by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Not only will Nate Marquardt be fighting Chael Sonnen in the co-main event for UFC 109, the winner of the fight will get the next shot at the middleweight title.
The news was confirmed by UFC president Dana White during the UFC 109 pre-fight press conference on Thursday.
“The winner of this fight gets a shot at Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort, whoever wins that fight in Abu Dhabi,” White said while introducing Marquardt and Sonnen to the crowd.
A few weeks back, Marquardt told MMAWeekly Radio in an interview that his management was advised if he won, he would get a shot at the title, but White’s announcement was the final confirmation.
“That’s actually the first time I’ve heard that it’s going to be for a title shot officially, so that’s exciting,” Marquardt commented.
The two middleweights are regarded as top contenders in the division, with both holding wins over top ten level opponents in the last year. Marquardt has said several times that he wanted another shot at Anderson Silva since losing to him in 2007. Sonnen’s feelings on Silva are well documented too.
White also confirmed that Silva would be staying at 185 pounds, saying that it was primarily his idea to send the Brazilian champion up to the light heavyweight division, but he’s got contenders to take care of at middleweight now.
“We always had it in mind, these guys are two of the top five in the world so depending on who you look at or whoever, these guys are it, so they deserve it,” White stated. “Nate’s been waiting for a while, too.”
Whoever wins the fight between Marquardt and Sonnen will then turn their eyes to the April showdown in Abu Dhabi between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, with title aspirations on their mind.