Chael Sonnen, Brian Stann or Vitor Belfort: Who Gets Next Crack at Anderson Silva?


Anderson Silva at UFC 117

Anderson Silva wants to test his boxing skills with Roy Jones Jr.

UFC middleweight Brian Stann has been on a path of demolition since he dropped to 185 pounds. Actually, Stann’s recent performances have garnered a ton of attention and sparked talk about him being in the mix for a shot at the UFC middleweight title currently owned by Anderson Silva.

The “All-American’s” next fight is scheduled to be at UFC 136 on Oct. 8 against former number-one contender and unintended stand-up comedian Chael Sonnen.

But the question is: does a match-up between Sonnen and Stann mean the winner would face the middleweight champion in their following fight? Good question, but according to UFC president Dana White, it’s only a possibility and not a sure thing.

“I think it could be,” White said when asked if the Sonnen-Stann fight would be for a number-one contender spot.

Sonnen was last seen in the Octagon putting a hurting on Anderson Silva for four-and-a-half rounds before the middleweight champion slapped a triangle choke on his opponent, forcing him to submit before the fight went the distance. Sonnen controlled the bout from the opening bell and was seemingly on his way to a unanimous decision and championship win, but that all came to an end when Silva put on the submission hold in the final moments of the match.

A run-in with the California State Athletic Commission over testosterone therapy, combined with a guilty plea to money laundering charges in Oregon, put a hold to Sonnen’s expected rematch with Silva, opening up the door for Vitor Belfort at UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort. Now, with most of his outside-of-the-cage business handled, Sonnen is back and will get a crack at Brian Stann for what could be a number-one contender’s match.

With his knockout win over Yohshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz, Vitor Belfort made a huge statement and showed that he is still a force to reckoned with at middleweight. Powerful hands dropped Akiyama in the first round of their affair, sending the Japanese judoka into a state of unconsciousness, face-first on the Octagon’s floor.

But although Belfort won his fight in impressive fashion, it doesn’t mean he’s first in line to get another shot at Anderson Silva. Belfort’s attempt at winning the title from Silva ended in the first round just like his bout with Akiyama, but unfortunately for Vitor, he was the one who was unconscious in the opening stanza, stemming from a precision front kick landed by Silva square on the chin.

Had his attempt at the belt been similar to what Sonnen’s was, Belfort might have been in the mix a little deeper after his win on Saturday night.

“If it was like the Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva fight, that’d be one thing,” White said about Belfort’s performance against Silva. “Vitor is going to have to beat some people at (185 pounds) and work his way back up to that title shot because it would be hard to make a rematch that quick after what happened.”

So the question is still out there: who gets the next shot at Anderson Silva? Only time will tell, but UFC 136 in Houston may clear things up a bit after Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann take each other on in the Octagon.

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
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@Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik a question or comment.

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