With Anderson Silva‘s definitive dispatching of Chael Sonnen in the UFC’s Middleweight division, the book was closed on one of the sport’s hottest rivalries.
For Silva the future is clear, as contenders are already lining up. Strikeforce’s Luke Rockhold sits outside the UFC building his resume. New UFC addition Hector Lombard is probably one fight away from a title match, and Michael Bisping has long been waiting in the wings for his shot at the belt.
What is not so clear is what the UFC will do with Chael Sonnen, who still has to be considered the number two Middleweight in the stable.
Sonnen has defeated Bisping and most of the other top fighters in the division, and is likely to keep on beating them.
So for example, let’s take the case of fast rising Cris Weidman, who comes of a whitewashing of Mark Munoz. Weidman certainly needs more fights before challenging for the title, but rushing him into a match with Sonnen is likely to derail his momentum.
This coming weekend, Tim Boetsch takes on Hector Lombard. Is a win over Boetsch enough to earn Lombard a title shot? After all, Lombard’s resume is impressive and he is a seasoned competitor.
Lombard versus Sonnen has the potential to be an explosive match, and it would certainly answer any questions about whether Lombard earns a Silva shot or is given one. A win over Sonnen would establish him as the clear number one contender to Silva’s belt.
Sonnen is on record stating he will not retire, which would have made things easier for the UFC. Finding a competitive match for Sonnen is still difficult, and the Lombard is likely the best bet on the roster to beat Sonnen, and that is what is important.
After all, you have not heard a single call for Sonnen-Silva 3!