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Chael Sonnen’s return to middleweight fueled by fight with Wanderlei Silva

Chael Sonnen’s return to middleweight fueled by fight with Wanderlei Silva

This weekend UFC star Chael Sonnen (27-13-1) will enter the Octagon as a light heavyweight for what will likely be the last time of his career, as the seasoned grappler decided he wanted to return to middleweight where he’d found the bulk of his success after a brief flirtation with 205 pounds. While it would seem Sonnen’s interest could have something to do with Chris Weidman’s win over former divisional king Anderson Silva, the 36-year old recently revealed his motivation to move back down isn’t related to the title so much as a different tilt.

“I’ve been chasing Wanderlei Silva for a long time. Every time the UFC asks him to fight me he says no. And every time the media asks him he just can’t wait to fight me, can’t get in there quick enough,” explained Sonnen in an interview with MMAFighting at the open workouts for UFC Fight Night 26. “I don’t want give him any way out. I just want him to say he doesn’t want to do the fight and that’s good enough for me. He likes to talk tough and subtitle it weeks later. I like to speak clearly and directly and I will follow him anywhere to any venue in any country at any weight-class.”

That being said, Sonnen still doesn’t believe “The Axe Murderer” will accept his challenge, saying a showdown with Vitor Belfort seems more likely based on Silva’s past behavior. Still, he will at least have a chance to make a statement to Silva on Saturday night when he faces fellow Chute Boxe alumnus Mauricio Rua in the main event at UFC Fight Night 26.

The 35-12-1 Silva hasn’t fought since knocking out Brian Stann in March. The win marked the 25th knockout of his career, adding to a list featuring similar finishes against the likes of Keith Jardine, Cung Le, and Quinton Jackson.