chael has gone about as far as he can go in the UFC's middleweight division. He's proven himself to be one of the best 185-pounders in the world, arguably the second best of all time, but the always honest 'American Gangster' has made it quite clear that 'second best' isn't a title that satisfies him.

Since it looks like he'll never be king in his current division so long as Anderson reigns supreme, a move up in weight would at least open the door for Sonnen to the opportunity of another title run.

As for who's left for Jones at LHW, assuming he gets past Dan Henderson, there are always new guys coming up in the fast-moving sport of MMA. Off the top of my head, recent UFC signings Jimi Manuwa and Glover Teixeira both pose interesting challenges for 'Bones' Jones and are both coming into the promotion with a lot of hype behind them from more knowledgeable fight fans.

And if no fresh competition makes it to the title in time to challenge the current champ, he could always take a page out of Sonnen's book and move up.

David Kazimierczak-Morfoot - Will there ever be female fighters in the UFC? Is there enough competition for Ronda Rousey?

Considering the amount of attention women's MMA, and particularly Miss Rousey, has received from MMA media and fans in the past year or so, I believe the UFC would be foolish not to incorporate at least one women's division into their ranks in the near future.

There is an undeniable demand for more female action in MMA and we are now starting to see a real boom in the women's side of the sport.

There are already other promoters out there who have seen the potential for this relatively new market and pounced on the chance to make something big (if you haven't already, check out Invicta FC). When the UFC finally realise the amount of money there is to be made from women's MMA, I'm sure they'll join the party.

Concerning the number of potential challengers for current Strikeforce 135lb champ Ronda Rousey, just as is the case with the men, there are always plenty of hungry up-and-coming athletes in this sport. It's the same story every time; just as things are starting to look shallow, a new contender emerges. The only question that remains to be answered is "who's next?"

Andrew Skaife - Who do you think is next in line for Anderson Silva? So many to pick from; winner of Boetsch/Lombard, Weidman, Stann, Bisping, Belcher…

Of the six men you've mentioned, four of them both shocked and impressed me in equal measure with their most recent performances, those men being Boetsch, Weidman, Bisping and Belcher. However, I still feel that every one of those individuals, along with Lombard and Stann, is at least one more win away from a shot at Silva's middleweight championship.

If I had to choose Anderson's next opponent right now, based on both the fighter's skill set and his last performance, I'd have to go with Chris Weidman. Weidman not only displayed incredible wrestling and striking ability in his KO victory over Mark Munoz, but showed that he is capable of transitioning between the two disciplines and mixing things up nicely.

Having said that, with just nine pro fights under his belt, I think the All-American wrestler lacks the experience to take on a veteran champion like Anderson and it would be a shame to see him knocked back to square one when he's on such a roll. The UFC should give him more time to develop instead of rushing him.

Realistically speaking, the most likely next opponent for Anderson Silva will be the winner of either Boetsch vs Lombard or Bisping vs Stann. It will all depend on which fighter wins in the most convincing fashion.

@RianMac - What do you think is the best match up for Nick Diaz when, or if he returns... title shot? Or a contender maybe?

I don't think it would be right to give Diaz an immediate title shot if he returns, no matter how much fans want to see him fight GSP, myself included (assuming GSP beats Condit, which I predict he will).

It would make more sense to have him fight another top welterweight for the number-one contender spot. The landscape can change incredibly quickly in MMA, so who knows who the top guys will be by the time Nick Diaz steps back in the Octagon.

Based on the current state of things, I'd love to see Nick fight Rory MacDonald (again, assuming he wins his next fight which, again, I predict he will). With Rory being touted as "the next GSP", this matchup is the best thing we're likely to see in the 170lb division besides Diaz vs St Pierre and the fact that MacDonald previously dominated Nick's younger brother, Nate, would add an intriguing grudge/revenge element to the bout.