LAS VEGAS – The winner of UFC 109's co-main-event fight between Nate Marquardt (29-8-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (24-10-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) will earn a middleweight title shot.
At today's UFC 109 pre-event press conference, UFC president Dana White confirmed the recent speculation and guaranteed the winner a shot at the belt.
White, who emceed today's presser at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino's Mizuya Lounge in Las Vegas, said he always considered the co-headlining fight a No. 1 contender's bout.
"We always had it in mind," White said. "These are two of the top five [middleweights] in the world depending on what you look at."
White said Marquardt, who's 4-1 (with a controversial split-decision loss to Thales Leites) since his first unsuccessful bid at the belt, is especially worthy.
"Nate's been deserving it for a while," White said.
Current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva puts his 11-fight win streak on the line and looks for his sixth consecutive title defense when he meets Vitor Belfort in the UFC 112 main event in April. And White said Silva, who's sometimes complained of a lack of marketable matchups at 185 pounds, won't have a problem taking the fight with the Marquardt/Sonnen winner and suggested the champ's recent dabbling in the light-heavyweight division was actually the head hocho's idea.
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