As Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort prepare to throwdown at UFC 126 this evening for the title, the future of another of the middleweight division’s top stars, Chael Sonnen remains unclear.
Currently seeing out the remainder of a steroid suspension, Sonnen is also now waiting to discover what his sentence will be after pleading guilty to mortgage fraud in court at the turn of the year.
That sentence will be passed down on March 28th, and the word is that Sonnen will escape a prison term as part of a plea deal, but despite that seemingly positive news UFC president Dana White is still taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to any thoughts of him returning to the Octagon in the near future.
“I really don’t know. There’s no timetable. We still have to see what happens with all his personal problems,” White told MMAfighting yesterday.
Despite his recent problems outside of the Octagon, Sonnen has apparently not given up his trash-talking ways, and his latest twitter post indicates that he’ll be keeping a keen eye on the fate of the 185lb belt this evening.
“Big night! We get to find out who the #2 and #3 Middleweights in the business are.” – Chael Sonnen
Even if Sonnen is able to return to the UFC sooner rather than later, it may still be some time before he’s able to re-establish himself as a top contender again.
In November Yushin Okami was named as the fighter next in line for a title shot after a win over Nate Marquardt, and if Silva wins White has also indicated that a long awaited ‘superfight’ between Georges St.Pierre and Silva could also be in the works.
Given the hype surrounding tonight’s Silva Vs Belfort fight, if it turns out to be a thriller then a rematch between the two Brazilian’s is also not out of the question.
Sonnen is smart enough to be aware of these factors, so if and when he does return, expect him to turn up the trash-talking to maximum as he attempts to skip the queue and get back into title contention as soon as possible.