Chael Sonnen may have lost the battle, but he doesn’t plan on losing the war to Anderson Silva.
During a recent episode of UFC Tonight, the self-proclaimed Oregon Gangster announced that he would be returning to his old stomping grounds at 185 pounds.
Contrary to public opinion, this decision had nothing to do with the fact that Silva is no longer the UFC middleweight champion. Sonnen made it very clear during the media conference call for UFC on Fox Sports 1 that he doesn’t always chase world titles. His goal as a professional athlete has always been about competing against the best in the world.
In the words of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” In Sonnen’s eyes, Silva is still the man whether he has a plate of gold wrapped around his waist or not:
If Anderson beats Chris Weidman, they’ll go into a rubber match, but I want to fight Anderson either way, regardless of the title. I don’t accept the outcome of either of those matches. We can fight; it doesn’t have to be for a belt. I don’t always chase titles around. I wanted to fight Jon Jones. He just happened to have the title. I want to fight Anderson Silva whether he’s got the belt or not. I’d like to fight him right now.
For over three years, Silva and Sonnen have shared arguably the most intense rivalry in MMA history.
The historic feud was thought to have ended in July 2012, after Silva defeated Sonnen for a second time in a middleweight title bout. Soon after the loss, Sonnen made the decision to move up to the light heavyweight division and try his luck against Jones.
Unfortunately for Sonnen, he was defeated soundly and once again denied his dream of being a UFC champion.
A year away from the middleweight division has offered a sort of freshness that beckons Sonnen’s return. Silva is no longer the UFC champ, having lost the belt in July to the 29-year-old Weidman. Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva have looked impressive recently. The division also bolsters fresh talent in Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Luke Rockhold, Constantinos Philippou and Uriah Hall.
When asked about a fight between Silva and Sonnen, UFC president Dana White admitted it was a ways off, but he never shut the door on a possible third bout.
“Well, not in the near future. I mean, even if Chael beats Shogun, he goes back down to 185. Still, we got Vitor Belfort, you know. There’s other guys that are in line right now for that shot,” said White during the conference call.
Silva better start preparing for company because it looks like Sonnen may be coming to that barbeque after all.
Jordy McElroy is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Writer for Rocktagon Worldwide.