After UFC 117 Drama, Who Gets Next Shot at Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen or Vitor Belfort?

Dana White wasn't ruling out any options at the post fight press conference, per Sherdog:

"It's definitely a rematch people would want to see," said White, referring to a slew of requests to his Twitter account directly following the five-round barnburner. "We'll see what happens. Vitor (Belfort's) waiting to fight right now, too. We could do the rematch with Chael. We'll see what happens."

Chael and Anderson are both open to the prospect of a rematch:

"I'm a fighter and I'm here for the UFC and whatever the UFC decides is fine with me," said Silva.

Sonnen was equally receptive to the proposition of meeting Silva again.

"There's true camaraderie when you compete against somebody. I don't have ill will towards Anderson and I don't wish him a bad life," said Sonnen, "but here's the truth. If the commission would sanction it and Dana would move, I'd fight him right now."

Dave Meltzer is 100% about the immediate rematch:

Consider this: Sonnen was able to talk people into buying a match that a month earlier they could have cared less about. And he talked people into buying a match that most thought wouldn't even be competitive. The sky is the limit for Sonnen's hype skills coming off what will likely be regarded as one of the all-time classic MMA matches. It was the first time a champion had ever lost four straight rounds, big, and came back to win by finish in the fifth.

Another reason to go straight to a Silva-Sonnen rematch is the nature of mixed martial arts. If this match is passed up in favor of Silva vs. Belfort, and Sonnen is put against another contender, it's at best a crap shoot that both men will win. And if the chips don't fall right, what could be one of the biggest matches in company history could fall through the cracks.

But there are others who resist the idea of an immediate rematch, like BE commenter proflex:

WHY? Immediate rematch possibly for Sonnen? Is this going to start a trend, oh you lost, ok, we'll give you a rematch, forget the rest of the people waiting to take on the champ. There was nothing controversial, nothing to talk about but the fact that it was a great fight. Sonnen lost, next in line.

MMA Junkie makes the counter-case, then backs off with a little bit of info about the business that UFC 117 did:

So why not give him a second chance at the gold? For one, the UFC may be banking on Belfort's notoriety. Granted, he's only fought once since a five-year absence from the UFC, and that knockout victory over Franklin at UFC 103 didn't even take place at middleweight. But many fans still remember a 19-year-old "Phenom" making his promotional debut in 1997 and emerging as one of the sport's early stars. And the UFC has a vault full of Belfort fight footage to hype the bout.

Additionally, Silva and Belfort are fairly equally matched, which could produce a competitive bout with new marketing opportunities.

But there's no doubting Silva vs. Sonnen II could do big business. White, after all, said UFC 117 is on pace ("trending") for a big PPV buy total.

"Trending tonight was insane," he said after the event. "We think we did a big number tonight - a really big number. If not one more [expletive] person buys this pay-per-view, I'm happy as a pig in [expletive]. That's how well we did.

"We have a little formula, and we know how to calculate what we think we're going to do. It was a 'holy [expletive]' moment again."

I think the gravitational pull of the money is going to be too much for the Vitor vs Anderson bout. Also there have been rumors of the UFC wanting Vitor on the UFC 122 card rumored for Germany.  It would allow Belfort to get an actual win at middleweight in the UFC before fighting for the belt.


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