Chael Sonnen Wants Wanderlei Silva Next, Thinks Vitor Belfort More Likely

John HeinisSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2013

TUALATIN, OR - JUNE 26:  (Editor's Note: This images was converted to black and white.) Chael Sonnen conducts a workout at the Team Quest gym on June 26, 2012 in Tualatin, Oregon.  Sonnen will fight Anderson Silva July 7, 2012 at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

UFC Fight Night 26 headliner Chael Sonnen has a tough task in front of him in the form of Mauricio Rua on Saturday, but that doesn't mean he isn't already thinking about what comes next.

Sonnen, who recently admitted he likes to look past his opponents, told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani that his main motivation for going up to light heavyweight was quite simple: Wanderlei Silva

"The American Gangster" revealed that he is willing to battle Silva at any venue and at any weight class. If Silva is dropping down to middleweight, then that's where Sonnen is headed after the "Shogun" bout. 

You had just interviewed Wanderlei who said he was going down to 185. I've been chasing Wanderlei for a long time. And ... every time the UFC asks him to fight me, he says no. Every time the media asks him, he just can't wait to fight me. Can't get in their quick enough. I don't want to give him anyway out, I just want him to say he doesn't want to do the fight. That's good enough for me. He likes to talk tough and subtitle it weeks later, I like to speak clearly and directly. I will follow him anywhere, to any venue, to any country, at any weight class.

Sonnen then told Helwani that he wants Wanderlei next, though he thinks he'll "end up with Vitor (Belfort)."

The three-time UFC title challenger mentioned a now infamous YouTube video of Sonnen and Silva traveling in the same van back in 2010, with Silva being critical of the American's recent disparaging remarks about Brazil.

While the Brazilian fan favorite has not made the cut to 185 pounds since November 2011, he recently told Helwani he would like to get back into the title picture at middleweight, according to MMA Fighting

Apparently, that's all Sonnen needed to hear to decide his return to light heavyweight would be short-lived. 

Belfort isn't willing to fight at middleweight unless the title is on the line, but he stated two weeks ago that he would like to settle the score with Sonnen at a catchweight. 

If Sonnen beat Shogun on Saturday and the recently proposed Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida doesn't come to fruition, Sonnen vs. Belfort would make some kind of sense all of sudden. 


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for