On Saturday May 31st the fates of two Brazilian hopefuls were decided at the TUF: Brazil 3 Finale. Among those in attendance was one of the coaches from the latest season of the hugely popular Brazilian reality show, Chael Sonnen.
When fellow TUF coach Wanderlei Silva was recently removed from the scheduled bout against Chael and replaced by Vitor Belfort, it was originally reported that the fight would take place at 205lb. However, after contradicting words from UFC president Dana White about it being at middleweight, the American told Brazilian media he was unclear on the situation.
"That's news to me. Dana's just said that in Berlin," Sonnen said. "I weigh 236lb right this second, that would leave me with 51lb to lose in 30-something days - I don't know if that's possible. I have a contract, my contract's for 205 so I'm hoping that Dana misspoke. But if it's at 185 it's at 185."
Interestingly, the former middleweight title challenger revealed that being matched up against Belfort came as something of a surprise to him. Instead, Sonnen was expecting Silva to be replaced by one of the 205lb division's top contenders.
"I've been on hold to fight Anthony Johnson. Right now Little Nog's supposed to fight Anthony Johnson, everybody's waiting for him to call and say he can't do it - which will happen. And then I was supposed to fight Anthony Johnson. So when Dana told me, 'Hey, Wanderlei's out,' I thought he was gonna say, 'We're just going to put you and Anthony together.' And Vitor was a surprise for me, it kinda hit me from left field. I didn't see it coming because he's working on compliance. I think he's going to get through it though."
Vitor is currently in the process of applying for a license to compete in the state of Nevada, where his fight against Sonnen will hopefully take place at UFC 175 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 5th.
If everything goes smoothly and the fight takes place as planned, Sonnen feels a win over the #2-ranked middleweight could catapult him to the top of the title contention ladder.
"Vitor has a title right now - he has the title of number-one contender," explained Chael. "He can't come into a fight and not put that title on the line, it doesn't work that way. It would be the same as Chris Weidman saying, 'I'm going to fight Lyoto Machida but it's a non-title fight.' That's pro wrestling, that doesn't happen. If Vitor's got a title, he's got to put the title on the line. If he doesn't want to put it against me then don't fight me."
Although his current contract is for light heavyweight, if Chael intends to capture Belfort's number-one contender status and make us of it then a move back down to his old home of middleweight would be in order. By the sounds of things, that won't be a problem for Sonnen.
"I'm the most dominant middleweight there's ever been. I dominated the middleweight champion on two separate occasions. I left that weight class but that's still my weight class, and I'll go back and reclaim it any time I want."