Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann or Vitor Belfort: Who Gets Next Crack at Anderson Silva?

August 7, 2011
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Anderson Silva at UFC 117

Anderson Silva wants to test his boxing skills with Roy Jones Jr.

UFC middleweight Brian Stann has been on a path of demolition since he dropped to 185 pounds. Actually, Stann’s recent performances have garnered a ton of attention and sparked talk about him being in the mix for a shot at the UFC middleweight title currently owned by Anderson Silva.

The “All-American’s” next fight is scheduled to be at UFC 136 on Oct. 8 against former number-one contender and unintended stand-up comedian Chael Sonnen.

But the question is: does a match-up between Sonnen and Stann mean the winner would face the middleweight champion in their following fight? Good question, but according to UFC president Dana White, it’s only a possibility and not a sure thing.

“I think it could be,” White said when asked if the Sonnen-Stann fight would be for a number-one contender spot.

Sonnen was last seen in the Octagon putting a hurting on Anderson Silva for four-and-a-half rounds before the middleweight champion slapped a triangle choke on his opponent, forcing him to submit before the fight went the distance. Sonnen controlled the bout from the opening bell and was seemingly on his way to a unanimous decision and championship win, but that all came to an end when Silva put on the submission hold in the final moments of the match.

A run-in with the California State Athletic Commission over testosterone therapy, combined with a guilty plea to money laundering charges in Oregon, put a hold to Sonnen’s expected rematch with Silva, opening up the door for Vitor Belfort at UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. Now, with most of his outside-of-the-cage business handled, Sonnen is back and will get a crack at Brian Stann for what could be a number-one contender’s match.

With his knockout win over Yohshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz, Vitor Belfort made a huge statement and showed that he is still a force to reckoned with at middleweight. Powerful hands dropped Akiyama in the first round of their affair, sending the Japanese judoka into a state of unconsciousness, face-first on the Octagon’s floor.

But although Belfort won his fight in impressive fashion, it doesn’t mean he’s first in line to get another shot at Anderson Silva. Belfort’s attempt at winning the title from Silva ended in the first round just like his bout with Akiyama, but unfortunately for Vitor, he was the one who was unconscious in the opening stanza, stemming from a precision front kick landed by Silva square on the chin.

Had his attempt at the belt been similar to what Sonnen’s was, Belfort might have been in the mix a little deeper after his win on Saturday night.

“If it was like the Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva fight, that’d be one thing,” White said about Belfort’s performance against Silva. “Vitor is going to have to beat some people at (185 pounds) and work his way back up to that title shot because it would be hard to make a rematch that quick after what happened.”

So the question is still out there: who gets the next shot at Anderson Silva? Only time will tell, but UFC 136 in Houston may clear things up a bit after Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann take each other on in the Octagon.

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for
@Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik a question or comment.

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  • Nick Morris

    who say’s it will be Silva they want to fight next? it just might be Yushin! don’t over look hime he’s a beast and has they same style as Chael but might even hit harder! so don’t look past that fight! besides…none of those names have earned it yet but there’s really no-one else…
    at least right now.

  • Nick Morris

    & Vitor beat a guy coming off two losses he dosen’t deserve it for sure! everytime someone wins there “back” as if they were on vacation during their last fight! whatever….
    Bisping/Miller winner deserves it more then any of those guys…Chael, needs to beat someone else first, and Stann…well, he probably deserves it most!

    • wonggfan

      I agree 100%.

      Every serious MMA fan knows that Akiyama is not on Vitor’s level. Akiyama is a solid gate-keeper at 185 and should consider moving down to 170. The only reason why Akiyama is even in the UFC is because of the Japanese market.

      He is the third most widely known fighter in Japan (Aoki is #1 and Okami is #2), although because of his ethnic Korean background he doesn’t really have fans in Japan.

      Akiyama’s best win is against Denis Kang. And we all know that Denis Kang, although a very technical fighter, has a tendency to wilt.

  • devine22

    Nick i agree also who didnt know that Vitor wasnt going to win by KO! Also Yushin has a great chance to be the next Champ!!! Hell he’s been in line long enough i hope he shocks the world!!! Off note Dana got rid of Fedor cause he lost Three times???? Then gives a speech about Akiyama comes to fight an its not about loses that he brings it???? What does Fedor do when he fights??????

    • wonggfan

      You gotta read the Fedor situation carefully.

      His contract was already over with only one fight left.

      M-1 was never under Zuffa. M-1 was Zuffa’s partner in SF and Showtime.

      Dana just wanted to make it look like he was “firing” Fedor when the reality is much more complicated than that.

      Fedor made more money in his last fight than Anderson Silva did in his last 4 fights.

      Fedor was the only fighter who didn’t need an organization. He wrote his own check. And this is why I consider him GOAT. The difference between Fedor and Anderson/GSP/Chuck/Randy. None of those guys can write their own checks. Randy tried and ended up going back. GSP and Anderson, while excellent fighters, cannot pull Fedor’s numbers.

  • I dont think Yushin will win but he does have a better chance than all of these other guys.

    Also agree that Bisping would be a better choice for who is next in line.

    • XIRandomHeroIX

      You really need toget off Bisping dick, the guy needs to beat someone before getting a shot at anyone. The guy only has wins over two real fighters, Decision over Hamil which would have been judged differently in the US and a Decision over a doped up Leben because he ran away from him for 15 mins, He has lost to any other fighter worth a damn that he has gone up against

    • wonggfan

      Yushin does NOT have a better chance than Chael Sonnen.

      Yushin is stylistically the perfect match for Anderson Silva, a slow and heavy striker. Imagine Forrest Griffin.

      Anderson Silva could TKO Yushin in the first or second round.

      Only way to beat Anderson Silva at this point is to do what Chael Sonnen did. Just take him down and lay on top of him while throwing just enough punches to prevent a stand-up. Hendo was doing a good job until he decided to trade with Anderson.

      This is why I think will Anderson could beat Hendo, and Hendo beat Fedor, Fedor can beat Anderson in an open weight fight.

  • XIRandomHeroIX

    Stann vs Belfort, winner gets Silva.

    • You obviously are just biased against Bisping.

      Who has Stann beaten that is so much greater than Bisping’s opponents? Bisping lost to Silva, Henderson and Evans. Stann lost to Cantwell, Soszynski, and Davis.

      Its pretty clear Bisping has faced higher caliber competition than Brian Stann.

      And Belfort lost in the first round with an embarrassing knockout. I dont see why he needs a quick rematch when other people are in line.

  • collideoverme

    They should give the winner of Sonnen-Stann to Belfort. Then have that be the #1 contender.

    • wonggfan

      You see, Pride would have done that. In Pride, those three would have fought each other a long time ago.

      UFC’s model is different, for the worse. They love to recycle fighters. They love to promote champion bouts because they sell. Yet they love to recycle fighters because veterans ask for higher pay. So the UFC’s model is all about promoting up and coming guys, hyping them up, and using them in big fights. This is why Josh Barnett is having difficulty joining the UFC. Josh probably asked for $200k and the UFC could go get JDS and Carwin combined for that price, even less.

      So expect #1 #2 an #3 contenders lining up to get the title shot first before fighting each other.

  • wtfkid85

    yet no one mentions Leben/Munoz as contenders…

    • wonggfan

      Pretty much Leben lost too many times to be considered a contender. Look, it’s only been a year since the dude started pulling upsets. First, the UFC tried to use Leben as a stepping stone against Aaron Simpson. It was an epic failure. Simpson, although a great athlete, just couldn’t handle the “I don’t give a fuck” in Leben. Then the UFC tried to use Leben as a stepping stone again. This time against Akiyama. That was an epic failure as well. Most recently the UFC tried to use Leben yet again as a freak show match against Wanderlei. This time UFC couldn’t careless who won.

      I am a bit worried about Leben’s health. You can’t stick your head out like a turle and start swinging like a mad man. He is winning some of these fights cuz he is a freak of nature. But I do fear for his health.

      As for Munoz, only recently did people consider him a serious MMA fighter. He was more like a wrestling coach that was doing MMA as a hobby. And it will be hard for him to wash that image off. Give him a year. If he does well, then people will show him the respect.

  • lfpunkxx

    Paulo Filho…LOL…remember when that was the middleweight bout fans wanted…then the guy turned into a disaster

    • wonggfan

      At 5′ 7″ 185lbs that guy was a character for sure.

      I remember that Ninja fight. The fight was a freak show. He charged in with his hands down and is 1/2 foot shorter than Ninja but would crawl into Ninja’s crotch and just slam him.

      I was such a fan of Filho until he started doing drugs and fucking up.

      He had a perfect record too.

  • natpaukar7

    Okay…to be honest…As far as teh mentioned fighters….stann, belfort, sonnen and okami here is what I think…Stann vs. Sonnen will probably end in sonnen doing similar to what he did to silva for 3 rounds unless stann can knock out him out which I really do not see happening though stann has crisp striking…Sonnen would mroe likely and historically has fallen more often to submissions….though this is not likely with stann….Stann vs. Silva…Stann has power and crisp precise strikiing…this will give him confidence in standing with anderson and he WILL get KO’d…the better your striking the worse off you are with anderson…he is a perfect striker and performs better under pressure as a counter striker….stann has next to zero chance in this department….

    Sonnen Silva 2….Silva was said to have had broken ribs for this fight okay fair enough….he also wore his Jiu Jitsu Gee out to this fight with intention of submitting him…why else would he through flying knees to a known ground and pounder with the guaranteed chance of getting taken down….plus Sonnen was on steroids or some enhancement drug (not sure what? test booster?) any way even then he couldn’t do it….Silva will KO him out for sure this time…Sonnen is no push over and brings it and is thus easier opponent for silva

    Okami vs. Silva…are you kidding me? Okami has power? I don’t think so…he’s beat hardly anyone good…He did not BEAT anderson in my opinion…Franklin UD’d him Silva anhilated franklin…he beat marquardt who hasn’t been doing well for quite some time….Silva was winning that first fight and got unlucky and DQ’d. this was long before silva entered his prime….SIlva would and will kill Okami unless he illegally KO him again…haha doubtful…maybe a crane kick again or a flying spinning dragon squirrel master to the temple? no chance people

    Belfort? are you kidding me did you see what happened last time….vintage anderson silva…and whoever says that was lucky…why does he do that or something similar to that every time he is being doubted and everytime someone actually pushes himm….to me it is his way of saying I want a real competition and when they bring it he responds masterfully….

    Silva…all day…the only chance fighter against silva is GSP with a similar fight to sonnen but he won’t get submitted…likely though silva will KO him….or Jon Jones…I think he’s too young and again Anderson responds well to high competition…another KO…bring it

    And to whoever said Fedor is competition for anderson…Ill say this maybe and I mean MAYBE two years ago…or three…now …hell no…those wild looping punches are a perfect way to get KTFO by Silva

    SILVA ALL DAY against anyone