Despite a six-month suspension for a failed post-fight screening for a performance-enhancing substance (elevated testosterone level) and being on the shelf for more than a year, Chael Sonnen today told Bruce Buffer on his "It's Time" radio show that he is just one fight away from another 185-pound title shot.
However, the former number one contender revealed that even if he defeats Brian Stann at UFC 136: "Edgar vs. Maynard 3," which is scheduled for the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 8, 2011, he'd pass on the opportunity if reigning division kingpin, Anderson Silva, is dethroned this weekend by his "friend," Yushin Okami.
Sonnen, who was within less than two minutes of defeating "The Spider" back at UFC 117 before succumbing to a fifth-round submission, explains his stance:
"Dana [White] and I are at a crossroads. Dana wants this to be a number one contender’s match and wants me to fight for the championship. I don’t have anything against fighting my friend Yushin Okami, who will be the champion by then, but I have unfinished business with Anderson Silva. For me, what I am lobbying for, is win or lose, I will fight Anderson Silva next. Anderson will be working his way back up, or I should say working his way down. I’m going to grab him and beat him up anyway, just for laughs, just on principle. Just for my sheer entertainment, I’m going to go slap that guy around. I don’t need his little tin belt. I’m already the champion."
Prior to his suspension and other legal troubles, Sonnen was penciled in for an immediate rematch against Silva earlier this year. But Vitor Belfort -- who Sonnen describes as "one of the scariest guys in the company" -- was plugged in as a replacement and was finished in less than four minutes.
If Sonnen can defeat his "other" friend, Stann, later this fall, it could be near impossible for the promotion to deny him a title shot ... especially if Silva is still atop the division. The heat, rivalry and potential pay-per-view (PPV) revenue that the pair can generate in a rematch is just too much to withstand.
A rematch with Okami, who Sonnen defeated in 2009, just wouldn't have the same sizzle. And neither would a fight between UFC Middleweight Champion Yushin Okami and number one contender, Brian Stann.