Arguably the most anticipated rematch in the UFC is finally happening. UFC President Dana White announced on Wednesday that Chael Sonnen will be the next opponent for middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
White made the announcement on “The Jim Rome Show”, declaring to the national radio audience that this is “the fight that everyone wants to see”.
Sonnen and Silva first met at UFC 117 in August 2010. Sonnen came the closest of any of Silva’s challengers to defeating the Brazilian legend. Prior to facing Sonnen, Silva easily dismantled fighters such as Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt , and Rich Franklin during his title reign. He also moved up to light heavyweight and defeated both Forrest Griffin and James Irvin within the first four minutes.
Then came Chael Sonnen, the brash and arrogant character, who shoved aside all of Silva’s accomplishments. While he was laughed at prior to UFC 117, Sonnen was quieting all of his doubters for the first four rounds, as he was dominating the fight on the ground with his top-level wrestling. In the fifth round, the now infamous image of Anderson Silva choking out Sonnen off his back with a triangle armbar took place.
Following the loss, Sonnen was not heard from for quite a while, as he faced criminal charges for money laundering, along with being suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for having an elevated testosterone level during his fight with Silva.
He made his return to the UFC this past month at UFC 136, easily defeating Brian Stann in the second round with an arm triangle choke. Following the victory, Sonnen immediately went after Anderson Silva, bypassing answering any of Joe Rogan’s questions, and shouting “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!” Silva could be seen in the crowd reacting sheepishly to Sonnen’s announcement.
Sonnen went on to add “Super Bowl weekend, the biggest rematch in the history of the business. I’m calling you out Silva, but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, and I will leave the UFC forever.”
While those stakes will certainly not be a part of the end result, the hype behind this matchup will grow even more with those comments.
The fight will not take place until Silva recovers from shoulder bursitis. That more than likely removes any chance of the fight taking place at Sonnen’s request of Super Bowl weekend, not to mention Georges St. Pierre is expected to face Nick Diaz at the event.
Regardless of when the fight does end up taking place, it will be one of the most publicized matchups in UFC history.