Chael Sonnen will face Wanderlei Silva as a light heavyweight, further delaying his move to middleweight.
Sonnen made the announcement during UFC Fight Night’s pre-fight show on Fox Sports 2 Friday.
“Wanderlei, eat up,” he said. “Enjoy the holiday.”
Sonnen and Silva will serve as coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, which begins filming in January. So far, no date or venue has been announced for their matchup.
After his loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167 last month, Chael Sonnen announced that he was planning to move back down to the middleweight division. He said he fought someone who was a better fighter than him, but Evans said Sonnen had too many distractions — including changing fight camps — that took away from his focus.
The 36-year-old last fought at 185 pounds against former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148 last July. He moved back up to 205 pounds for a title match against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but lost the fight by TKO in the first round. Prior to that, Sonnen hadn’t fought at light heavyweight since his UFC debut in October 2005, which he lost by triangle choke submission to Renato Sobral in the second round.
Wanderlei Silva last fought in March against Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV in March. The 37-year-old Brazilian won the match, his return to light heavyweight, by KO in the second round, earning Knockout of the Night honors. The former PRIDE middleweight champion suffered a back injury that UFC president Dana White said would keep him sidelined until January.
Last month, Silva said he wanted his match with Sonnen to take place at Maracanã, an open air stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The stadium was opened in 1950 to host the FIFA World Cup in its first trip to Brazil, and Silva said he wanted there to be “110,000 fans in there if possible.” He also said he would buy all the tickets and hand them out to fans if the stadium didn’t sell out.
Dana White said he would consider having Wanderlei Silva fight Chael Sonnen in a Brazilian soccer stadium with Vitor Belfort fighting for the middleweight championship against the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 2 the same night.
Silva said of fighting Sonnen at light heavyweight, “I want him really strong, so he can survive more than a round against me. I want this fight at 205 pounds.”
[Pictured: Wanderlei Silva, photo credit: Dankos Unlmtd / Flickr]