Unless something dramatic happens, Chael Sonnen's next opponent won't be named Wanderlei Silva and he could draw a former NCAA champion instead.
Sonnen has been dancing around a fight against Silva for the last couple of weeks hoping to secure the bout as the co-main event for the upcoming UFC 167 card, which will serve as the UFC's 20th anniversary show.
The card is currently headlined by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre against top contender Johny Hendricks, and Sonnen is gunning for the other top spot on the show.
The only problem is that Silva is out until January according to UFC president Dana White, but Sonnen has no desire to wait and has asked the UFC for a slot on the November 16 card.
"He wants to fight on that 20th Anniversary card (UFC 167)," White said about Sonnen when speaking to Bleacher Report on Wednesday night. "He wants to co-main that fight."
If Sonnen does hope to land a slot on the UFC 167 show, there is still a laundry list of opponents he could potentially face since Silva would not be available.
One name that seems like a possibility is former Penn State wrestler and NCAA champion Phil Davis, who asked for a fight with Sonnen moments after he defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC Fight Night 26.
Davis is coming off the biggest win of his career when he defeated former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, and a co-main event fight against Sonnen could be a big for the former All-American wrestler.
"Interesting," White said about Sonnen vs. Davis. "That fight could happen."
Sonnen had teased before his last fight against Rua that following the bout, he would likely be returning to the middleweight division where he's spent the majority of his MMA career.
After the fight was finished and Sonnen defeated a former UFC champion in the first round, he appeared more open to another fight at light heavyweight.
Facing a fighter currently ranked ahead of him in the UFC top ten would be another opportunity for Sonnen to impress, while Davis would get a chance to take on one of the UFC's biggest draws and potentially insert himself into the title picture with a win.
As of now, the UFC still hasn't confirmed if Sonnen vs. Davis will definitely happen, but it's at least a possibility for the UFC 167 show.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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