by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Now that Chael Sonnen has proven that he belongs at the top of the middleweight division, his next fight will be for the 185-pound title against either Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort, presumably later this year.
Following UFC 109, UFC president Dana White commented that he believes if current champion Anderson Silva wins he will stay at middleweight and he has a very interesting match-up waiting for him in Sonnen.
“I think he will no matter what Chael said. He likes that 185-pound division. He likes having that title, and I’m a big believer in cleaning out a division,” White said about Silva’s desire to stay at middleweight.
“This is actually interesting. Marquardt had fought him once, Chael hadn’t, and Chael actually has a very interesting style match-up with Anderson. The way that this guy’s looked in his last two fights, he just looks better and better and better. I think it’s a very interesting match-up.
“So whether it’s Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort that wins in Abu Dhabi, I think Chael’s a good fight for both of them.”
Never one to hold back, Sonnen let it be known who he’d rather fight for the title, and who he believes will be holding the championship belt when it comes time for his shot.
“I hope Anderson wins because I think Vitor’s a lot tougher fighter. If I had to choose between the two, I’m going to take the low road and take the easier opponent to get to the championship,” Sonnen commented.
“I really do mean that, Vitor Belfort, in truth, has never lost a fight in the stand-up realm. The blueprint to beat Vitor’s out there, but it’s not to stand up with him. I can’t wait for that fight, but I am picking Vitor.”
Taking nothing away from the level of competition that either Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort brings into a title fight, Sonnen knows the UFC is the place to call home, and he even managed to get a dig in at Strikeforce along the way.
“At the end of the day if you want to get to the top of the card in the UFC, you’ve got to fight tough guys. If you want to be a fighter and get in the cage and be a big deal at your local strip club, go to Showtime. If you want to fight real guys, this is the place to do it,” said Sonnen.
“If I’m in this company, I know they’re going to be tough.”
Sonnen will look to heal up following his war with Marquardt, and then turn his attention to the April fight between Silva and Belfort to see who he’ll be fighting for the UFC middleweight championship.