Israel Adesanya just became the biggest draw in the UFC


Chael Sonnen


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big weekend of fights is now behind us two of the best fights in recent memory I believe that Gastelum and Otto Sonia go down as the greatest fight in middleweight history I will fully admit to a recency bias but I have that it's not only the fight of the year thus far but one of the best middle-way fights of all time and I learned so much in this fight you know in many ways I feel that Kelvin Gastelum just showed me how I need to go fight lyoto machida I really I really thought I mean he got right in his face he closed the distance he dared Otto Sonny and it caught on to Sonia off guard just a little bit Kelvin was slipping punches comings very hard to hit we talked about this before the fight he's very hard to hit he's got great head movement he goes up he goes down he goes side to side he sees things coming he reacts he counters he's not as hard to kick I think that Otto Sonia had some struggles in there I think that that was a tied-up fight this is on my unofficial scorecard tied up fight to a piece going in the 5th round I mean this was as close as it kids fifth round Otto Sonia was able to find a knockdown followed by another knockdown another and another ultimately for knockdowns he had a 10-8 round the decision went to the right guy but I thought as far as the fight went very impressive and a lot of fun ah for both guys I mean not only to kill me get right in his face not only was he bobbing and weaving and really comfortable in there he was also digging to the body and a lot of those shots were very powerful they were very effective but they also went under the radar I don't know that the announce team was able to observe that and comment on it I don't know if you guys were able to observe and comment they're very similar to kiks kiks really don't get the respect that they deserve they're just not what judges even experts fans come to it's just not what people are looking for it's a little harder to understand it's very easy to understand hit a guy in his face swell him up and make him bleed we understand that and therefore that is credited to a higher level I get that I don't actually resist it I'm just pointing out that fact for you Kelvin was doing some stuff really getting honest on his respect not letting out a sign you have free shots Otto Sonia landed something Kelvin came back and it made for a really good contest the other side of the coin that's what we didn't know we didn't know that Kelvin could go out there stand in the pocket and do this well without a Sania now let's give a lot of Sun you his dues because there was also some grappling exchanges there was a lot of double legs oftentimes up against the fence where Kelvin should have had a real advantage and odda Sonia was able to work his hips he was able to get under hooks he was able to pull out of that he showed progression as well I would tell you when that fight is over for me both of their stock went up I cannot wait to see kelvins next fight I cannot wait to find out who his opponent is and I have a feeling we are going to see a round robin i have a real distinct feeling much like we saw with TJ dominic and cody gar brandt that lasted almost 24 months almost two years of those guys trying to figure it out and rematches in every which way and he beats me but I can beat him and I think we're going to see that with Whitaker and Kelvin and out of Sanya and that's a little bit of a premature prediction but I really do feel that in that division we we've isolated three guys that might pass that ball back and forth the reason I offer that is whenever you're looking at this and your time but okay well what's next for Kelvin it always seems to be the first question and I'm guilty of it too what's next for these guys for auto Sanya we have the answer it's going to be Whitaker but what's next for Gastelum particularly when he's already fought shocker a particular when he's already fought Weidman I think that it does lend to hey let's take a deep breath here and let's see what happens because if Whitaker beats Otto Sonia Whitaker now needs an opponent and there's great options I just gave you two of them Weidman and Jacque great great options kelvins also a very good option which could feed you right back into an auto Sanya rematch these things happen these things have happened recently with the example I gave you of TJ and Dominic and Cody and I think we might really have the final three guys let's see where that goes I don't want to dismiss the other guys in the division but as you do look at the storyline which was laid out in front of us for the balance of 2019 which is Whitaker and Otto Sonya there's something more happening here okay Whitaker and Otto Sonya are going to break every live gate record in the history of the sport they will do more people in the building but they will all do it for a higher ticket price which is going to break the gate records in my opinion right now the gate record stands Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden 17 point 2 million dollars I believe there is not a building big enough that Dana White can go and reserve in Australia that he cannot fill up I do not believe a building has ever been resurrected out of brick-and-mortar that he could book and have an empty seat by the time that fight goes off now the question comes well how much can you sell those tickets for cuz we saw a really big fight over there Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm I think they I think 40,000 people showed off up on top of my head maybe even a little bit north of that but the gate was very low right it was just very low Ronda and Holly didn't belong fighting in Australia that was just a huge fight for the sport that happened to take place in our strut now you've got some homers now you've got odd asan your versus Whittaker they both have a belt they got a lot on the line in that part of the world geographically speaking this is tremendous they're both actually from New Zealand but Whittaker lives in Australia otta Sonia has already laid the groundwork you are no longer New Zealand you turned your back on us you live in Australia you are now the enemy guys you accept that or don't I don't really give a damn I'm telling you as far as storylines go in that part of the world that is huge that is a really big deal in addition Otto Sonia becomes the biggest star in the UFC before anybody pushes back Conor McGregor does not have a license khabib does not have a license I don't know if I don't know if kebede would be a bigger star or not I just offer for you in case you want to put his name in there he doesn't have a license Brock Lesnar takes a part-time schedule John Jones is having a very hard time selling right now and has never been the draw that a lot of you argued that he is point being right now it is Auto Sonia and let's go back and compare it to John Jones okay this isn't John Jones's fault this is a tremendous compliment to John Jones that there's just nobody there to fight now the other side of that coin is there used to be when John came through he had a lot of guys in front of him perceived legends all that means is older guys that were established that had good championship runs in them previous to this so there was always this question mark and this young up-and-coming there's a storyline was just always built in there was fresh blood there was new guys there was new challenges once John passed all of those challenges and those names weren't in front of him all of a sudden people were still willing to tune in to witness greatness but over a period of time much like what Troy Jones went through people go yeah I I'm not interested there's nothing here to compel me to be interested in there is no storyline and I don't want to watch a movie and I don't want to read a book when I already know how it ends that isn't fair to John but it's also not a slide on just the reality it's just the reality if he's in there with anybody that isn't named Daniel Cormier right now it's not as interesting Otto Sonia could find himself in that same spot but as of right now he's as John was early in his career where he's got five and six and seven guys that no matter what any way you want to put him in there people are going to be compelled to watch so not only will his next fight break every live gate record that there is should he win that fight he will go on to be a pay-per-view star in addition to that I would argue for you that Otto Sonia is now the biggest star in the UFC he would do a bigger gate head-to-head with anybody who is eligible and has a license right now Otto Sonia is the guy for many different reasons one he's terrific - he's got a terrific style 3 he always has something to say for he's got an attitude we are in the entertainment era the entertainment era and the Attitude Era are essentially the same thing he never makes a misstep I watch him walk out the arena is buzzin they're cheering for him they're happy to see him there he is they want to touch him on his way to the ring he won't touch him now he's happy - this makes him feel good Wow look around I've made it I'm fight for a title all these people are here to see me but he stays the course you paid to see me you didn't pay to touch me so take your seat and watch me remember what you came here for it's an attitude he's not being rude he's not being a jerk he's giving you what you want that's what you want you want a little mystique around this guy you want a little mystery around this guy and he's not willing to bow down to anybody including John Jones and the second he does bow down to John Jones and start something with John's a legend and you know it'd be an honor to fight in a second he says that the gig is up he wants to be the king coming to be the king and so far he's doing everything right everything is I watch this guy go oh he got it again oh we got that one right - oh look what he did over there it's doing a great job but he needs to keep marching to this drum soon the people are going to come the people are gonna say he is the greatest fighter in the UFC I'm talking about biggest star biggest draw most intrigue most interest best story Lance what I'm talking about but soon comes the next wave that artist's aina is the greatest talent in the UFC now so that's gonna piss John Jones off when that comes but John also went through that same thing John was an up-and-comer Anderson Silva was ranked number one this is just a discussion unless them boys want to get in there and fight we're just gonna have to talk about it we're gonna fight it out verbally so people say I'm really seeing some specialness John Jones guy but I don't want to be disrespectful to Anderson let's keep him at number one but I don't know if I really mean that or whatever I mean that because this John Jones is something special that same thing is going to happen with Otto Sonia and believe me it pissed Anderson Silva Austin if John started to take that spot it's going to piss John Jones off but the dialogue is months away if not weeks if not days away from beginning that odda Sonia is the greatest talent in the UFC that is coming he is coming for John spot and when it is only a popular opinion vote and people aren't thrilled to come out and say nice things about John Jones cuz he handles it like an arrogant prick and throws it back in their face believe me they're going to be happy to get on the bandwagon and whoever's perceived to be the best will be the best unless you can get them together we had a lift of this when it was Matt Hughes and George st. Pierre and Anderson so make them fight then how about 15 pounds who gives a goddamn but for some reason they care oh we can't agree on what you can't agree on weight when you're separated by 15 pounds you gotta be kidding me maybe we'll see out of Sun yen John Jones maybe we will John Jones is just so much bigger right now he just meaningfully bigger that it is a little bit different of Sun you came in under weight it's a talking point I don't care those guys will go out and find each other I'll be on board for I'm just sharing with it is a little bit different it's not two guys cutting down and we're left with the mystery of what are they way we know what fight they weigh that but that we're left with the mishra but yeah but what are they actually where these guys actually really close and wait now out of signing me he weighed in two pounds underweight he's not even up to the limit he would be far more likely to go down to 170 if he wanted to do it appropriately but the draws to go up to 205 pounds and john jones doesn't have a dance partner he does not have anybody in that division they can greatly draw I think that as I say that I think I should correct myself because I do think I don't know if you guys would agree with me but I do believe that Luke Rockhold vs. John Jones would be of some interest I think you would just have some name power there would be something to see there but the bottom line is John is going to be looking for an opponent and trust me mr. sensitive is not going to love it when the narrative starts and it's only a number of days away the narrative is going to start amongst the fans that odd asagna is the greater talent that's coming and if you look at the growth of auto Sanya look on stand up yeah I'll give it to him right now for sure I would but John Jones is also great at ground-and-pound people people always underestimate that cuz he's so dynamic he's so creative on his feet people love to see him on his feet but he's also very effective at taking people down and pounding on them on asagna showing better takedown defense it's been one two three fights since out of Sanya was even taken down and it has been four fights inside of Sanya was held down that all took place over the span of about 15 months to see an athlete grow to see an athlete be able to stop takedowns absolutely stuff them and never even end up on the ground in only 15 months that is a remarkable span Mart remarkably short span of time to make those kind of adjustments so the storylines really for 2019 we do have some resolution we do know which way this to ship a steer and I think that that's exciting I think that's very fun