BOSTON – Chael Sonnen has asked Wanderlei Silva a question, and he wants a direct answer before deciding his next step.
The question, of course, is will you fight me?
Sonnen (28-13-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) called out the former PRIDE champ in a signature post-fight speech after submitting ex-champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (21-8 MMA, 5-6 UFC) in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 26, which took place at Boston’s TD Garden.
Prior to the event, the three-time UFC title challenger, who won a $50,000 “Submission of the Night” award for a first-round guillotine of Rua, said he would go down to middleweight and wanted to fight Silva, even though he expected the Brazilian would turn the fight down.
Sonnen also expressed a desire to fight a third fight with another Silva – former champ Anderson Silva, who twice beat him when he ruled the middleweight division.
His reasons, though, for talking about both fights are different.
“I’m not chasing the belt,” Sonnen said. “Sometimes I’m just chasing guys – Jon Jones was an example of that. He just happened to have the title. Anderson doesn’t have the title. Biggest projected fight of the year, Dec. 28 at the MGM Grand, Anderson has his hands full (in a rematch with current champ Chris Weidman). I’m not trying to interject myself in that. But the reality is that that frustrates me, and there are some losses that do. And I’m a stubborn guy, and I know he’s got two wins, but I think I could get him on a third one.
“Wanderlei drives me insane. Wanderlei Silva tells the media he wants to fight me. I would love to fight Wanderlei. Wanderlei insists that fight has never been offered. That’s been a big marquee fight for years – to believe he hasn’t been offered that fight is ridiculous, and it pisses me off. All I need for him is to say he doesn’t want to do it, then I’m out. I’m not a bully, and I’m not going to pick on him – but if he continues to say it, he’s going to continue to get me to respond.”
Instead, it seems Sonnen has gotten responses from everyone but “The Axe Murderer.” In the moments after his victory, no less than three top-tier fighters volunteered on Twitter to be his next opponent: Phil Davis, Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort, who’s made a habit of making call-outs on social media after big fights.
In a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com, Wanderlei Silva blasted Sonnen and said he had no problem with taking a fight, adding that he planned to bet $100,000 on Rua winning on Saturday night. Perhaps it was Silva’s money that contributed to a late swing toward Rua in betting lines.
Now that Sonnen has won, Silva apparently is the next man in line. Will he take the fight? And if he doesn’t, who will?
“I would beat up Vitor on the way to the ring to kick Wanderlei’s ass, and I’ll take care of the third guy whose name I’ve already forgotten on the way to the parking lot on the way to my after party,” said Sonnen. “I’m not excited to fight a contract to fight Vitor (Belfort) or (Antonio Rogerio) ‘Little Nog’ (Nogueira). Because they pull out. They don’t show up and fight when they say they want to fight. Everybody’s a tough guy behind the keyboard. Now, I personally think Vitor is also an excellent fighter. He just doesn’t always show up and fight, so I don’t know how I’m supposed to go through one of these processes.
“Wanderlei, not for nothing, he will show up when he says he’ll show up. The same thing goes with Anderson Silva. Whether Anderson is hurt or not, if he signs a contract he shows up, and that means something to me. Some of those other guys don’t, and it’s tough. Little Nogueria says he wants to fight ‘Shogun’ – why would ‘Shogun’ sign a contract to fight a guy who said that before? It’s like Brer Rabbit…’I wasn’t born in the briar patch.’ Sure you were!”
So what Sonnen is saying is that he wants someone who will commit. Wanderlei Silva is preferable, but it depends on whether he signs the contract. As of this writing, he was quiet on Twitter.
Until the Brazilian pipes up, Sonnen could go to middleweight, or stay at light heavyweight. By Monday, he may be closer to heavyweight, anyway.
“Let me just stick around Boston for a couple days,” he said. “I’m going to get over to a place called Regina’s pizza before we get out to ‘UFC Tonight’ on FS1 on Wednesday.”
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.