Thursday, July 7, 2011 Updated: July 12, 11:20 AM ET
Chael Sonnen to fight Brian Stann
By Franklin McNeil ESPN.com
Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, who came within minutes of defeating champion Anderson Silva last August, returns to action against fast-rising Brian Stann, the UFC announced Thursday on its website.
According to the UFC, Sonnen and Stann have verbally agreed to the fight. They are scheduled to meet at UFC 136 in October.
Middleweight Chael Sonnen, right, who nearly beat Anderson Silva, left, last August, will get back in the cage vs. Brian Stann in the coming months.
"Anytime I can fight somebody of the stature and has had the kind of career of a guy like Chael Sonnen, I'm excited," Stann told ESPN.com. "He's ranked No. 2 in the world at middleweight, and deservingly so, and he's the guy who gave Anderson Silva the fight of his life.
"I told the UFC I wanted to fight the best and this is the person they gave me."
Sonnen dominated Silva for four rounds and appeared on his way to pulling off the biggest upset in UFC history when the two met last year. But at the 3:10 mark of Round 5, Silva caught Sonnen in an armbar to retain his title.
UFC officially has not announced where 136 will be held, but it is expected to take place in Houston on Oct. 8.
Stann will be making his third appearance at middleweight when he steps in the Octagon against Sonnen. He is undefeated at 185 pounds.
In his most recent fight, Stann registered a second-round TKO of Jorge Santiago at UFC 131 on May 28. The former WEC light heavyweight champion has a professional record of 11-3-0.
Sonnen will make his first appearance in the cage since the California State Athletic Commission voted in April to uphold his suspension.
The CSAC believed Sonnen (25-11-1) may have perjured himself during testimony at an appeal hearing in December related to his ban for elevated levels of testosterone following his middleweight title fight against Silva.
The commission also addressed whether Sonnen's guilty plea in January to money-laundering charges related to his real-estate business -- he was placed on 24 months' probation, fined $10,000 and lost his real-estate license -- brought "discredit" to the state as a licensee.
Sonnen's suspension was expected to keep him out of action until May 18, 2012, but the CSAC corrected its ruling after discovering that Sonnen's license was to expire on June 29.
The fighter was allowed to reapply for his license on that date, which made him eligible to resume his career.
"Chael's excited to get back in there and making a living," Sonnen's manager Mike Roberts told ESPN.com. "He looks forward to the challenge of facing Brian Stann."
Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.