Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen believes that one ex-UFC champion could outlast Islam Makhachev in “Fighter of the Year” talks if he can win gold again before 2023 is out.
With his two victories over UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski, including a brutal first-round head kick KO, Makhachev is considered to be a shoo-in for “Fighter of the Year” by many. Makhachev is Sonnen’s current pick for the award, but that could change depending on what transpires at UFC 295 this Saturday night (November 11).
Alex Pereira Over Islam Makhachev for Fighter of the Year?
Alex Pereira has a chance to put his name alongside some of the UFC’s all-time greats by winning gold in a second weight class. Pereira is a former UFC middleweight champion, and he’ll be fighting Jiri Prochazka for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in the UFC 295 main event. If Pereira walks out of Madison Square Garden in New York City with UFC gold, then he will get a vote from Chael Sonnen for “Fighter of the Year.”
“The current leader for fighter of the year, it’s very clear, is Islam Makhachev,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “No other fighter this year has taken out somebody to that degree, and Islam’s only got two fights this year, but it was the same guy, Volkanovski, the undefeated, the unbeaten, the reigning world champion. While Islam slid past one, he then took on Volkanovski, who had another title defense and was the reigning, sitting world champion, and it didn’t get out of the first three minutes. So, clearly right now it’s Islam, however, if Alex Pereira wins, he will within this calendar year, which is the specific date of the question, have been the 185-pound champion and the 205-pound champion in the same calendar year, and therefore makes him ‘Fighter of the Year,’ per my vote.”
You can watch Chael Sonnen discussing Alex Pereira’s chances of winning “Fighter of the Year” below (starts at 7:54):