McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC), who broke his leg in July 2021 in a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, is edging closer to his return.
But whom should the former UFC dual-champion fight? McGregor wants a direct shot at welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, and while Sonnen isn’t against that idea, he has another option.
“Michael Chiesa,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “That’s the one that has absolutely never been discussed by anybody. I personally believe that there is a gag order. I personally believe there’s a reason that Chiesa’s never called out McGregor. But just to remind you guys when the bus incident between Conor and the dolly and Khabib (Nurmagomedov) took place, there was lawsuits that followed that, and Chiesa was one of them. Chiesa got glass into his eye – it was very bad experience.
“I think that there’s a story there, personally. Whether that turned into fruition and that turned into a fight, I’ve always thought there was a story there that should be told – but neither guy has told it. Neither guy’s manager has told it. Neither camp has told it. No trainers have told it. I just elected on my own that there must be some kind of a gag order in place. But that’s the match. That’s a very interesting match from a stylistic standpoint. That checks a lot of boxes.”
Sonnen’s reference is to the infamous bus attack that took place during UFC 223 fight week in Brooklyn, N.Y., in April 2018. McGregor went after arch rival Nurmagomedov by throwing a dolly at a window on a bus in which Nurmagomedov and several other fighters competing on the card were in, including Michael Chiesa (17-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC).
The impact of the dolly smashing through the window caused damage to Chiesa, who was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Anthony Pettis due to multiple cuts on on his face and forehead. He filed a lawsuit against McGregor in the aftermath. With Chiesa’s past history with McGregor, Sonnen thinks that fight would make sense.
However, with the likes of Joe Rogan saying McGregor needs a tune-up fight, Sonnen thinks a feasible option doesn’t exist.
“Within the UFC, that human being doesn’t exist,” Sonnen said. “Can we get Conor somebody out of the top 10? No, that’s silly. He’s going to be a main event. He’s going to be on pay-per-view. We’re going to have somebody within the top 10.
“Who is it that you believe would be the tune-up fight? And once you realize that person doesn’t exist, there is no guarantee that he’s going to go out there and get good work.”