Chael Sonnen, who took middleweight champion Anderson Silva to the limit at UFC 117 back in August 2010, is widely-recognized as the division contender with the best chance of squishing "The Spider" in a 2012 title fight.
But first he has to get past Mark Munoz at UFC on FOX 2 later this month.
Even if he's successful, middleweight debutante Anthony Johnson doesn't believe that makes him the top threat in the division. No, "Rumble" contends that it is he who will give the Brazilian deity the fits, if and when they ever hook 'em up.
And destroying Vitor Belfort would sure do a lot to convince fans he's not just talking the talk.
He'll get that chance on Saturday night (Jan. 14, 2012), when he meets "The Phenom" in the co-main event of UFC 142: "Aldo vs. Mendes" at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
A fight Johnson says he'll "dominate."
"Moving up to face Vitor was a new chapter in my life, a new challenge. I’m going to stay here and I’m going to take over this weight class. I will dominate Vitor Belfort. Chael Sonnen is seen as the top threat to Anderson Silva’s title. Well, I am at 185-pounds and everyone at middleweight has to worry about me now. I’m in this division to go to the top. You will see a whole different animal now that I am at this weight class."
A win over the Brazilian would certainly catapult him into the list of top contenders; however, he may still need to take a back seat to the winner of Sonnen vs. Munoz, as well as the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Demian Maia, also booked for the UFC on FOX 2 event on Jan. 28 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
But he would most definitely be "in the mix."
So how about it then, Maniacs, if you're UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who does "Rumble" fight with a win over "The Phenom?" How about a loss?