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Steve Cofield

Next UFC middleweight champ may come from WEC

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

The UFC is on the look out for anyone who can legitimately challenge Anderson Silva for his middleweight title. The best options appear to be Michael Bisping, two guys Silva already beat in Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt, and new UFC signee Denis Kang. There could be two other options coming over from Zuffa's second promotion World Extreme Cagefighting. Chael Sonnen, who's only lost once at 185 lbs., could be a challenger. And down the road the best prospect at 185 may be Mark Munoz.

Munoz, the 197-pound NCAA Division I wrestling champ in 2001 at Oklahoma State, has been fighting at 205 lbs. but appears to have extra masss and could get down to the middleweight limit. After a victory last week over jiu-jitsu black belt Ricardo Barros, Yahoo! Sports caught up with Munoz who says he's ready for the big show.

It's unlikely that Munoz will be ready any time soon. He could be the guy once Silva retires or permanently moves onto the light heavyweight division. Munoz said he'll be working on his striking in the future with Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Speaking of Roach, in talking to him during the Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya pre-fight, he didn't exactly give glowing reports about Silva's early boxing work at the Wild Card Gym. Roach said that he needs work, had a rough couple of days early on and is laying on the ropes too much.

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