Chael Sonnen joined John Anik, Stephan Bonnar and Franklin McNeil on this week’s edition of ESPN MMA Live to help dissect his thrilling title fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117. In regards to an immediate rematch, Sonnen believes he will be Silva’s next opponent, but doesn’t think Silva will be his. He’s aware Silva could be out until Spring 2011, and he’s not going to sit around and wait for him.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume Chael is right and he will fight at least once more before the UFC grants him another title shot. In that case, who’s next for Chael Sonnen? The obvious choice is Vitor Belfort, but it appears there’s another potential opponent emerging from the shadows. According to Fighters Only, Michael Bisping could be next for Sonnen if he gets past Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 120.

Sources close to the situation tell Fighters Only that Bisping is likely to find himself facing either Chael Sonnen or Patrick Cote depending on the outcome of his fight with Akiyama.

Bisping has been eager to earn a title shot for some time and if he can get past Akiyama he is “very likely” to find himself matched with Sonnen, the sources say.

If he loses to Akiyama, he is more likely to find himself matched with Patrick Cote, a former title challenger himself (UFC 90) who is looking to return to the upper echelon of the UFC middleweight division following time away injured.

Not only that, but a little bit of heat has been building up between Bisping and Sonnen. Immediately following Sonnen’s near-win last Saturday night, Bisping posted an inflammatory remark on his Twitter feed about Sonnen that was later removed. The internet never forgets though. Sonnen caught wind, and used his final words on the MMA Live broadcast to send Bisping a message.

“If Bisping ever addresses me in public again, I will bury him where he stands.”

Not one to back down from anybody, Bisping shrugged it off as Sonnen as being Sonnen.

“Sonnen talking shit? whats new, thats like saying day follows night.”

It goes without saying that a Sonnen-Bisping match-up has the potential to produce some epic trash talk, and don’t think that’s gone unnoticed by the UFC. They’re well aware of the pre-fight hype that Sonnen and Bisping’s fiery personalities could generate, and have already planted the seed on the official UFC Twitter account.

That’s not to say this is definitely the route the UFC will take with Sonnen, but it makes a lot of sense if they do. If they pair Sonnen with Bisping, they can always do Belfort-Okami and figure out who gets the next title shot when the dust settles. Plus, after hearing Chael Sonnen talk one-way smack for six months it would be kinda nice to see him matched with someone who’s willing to fire back.

Image via Sherdog