Chael Sonnen knew from an early age that his path would lead to the
highest levels of professional fighting, telling an interviewer, “I
wanted to go [to UFC] right then, right out of high school.”
Instead, Sonnen first distinguished himself as a collegiate wrestler
at the University of Oregon, where he earned NCAA Division I
He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2001, earning a
bachelor's degree in Sociology.
Though Sonnen had one professional win under his belt from 1997, his
professional career began in 2002 with a victory over Jason "Mayhem"
Miller. He defeated Scott Shipman in the Dangerzone Light Heavyweight
Tournament Final to win his first championship the next month. He
continued to compete across the United States and Japan until his UFC
debut in 2005.
Sonnen first became a UFC championship contender after his
unanimous-decision win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 109 – a battle that
earned Fight of the Night honors. From there, he challenged and
defeated many of MMA’s greatest names, including Michael Bisping,
Mauricio Rua, Wanderlei Silva, and Quinton Jackson.
He currently serves as co-host of Ariel & the Bad Guy on ESPN+. He is
also a co-owner and commentator of Caged Promotions, which operates
Full Contact Fighting Federation, Submission Underground, and