Chael Sonnen Originally Thought He’d Be Fighting Anthony Johnson At UFC 175

The recent windfall of developments surrounding Wanderlei Silva’s removal from his scheduled UFC 175 grudge match with Chael Sonnen has been a road littered with multiple twists and turns.

When Silva was found to be unable to compete after he allegedly ran from a Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) drug test, No. 3-ranked middleweight Vitor Belfort stepped up to face Sonnen on the July 5 card.

It was first thought to be contested at light heavyweight with the winner getting a middleweight title shot, but UFC President Dana White has since clarified that the bout will be fought at middleweight, with a title shot only going to Belfort should he win.

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The bout is still pending Belfort’s June 17 licensing hearing with the NSAC, during which the results of Belfort’s hotly debated drug test prior to UFC 173 will be revealed. But Sonnen originally thought he would have a different opponent altogether, stating the following during his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Brazil 3 scrum:

“I’ve been on hold to fight Anthony Johnson. Right now Little Nog’s supposed to fight Anthony Johnson, everybody’s waiting for him to call and say he can’t do it – which will happen. And then I was supposed to fight Anthony Johnson. So when Dana told me, ‘Hey, Wanderlei’s out,’ I thought he was gonna say, ‘We’re just going to put you and Anthony together.’ And Vitor was a surprise for me, it kinda hit me from left field. I didn’t see it coming because he’s working on compliance. I think he’s going to get through it though.” – via MMA Mania

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That’s certainly an interesting proposition that may not have worked out all that well for Sonnen. ‘The American Gangster’ is 1-3 in his last four bouts, with all three losses coming by way of TKO stoppage to the best names in the games.

‘Rumble,’ on the other hand, has been living up to his namesake, steamrolling seven straight opponents after returning to defeat a trash-talking Phil Davis at UFC 172 on April 27. It’s a bit of an odd booking with the surging veteran matched up against the extremely inconsistent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who has been out of action since defeating Rashad Evans at UFC 156 way back in February 2013.

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Commission willing, Belfort will hook ‘em up with Sonnen on July 5. Will the outcome be any different than if he would have fought ‘Rumble?’