Chael Sonnen has announced that he’s just signed a new five-fight contract extention with the UFC and is now plotting a return to the middleweight division.
Sonnen is currently set to fight Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in the main event of ‘UFC Fight Night: Sonnen Vs Shogun’ during the FOX Sports 1 launch night on August 17th, but win or lose it appears he’s then going to drop back down to 185lbs where he already has a couple of potential opponents in mind.
“There are two guys I want to get matched up with. The first is Vitor Belfort because he’s awesome and he’s on an incredible roll. Second, is Wanderlei [Silva] who I have now found out is going back to middleweight,” Sonnen revealed on the ‘UFC Tonight’ show. “The landscape has completely changed. I have a new contract, and I’m returning to the weight class.”
The name he doesn’t mention there as the new middleweight champion Chris Weidman, but the fact that he shocked the world by doing what Sonnen couldn’t – taking out long-time title holder Anderson Silva – could also have been a factor in Sonnen’s decision.
While a third fight with Silva for the title seems unlikely, if Wiedman was to defeat the Brazilian in their rematch in December then Sonnen would see an opportunity to work his way to a shot at the 185lb strap.
First things first though, Sonnen needs to get back to winning ways as he’s coming off back-to-back losses to the aforementioned Silva and light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and a win over ‘Shogun’ next month would certainly be a good start.