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Does Chael Sonnen's Actual Resume Back Up the One He Touts?

For several weeks, the MMA world has been abuzz with the pre-fight talk of Chael Sonnen, who challenges middleweight champion Anderson Silva for his title at UFC 117 on Saturday.

Sonnen's talk – or, as he terms it, simply his promotion of the fight – has ranged from stern to comical to outrageous and back again. And it has even crossed into territory that has many people raising a collective eyebrow at just what his motivation is.

Like when he gave out his Twitter address (at the 45:50 mark on the link), then when said address had controversial comments posted to it, denied it was his account. Or this week, when he said on Pro MMA Radio that Lance Armstrong gave himself cancer by doping, then denied ever appearing on the show to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani as well as Jim Rome.

To be sure, Sonnen has talked the talk, regardless of whether it's been in good fun or just outright troubling from a mental standpoint. But what of his repeated statements that he's beaten five champions and 10 Top 10 fighters?

On the UFC 117 media call last week, Sonnen claimed he "fought 12 guys in the Top 10, beat 10 of them, beat every champion in every organization there's ever been except one, and that's 'cause neither of those guys would give me my shot."

He has his shot against Silva on Saturday. Sonnen went on to run down his list of champions he's defeated:

"I beat the EliteXC champion. I beat the Strikeforce champion. I beat Bodog's champion. I beat the IFL's champion. I beat the WEC champion twice. I beat every champion in every company that's ever been, and there's not another middleweight living today that can make that claim."

Let's take a look at the resume.

Sonnen mentions beating five champions – he repeated that claim at Thursday's pre-fight press conference.

Those champions were:

• Jason "Mayhem" Miller: In Sonnen's first professional fight more than eight years ago, he beat Miller in a decision. More than four years later, Miller won the Icon Sport middleweight title.

• Jason Lambert: Sonnen beat "The Punisher" by decision at Gladiator Challenge 20. Lambert would go on to fight in the WEC, in its pre-Zuffa days, and win a vacant light heavyweight title in his second fight for the promotion. Lambert never defended the belt and vacated it by moving to the UFC.

• Trevor Prangley: Sonnen lost to Prangley in his sixth career fight. It was the first loss of his career. But he avenged that loss at UFC Fight Night 4 for his first UFC win. Prangley would go on to win Bodog Fight's middleweight title 15 months later. He has since then added the Maximum Fighting Championships light heavyweight belt and Shark Fights light heavyweight belt to his collection – though it's not clear if Sonnen counts his win over Prangley as beating three champions.

• Paulo Filho: Perhaps Sonnen's most impressive claim, he remains the only fighter to beat Filho – though he also has a loss to him on his resume. Filho beat Sonnen at WEC 31 to defend his WEC middleweight title. At WEC 36, Filho didn't make weight for the rematch – so Sonnen was denied a title shot. He won that fight by decision – a win over a champion, but no hardware to show for it.

• Dan Miller: The first win on Sonnen's current three-fight winning streak was also the first loss on Miller's three-fight skid. Sonnen replaced an injured Yushin Okami for the fight at UFC 98. Miller had been the IFL's middleweight champion, though he never defended the belt. He was also the Cage Fury FIghting Championships middleweight champ in New Jersey, though again it's unclear if Sonnen believes his win over Miller means a win over two different champions.

But Sonnen himself has left off a sixth champ on his resume – Nate Marquardt, whom he beat at UFC 109 in February. Marquardt was the King of Pancrase middleweight champ. That's got to count for something, right Chael?

Where things get a little more complicated, though, is an examination of Sonnen's claim of 12 fights against Top 10 opponents, with wins over 10 of them.

Though Sonnen hasn't named them, a best guess would say he's likely referring to Marquardt, Okami, Dan Miller, Demian Maia, Filho, Prangley, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Forrest Griffin, Akihiro Gono and Jason Miller.

But the math certainly doesn't add up. Marquardt, Okami, Maia and Griffin have legitimate cases as on or near the Top 10 in their divisions. The rest all had their time, but Top 10 probably depends on when, and on what list.

In Sonnen's case, the only list that seems to matter is the one in his own head. Whether or not that makes any difference against Silva on Saturday night remains to be seen.