Following his victory over Chris Leben Saturday at UFC 138, many were calling for Mark Munoz to be next in line for a shot at UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva -- including Munoz himself.
The issue is that the money is in a rematch with Chael Sonnen, the one man in recent memory that took the champion into deep waters. After Sonnen's dominance over Brian Stann in October and his post-fight promo challenging Silva, that is the fight people will pay to see.
Both men have the credentials and wins to justify a shot and both men are qualified to give Silva a run for his money. However, this question has already been answered when you consider what happened with Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit and UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre a week ago when Condit was removed from the No. 1 contender spot.
Sonnen gets the shot because it would generate more pay-per-view business. It's that simple.
Perhaps that's not the fair way to decide these types of things, but that's life in the UFC. The goal is to get viewers to pay money for events and given the struggles the company has had this year with getting people to hit 'Buy', they have to go with whatever draws the most amount of eyeballs.
In the current day UFC, you can count the amount of "money" fights on one hand: St. Pierre vs. Diaz, Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, Silva vs. Sonnen II, Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar II and whatever fantasy booking matchup has been floated out there (Silva vs. Jones, St. Pierre vs. Silva, etc.).
Unfortunately for Munoz, he's not at the level where people are going out of their way to see him fight even though he's been really good lately. That could change with time, but for now, he is what he is: a highly skilled middleweight who is on a hot streak against some tough competition. He doesn't have the gift of gab to demand a fight and make people believe they need to see it. Sonnen does.
Munoz vs. the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller in the first quarter of 2012 would make a lot of sense. If Munoz wins, he earns the shot. Until then, Sonnen has walked the walk and more importantly talked the talk to be next in line for "The Spider".