Chael Sonnen: I Have to Fight Vitor Belfort for My Career to Be Complete

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Chael Sonnen: I Have to Fight Vitor Belfort for My Career to Be Complete
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has his eyes on a grudge match with fellow fight veteran Vitor Belfort before he hangs up the gloves once and for all. 

In a lengthy interview with Gracie Mag, "The American Gangster" gave some sincere praise to Belfort before declaring that he "has to fight him" before retiring, per MMA Fighting

I think outside of Jon Jones, Vitor is the scariest guy in the UFC right now. Vitor's and I's paths will cross. There's two guys that for my career to be complete, I have to fight. It's Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort. That's not a secret. The UFC will tell you the same thing. It has a number of times. Sooner or later that will happen, but in between now and then I'm not going to lie about what an incredible job Vitor has done, particularly in 2013.

Sonnen is currently booked to square off with Brazilian adversary Wanderlei Silva at UFC 175 on July 5, though he has tried to pull Rich Franklin out of his 18-month hiatus from the cage in case "The Axe Murderer" can't make it. 

The 37-year-old is just 3-4 in his past seven contests, though three of those four losses came to then-middleweight champion Anderson Silva (twice) and light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones. 

Meanwhile, Belfort, also 37, is riding a three-fight knockout streak over the likes of Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson. 

Belfort was originally scheduled to meet middleweight champ Chris Weidman at UFC 173 on May 24 but was replaced by Lyoto Machida in light of the Nevada State Athletic Commission banning testosterone replacement therapy, per FOX Sports.

The Brazilian knockout specialist has already expressed an interest in leapfrogging Machida at UFC 175 (the bout was postponed after Weidman required minor knee surgery), though that seems unlikely since he remains unlicensed by the NSAC, per MMA Fighting

Should Sonnen easily dispense of Wanderlei Silva this summer, would a long-discussed matchup with Belfort be a logical idea?

 

John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also thMMA editor for eDraft.com.

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