UFC 175: Chael Sonnen explains why two light heavyweights are fighting for a 185-pound title shot

USA TODAY Sports

Ever the opportunist...

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has bounced Wanderlei Silva from his upcoming grudge match against Chael Sonnen, scheduled for UFC 175 on July 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after "The Axe Murderer" refused a pre-fight drug test.

Read all about it here.

Stepping in for him will be fellow Brazilian banger Vitor Belfort, who just so happened to be next in line for a middleweight title shot, one he gave to Lyoto Machida earlier this year when testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was banned from "Sin City" combat.

Now he's back.

But in order to preserve his spot in line, he's got to get through Chael Sonnen at the same event that sees "The Dragon" challenging Chris Weidman for the middleweight crown. So why then, is "The Phenom" fighting "The American Gangster" at light heavyweight?

Sonnen explains (via UFC Tonight):

"Vitor and I are both middleweights — we have both been fighting up. I had this specific weight class because I had a fight with Wanderlei. I think they held the class for Vitor’s sake so that he doesn’t have to try to pull that weight off on just 40 days notice. I consider it a catchweight of 205 pounds, but we are both middleweights [185 pounds]…. Vitor Belfort, for me, was the ‘Fighter of the Year.’ It definitely is a harder match. And also, Wanderlei is an orthodox fighter, while Vitor is a southpaw. It makes a big difference. There’s a tremendous speed difference between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort [too]. But, look, here’s the bottom line: Vitor and my paths were going to cross at some point. We all have a fate. And now Vitor and I have a date…. We have been going after [each other] for awhile…. Timing in life is everything. And the time is now."

Belfort would definitely deserve a title shot with a win ... but Sonnen?

The former Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" coach has not competed at 185 pounds since getting lit up by Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in July 2012, which kicked off a dreadful 1-3 run. In fact, Sonnen (28-14) is not even ranked at middleweight and would effectively leapfrog guys like Luke Rockhold (No. 5) and "Jacare" Souza (No. 4).

Anyone have a problem with that?

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