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Wanderlei Silva happy to settle ‘old rivalry’ against Chael Sonnen at Bellator 180

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UFC 175 press conference photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Three years later, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen will finally meet inside the cage.

The MMA veterans were originally scheduled to meet three different times in 2014 after coaching the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but the bout was eventually canceled after Silva skipped an out-of-competition drug test.

Silva, who signed with Bellator MMA after being granted his release from the UFC in Jan. 2016, is set to meet Sonnen in the main event of Bellator 180 at New York’s Madison Square Garden on June 24, and is "happy" that his 50th professional MMA fight is against the Oregon native.

"I’m happy to announce to you that my next fight is done for Bellator 180, against Sonnen, an old rivalry that will finally be settled,” Silva said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

"I have 49 fights and I really wanted to do this 50th fight, but more than that, it had to be with him. I was going to fight 'Cro Cop’ (Mirko Filipovic) at the end of the year, but I couldn't recover. But the 50th fight, I really wanted it to be against him, and it will. And I will beat him up.”

Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) was booked to meet “Cro Cop” a third time at RIZIN on Dec. 29, but pulled out due to injuries sustained in a hit-and-run accident suffered in Brazil in May. Silva’s last fight took place in March 2013, a TKO win over Brian Stann.

Sonnen (28-15-1) made his Bellator debut in January, losing to Tito Ortiz via first-round submission and dropping to 1-4 in his last five bouts — a run that includes UFC title fights versus Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Sonnen hasn’t won a fight since Aug. 2013, when he tapped Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the first round.