The UFC has officially announced the return of their enigmatic, yet spectacular-when-I-wanna-be, middleweight champion. As expected, Anderson Silva will defend his crown against the gritty Chael Sonnen at UFC 117.
“When we offered Chael Sonnen this shot at the title, he promised us one thing: that he was going to make this a fight,” said UFC President Dana White. “I know he means it, and after beating three legit contenders in Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami, and Dan Miller, he’s definitely going to bring the best out of Anderson Silva on August 7th. And as far as Anderson is concerned, he wants to remind everybody why he’s considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”
Sonnen earned his shot at the title after easily disposing of Marquardt, the division’s former top contender, at UFC 109 in February. White is hopeful the Team Quest trained wrestler will be the guy that finally pushes Silva, who has been perfect through his last 12 contests.
“He’s been ducking me for four years,” Sonnen said of the Brazilian. “This fight is a large part about the title and a large part about him. We’re not going to be friends. He’s not my kind of guy. But this fight is also to prove a point to the rest of the guys in the division. One guy has challenged him in four years and it’s been me.”
While he remains the planet’s baddest 185-pounder, things haven’t been completely perfect for “The Spider.” Instead of unleashing the devastating finish everybody was expecting, Silva opted to taunt and tease Demian Maia for much of their UFC 112 contest.
White was so upset with the uneventful unanimous decision that he left the Octagon area during the 4thRound and had a private meeting with Silva following the post-fight press conference. White later threatened to fire Silva if he ever reverted back to his old tricks.
“Chael is a very good fighter,” Silva said. “I am training very hard with my team, and Minotauro Nogueira and Lyoto Machida, and I will be ready. This is a title fight and I expect him to be ready because I know I will be. If the guy wants to talk that’s fine. It’s a lot different inside the Octagon.”
In addition to the middleweight title affair, the UFC also announced that Matt Hughes will be taking on Ricardo Almeida and Clay Guida will face Rafael dos Anjos.
UFC Fight Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Wednesday, June 9th starting at 10am PT via UFCFightClub.com. UFC newsletter subscriber presale starts Thursday, June 10th at 10AM PT, with the general public gaining access Friday, June 11 at 10AM PT.
UFC 117 will go down at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Here are the fighters slated/rumored for the pay-per-view broadcast:
Rodney Wallace vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Johnny Hendricks vs Charlie Brenneman
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders
Dustin Hazelett and Rick Story
Thiago Silva vs. Tim Boetsch
Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida
Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves
Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Championship)