Several top ranked fighters from around the UFC are waiting to hear from president Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva about what’s next for them.
The list includes names like Shane Carwin, Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen. While there were no definitive answers given, White gave a brief update on each of them when speaking to MMAWeekly.com after UFC 128 on Saturday night.
The former “Ultimate Fighter” winner may have come out victorious from his last fight against Jorge Rivera in Australia, but it also put the largest target in the UFC squarely on his back.
From his actions in the cage to spitting on a cornerman cageside, Bisping has become public enemy No. 1 in the middleweight division. He has a who’s who list of fighters calling for a fight with him.
“Everybody’s calling Bisping out,” White said. “I think more people want to kick Bisping’s ass than mine.”
The list of potential next opponents, at least based on who has called for a fight with Bisping, include Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Nate Marquardt. There’s been no official decision made, but it’s guaranteed that Bisping’s next fight will be a grudge match no matter who he faces.
Sonnen has been out of the public spotlight for much of the past several months. Following a positive drug test that landed him with a six-month suspension after his fight with Anderson Silva last August, Sonnen then found himself in hot water with the U.S. government.
Sonnen is currently awaiting sentencing for charges stemming from a conviction for Federal money laundering that will likely end in a fine and probation.
“He’s got this real estate thing coming up any day now. We’ll see what happens then and then we’ll go from there,” White commented about Sonnen’s future.
Sonnen has been popping up more and more lately, first hitting his Twitter account, then releasing an email sent to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva asking for a fight against Michael Bisping. When he does return, Sonnen can still claim a top spot in the middleweight division after narrowly losing to champion Anderson Silva and already holding a dominant win over top contender Yushin Okami.
A fight between Sonnen and Bisping could be just the attraction to welcome the Oregon native back to the Octagon.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Shane Carwin really wants to fight in June at UFC 131. As a matter of fact, he’s been confirmed as participating on the show expected to take place in Vancouver.
The only problem? He doesn’t have an opponent.
Carwin is back in training after having back surgery that kept him out of his scheduled bout against Roy Nelson in January. All systems are now go for “The Engineer” to step back in the heavyweight division in June.
“He’s fighting soon, yeah he’s fighting,” White answered when questioned about Carwin, although there is still no opponent on deck yet.
The biggest problem with Carwin’s return is finding a heavyweight suitable to face the Colorado native. A slew of fighters from the heavyweight division already have match-ups, but a few names remain as dark horse contenders that no one is talking about yet.
Matt Mitrione is currently undefeated in the UFC, and looking more impressive with each fight, although he’s stated in the past that he’s trying to take things slow and easy with his career. A fight with Carwin may be too much, too soon. Other names that are on the UFC’s heavyweight roster without fights include Ben Rothwell, Antoni Hardonk, Joey Beltran, and Mark Hunt.
For now, Carwin will keep training and hoping that he gets an opponent lined up soon.