Going into Saturday night’s UFC 117 at Oracle Arena, the one thing that was clear was that Chael Sonnen talked the talk. A lot of people were skeptical he could walk the walk, but Sonnen came closer to winning a championship without quite doing so than perhaps any fighter in UFC history.
When the fight was first announced, nobody in the company expected big business. But UFC president Dana White was singing a different tune afterward. “It’s definitely a rematch people want to see. We can definitely do a rematch. It was awesome. I loved that Chael talked the smack he did and then went out and backed it up.”
But White was noncommittal on the idea of going to Silva-Sonnen II as soon as possible. He had previously indicated Vitor Belfort would get the next title shot, perhaps as soon as November.
Silva vs. Belfort is an interesting fight on paper. Belfort, stylistically, looks to be at least competitive with Silva, both standing and on the ground. But his title shot is based more on reputation from more than a decade ago, when he was a teenage phenom in the early days of the UFC, coupled with wins in other organizations.
Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has actually never even won a middleweight fight in his UFC career. He’s had one win since being picked up after last year’s demise of the Affliction promotion, a first-round knockout win over Rich Franklin last year at a catch weight of 195 pounds.
But sticking with Belfort as Silva’s next opponent would put a match fans are dying to see on hold.
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