OAKLAND CA - AUGUST 06: (L-R) UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva refuses to face off with opponent Chael Sonnen at the UFC 117 weigh-in at Oracle Arena on August 6 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
One of the criticisms I had of the build up for UFC 136 was that there simply wasn't enough focus put on Chael Sonnen. Love him or hate him, the guy has the ability to generate buzz by spouting off sometimes outlandish comments. After dispatching of Brian Stann with shocking ease, Sonnen called out Anderson Silva for some sort of pro-wrestling style loser leaves town match.
Sonnen has now said that the deadline expired for the stipulation where he would leave the UFC if he lost and Silva would leave the middleweight division if he couldn't get the win, so we're now robbed of getting to see if we had an eventual MMA version of the saga of Stagger Lee on our hands.
Still, there is significant buzz around the potential rematch, a combination of Chael's ability to talk the bout up and his success for much of the bout before getting caught and submitted the first time around.
Ed Soares, manager of Silva, has made it clear that he thinks Sonnen should be at the back of the line for a title shot and he said it once again on Sherdog radio. From the interview:
Anderson just feels that he doesn't deserve it yet. He doesn't deserve it yet. ... A lot of people are interested in the fight. It's a big fight. Anderson's not ducking him. Anderson, right now, is focused on recouping his shoulder, and basically he's going through physical therapy on that just to get that back 100 percent. ...if Dana wants to put the fight on again, we'll cross that bridge when it comes.
...our opinion is that we don't think Chael should get a shot yet. There's other guys out there. ... I've been hearing a bunch of different people. Let someone try that hasn't fought for the belt yet. Why do we have to keep repeating these fighters? We fought Rich Franklin twice. We'll probably end up having to fight Chael twice. We're going to end up fighting probably Dan Henderson twice. It's just like, it would be nice to see some new faces in there getting a crack at it.
I don't think [a Super Bowl weekend rematch is] going to happen. It could happen, but we'll just have to cross that bridge when it comes.
As for new faces getting a crack at the middleweight title? The only top ten fighters that haven't already gotten a shot are Mark Munoz and Michael Bisping. Munoz vs. Silva is a near pointless fight as far as I can tell and Soares even threw out that they tend not to think about Bisping.
The superfight with Georges St. Pierre is highly unlikely given that GSP is rehabbing his knee, will come back to fight Carlos Condit and then possibly the winner of B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz. A superfight with Jon Jones is out given that Jones has a bout with Lyoto Machida at the end of the year, then a bout with Rashad Evans and one with the Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua winner all lined up.
So if not Sonnen, who?