Wanderlei Silva may not have his next fight booked, but when he does eventually sign on the dotted line, he wants an opponent who'll get him as close as possible to a middleweight title shot.
That's right, folks. Fresh off a ridiculous ‘Fight of the Year' victory over Brian Stann, "The Axe Murderer" is looking to get back into the title picture, per a report from MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight.
But what about that grudge match with Chael Sonnen? Well, Silva apparently told Helwani that Sonnen is old news, not a big enough name, and not even on his level at this point in the game. Not only that, but Silva also guaranteed Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will beat Sonnen so badly on August 17, he'll be forced into retirement.
Sonnen, of course, was sitting there at the UFC Tonight desk as this information came to light, and he wasted little time issuing a response.
"I always find it amusing when a guy threatens to hurt me in the middle of a cage fight. I kind of expect that," Sonnen quipped. "But as far as Wanderlei goes, look, I think you might be asking him the wrong question, Ariel. The question shouldn't be, ‘Why isn't he fighting me?' The question should be, ‘Why isn't he asking to fight me?' I've degraded him, I've disparaged him, and I've ridiculed him for years. I feel like he should be calling me out."
Sonnen subsequently dropped a mini-bomb of an announcement. But for that, let's transition into some headlines.
7 MUST-READ STORIES
Sonnen re-ups, heading back to 185. You knew it was coming. Yes, the Gangster from West Linn re-signed with the UFC, inking a new five-fight deal that will see Sonnen drop back down to middleweight after his fight with Shogun Rua.
Mystery man. I promise there'll be pizza and ice cream if you check out my latest feature: From Rage in the Cage, to Facebook prelims, to UFC on FOX headliner -- it's an implausible jump, but John Moraga is an unshakeable man.
Rogan out, Stann in. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan will miss next month's UFC 163 event in Brazil, according to a report on UFC Tonight. Brian Stann is expected to fill the vacant spot in broadcast booth.
Belfort update. Rio police recently arrested Leonardo Luiz Batista, a suspect in the 2004 kidnapping and murder of Vitor Belfort's sister, Priscila Belfort.
Nelson's contract. Roy Nelson's new UFC contract wound up being a hefty nine-fight deal. Commented Nelson, "I'll be fighting for the UFC for the rest of my life."
Cormier's big plans. According to a report on UFC Tonight, Daniel Cormier plans to ask for an immediate light heavyweight title shot if he defeats Roy Nelson at UFC 166.
Grow up, France. France voted to uphold its ban on mixed martial arts. Said Carole Bretteville, the president of the Women's Committee for Federation Francaise du Sport d'Entreprise (via ESPN UK): "I was appalled to find out how UFC was lobbying in France, especially when [told] how UFC has tolerated derogatory statements and attitudes against women. We cannot allow such an organization to destroy all the work we have done to promote equality through French sports."
If you didn't catch John Moraga's blistering UFC debut -- yes, I'm looking at you -- then check this out to see what you missed.
So Tito Ortiz doesn't think Stephan Bonnar deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Well, Stephan has a response.
This is pretty crazy. A 16-year-old, fresh-faced Rory MacDonald shows up for his professional debut and promptly smashes poor Ken Tran. Darn fella never stood a chance.
What else does this week has to offer? Apparently the premiere of Bare Knuckle Boxing, which uses this fancy new glove.
Remember that guy who paid people $2 to try to hit him, then totally clowned on them with they failed? Well, Barstool Sports decided try their luck at the challenge, but only after getting him wasted.
You knew we wouldn't get out of here without a nugget from the German regional scene. (For the lazy, jump to 12:15.)
IT HAS BEGUN
Ronda Rousey will show championship form in Expendables 3! So will multi hampion Victor Ortiz!— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) July 24, 2013
Very excited about this training camp,always fight my best when @cainmma and I r in camp same time Lets see if I avoid rt hand of doom haha— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) July 23, 2013
UPPING HIS GAME
SOME THOUGHTS ON FIGHTER PAY
All this talk about fighter pay lately. Yeah, I get it, U need to make a living. When you started fighting I hope it wasn't about the money— 22 (@DJ_Lauzon) July 23, 2013
If U started fighting seeing dollar signs that was your first mistake.— 22 (@DJ_Lauzon) July 23, 2013
I wonder How many Pro fighters there would be if we fought for free, just for the simple fact of a fist fight ..would you fight?— 22 (@DJ_Lauzon) July 23, 2013
My first fight, I got 1k, 2nd and 3rd fight, I got $100. I was just happy to be able to fight legally. That was better than the money.— 22 (@DJ_Lauzon) July 23, 2013
Reflecting back on it, @JoeLauzon and I fist fought over a plate of mashed potatoes a few years back...— 22 (@DJ_Lauzon) July 23, 2013
IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW
@mayhemmiller about time you follow me lol ;-) miss you my brother all the best— Renzo_Gracie_BJJ (@RenzoGracieBJJ) July 24, 2013
THE RIGHT WAY TO CUT WEIGHT
So this just happened right in front of me my hands and feet are bleeding from punching out his… http://t.co/sU20T90Djh— Jimmy Quinlan (@JimmyCrashBJJ) July 22, 2013
Announced yesterday (Tuesday, July 23, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes to us from JonBon Joey, who lists: The 10 Most Compelling UFC Fights of August
The month of August is going to be a very busy one for the UFC & all of its fans. 4 events are currently scheduled to take place during a 28 day span from August 3rd through August 31st. Those 4 events include 2 free FS1 cards(the first of which a ridiculously deep extravaganza) sandwiched in the middle of 2 PPVs book-ending the month. That accounts for 50 fights in total, and here are the 10 fights that I'm looking forward to the most:
10. Chad Mendes vs Clay Guida - A fight that was originally booked for UFC on FOX 7 back in April, but Guida suffered an injury & Mendes ended up fighting Darren Elkins. The reason this fight cracked the top 10 certainly wasn't because of Guida, as 3 of his last 4 performances are amongst the more dull fights on recent memory. Mendes used to be known as a bit of a "lay n pray" guy himself, but has slowly but surely grown out of that since joining the UFC. I like the way this fight sets up, as Guida seems to be exciting when he's fighting someone he cannot hold onto &/or shoulder shrug. Also, the winner should be in "the mix" for a Featherweight title shot.
9. Conor McGregor vs Max Holloway - 2 young extremely talented strikers that should make for a great fight, however long it may last. Conor has a lot more hype behind him coming into the fight & deservingly so. The young man possesses some real star qualities, both inside & outside of the cage. Holloway should be very game though as he is coming off a fight that ended his 3 fight winning streak, where he seemingly won the first 2 rounds, despite 2 the judges awarding the fight to Dennis Bermudez. The consensus amongst media & fans is that Conor may prove too much for Holloway. That may be the case, but boy will it be exciting.
8. Martin Kampmann vs Carlos Condit part 2 - They UFC has labeled it "Condit vs Kampmann 2" which is a bit disrespectful to Kampmann in my personal opinion. Any who, this rematch is flying under the radar quite a bit & I can understand why. Its headlining the weakest of 4 Cards in a month & both main eventers are coming off of a L, or in Condit's case 2(if not 3). I like the fact that Kampmann took some time off after such a brutal knockout. If his chin is able to hold up this could be even better than the 1st encounter because its scheduled for 5 rounds. 2 Excellent kick-boxers with awesome jiu jitsu & poor wrestling should makes for another classic.
7. Josh Barnett vs Frank Mir - A long anticipated fight that has the potential to be special. It also has the potential to turn into a sloppy kick-boxing match between 2 past their prime heavyweights. I think Barnett will make it interesting no matter where it takes place though. If it does hit the ground, Mir doesn't mind playing from his guard & Barnett prefers to smother with his top game, before ultimately sinking in a submission like a python. This also marks the return of Barnett inside the octagon, where he won/didn't win the UFC Heavyweight title.
6. Michael McDonald vs Brad Pickett - SOMEHOW, this fight is on the prelim portion of the FS1 premiere card. Not that big of deal since nearly the whole card will be broadcast anyway, but having it below the Hall & Lauzon fights bothers me. BANGFEST! Hand speed, power, combinations, cardio, JUSTBLEED!!
5. Matt Brown vs Mike Pyle - I expect that having this at # 5 will not be agreed upon by the masses, but I've become heavily invested in Matt Browns ascendency. Its a shame that Alves had to pull out from this fight because his name is a bit sexier than Pyle's, but Pyle's resume in the last 5 years is clearly better. Pyle is on a nice resurgence of his own, & the winner may find themselves near a title shot with a win. Certainly the winner would be worthy of say the Kampmann/Condit winner. Both guys are very well-rounded, but I think Brown has the advantage as a faster starter, as well as having a better chin, & full-camp to prepare.
4. Alistair Overeem vs Travis Browne - A lot of questions for both fighters going into this fight. How is the Reem's, uh, conditioning? Is Browne ready for what appears to be a step up in competition? Can Browne prove that the outcome of his fight with Bigfoot was determined by his hamstring injury? Will Greg Jackson have game plan? Will Reem fight like a Blackzillian? The winner moves into immediate title contention at Heavyweight. I could even see the UFC giving Reem a shot at Cain, if both are successful in their next bouts. Not saying it would be right, but from a business standpoint I wouldn't put it past Lorenzo & Dana.
3. Jose Aldo vs Chan Sung Jung - Its in Brazil, the Zombie is coming off of a year layoff, plus he's been knocked out by George Roop. I do not give a funk! Zombies always make for entertaining fights. Aldo probably will win, but if Florian & Hominick can go 5 rounds, Zombie certainly could too. His in your face pressure style could be effective against Aldo in fact. Aldo, though often compared to Anderson Silva, fights very differently. He likes to stalk & control the center of the cage, while Anderson is a counter-striker elite. Hominick actually had a lot of success standing against Aldo, his problem was his chin as Aldo was able to drop him a couple times. If this fight goes 2 minutes, 2 rounds or 25 minutes it will be insane no doubt about it. 2 of the most exciting fighters in the most exciting division the UFC has to offer.
2. Shogun Rua vs Chael Sonnen - Chael is coming off of 2 losses where he was finished decisively & Shogun hasn't been the same since Jones molly-whopped him. That is exactly why I love this fight. Both men are about at the same point in their careers, the downside. Chael should be able to get Shogun to the ground as Rua doesn't have the best takedown defense. Once on the ground Sonnen is very controlling & effectively busy from the top. But, unless your Jon Jones , Shogun can create scrambles or hit sweeps on anyone, especially someone who hasn't had success at 205 in the UFC at all. Shogun is personally one of my favorite fighters of all-time so I will be pulling for him. At least if he loses it wont be a soul-taking type of beating. This fight is a real sleeper pick for Fight Of The Year & FOX will love it.
1. Benson Henderson vs Anthony Pettis part 2 - The first fight was the kick heard round the world to top off the fight of the year for 2011. There as been a lot of talk about how & why we got here with torn meniscuses & concussions, but none of that matters. Pettis has said over the last year that Benson doesn't want to fight him, so there may be some nice heat leading up to this one. Pettis is coming off of 2 spectacular knockouts & while Benson has fought some close, but typically exciting fights since entering the UFC. Benson isn't the type to just hold someone down & not try to do work, so if he can get Pettis down I think Pettis will have space to create scrambles. Benson had a bit of trouble in the first fight in getting the takedown as the fight wore on. Remember, Ben likes to initiate his TDs from the clinch. He doesn't shoot much from the outside because he's not that successful in doing so. Will Pettis be able to fight at distance where he has shown to be deadly in his last 2 fight? Or can Ben get inside the clinch where he will surely try to bully? Even though I don't believe this one will top their first battle, they still have such contrasting styles even though they are so well-rounded. Oh yeah, its also for the UFC Lightweight title.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.