by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
There’s no doubt that Chael Sonnen has his sights on the UFC middleweight title and his Aug. 7 fight with Anderson Silva. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other targets in mind for the Oregonian if he walks out of Oakland with the title belt.

Make no mistake, the goal for Sonnen heading into UFC 117 is for the championship gold, not getting a win over Anderson Silva. Beating Silva is what he has to do to get the title, but that’s not the feather in his cap.

“The opponent just doesn’t matter,” Sonnen said about Silva. “That’s what bullies do; that’s what Anderson does. Guys go out and they pick their fights, and they take easy fights. Fighting math teachers from Ohio, and one-legged guys from Canada, this is going to be a tremendous difference when he gets in there with an All-American from Portland, Ore.”

Sonnen takes direct aim at past opponents of Silva, including Patrick Cote and most notably former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. The Cincinnati native was long embroiled in a controversy about a potential fight with Sonnen’s close friend and training partner, Matt Lindland, before he was cut from the UFC.

According to Sonnen, he also called for a fight with Franklin, but the former the current 205-pound contender wanted none of it.

“I challenged Rich for 18 months, and he never responded,” said Sonnen. “I challenged Anderson Silva for four years and he ducked me every bit of the way. I challenged both of those guys and in the process I fought 12 guys in the Top 10, beat 10 of them, beat every champion in every organization there’s ever been accept one, and that’s cause neither of those guys would give me my shot.

“I beat the Elite XC champion, I’ve 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, except for the UFC champion and the math teacher wouldn’t fight me, and neither would the “Spider.” But he’s here now, and he’s not here on his own free will. He’s here because Uncle Dana made him do it.”

The brash contender says there’s already someone in mind for whom he’d like to fight next if he gets past Silva, but it’s likely the UFC has already crowned a top contender for the winner of the fight.

“I believe Vitor’s in line next, though that’s probably not who I would want to fight. I’ve got a guy in mind and I’ll challenge him on the night of the 7th, but I think Vitor’s who Uncle Dana has lined up as the next contender,” Sonnen commented.

One thing is for sure, Sonnen has no plans of offering a fight to Rich Franklin.

“In fact, when I am the champ, I don’t plan on giving Rich a title shot,” he stated.

There appears to be no love lost between Sonnen and Franklin, but for now he’ll concentrate on trying to get past Anderson Silva, which is no easy task.