Anderson Silva is headlining UFC 117 on Saturday. Silva is one of the best mixed martial artist in the world. Despite being one of the most talented fighters in the world, he’s the UFC’s worst PPV draw. His last two title defenses have gone the length and during those fights he’s constantly shrugged off his opponents and generally not taken anything seriously. On Saturday, Chael Sonnen wants to be taken seriously, despite the fact that he’s been talking nonsense for the last few months.
Silva’s resume speaks for itself. He has a 26-4 career record. He hasn’t lost since January of 2006. He’s won a UFC-record 11 consecutive times inside the octagon and is a 7-time UFC champion. I don’t remember the last time he was in trouble in a fight. Despite the numbers and results, over the last two years, I’ve been conditioned to hate Anderson Silva and dread his title fights.
“Anderson’s a fraud. He’s a liar and a thief. This guy’s not from a bowing culture. If you bow in Brazil they’ll hit you over the head and take your wallet out of your pocket.”
During his headlining bout at UFC 112 he amused me during the first two rounds as he barked like a dog and pretended to be a mannequin, daring Damien Maia to punch him in the face. It was something I’d never seen and for awhile, it was amusing. Then the third, fourth and fifth rounds passed without Silva doing much of anything. Sure, there was no question he’d won the fight, but he should have finished Maia.
If you’ve never seen the Demian Maia fight, here it is in all its glory.
So what makes this fight different? This story goes beyond the usual cliches of “champion versus challenger” or “these guys really don’t like each other.” The simple reason for that is Chael Sonnen.
“I’m going to throw him on his back and beat a hole in his face.”
For months Sonnen has vowed to not only take the fight to Anderson Silva, but to embarrass him. His trash talk has gone from the ridiculous to the insane. When Sonnen is done with Anderson Silva, The Spider will either retire or be fired by Dana White. Sonnen is going to rid MMA fans of Silva’s hijinks once and for all.
Chael Sonnen is a former All-American wrestler from the University of Oregon. Earlier this year he was running for the Oregon House of Representatives as a Republican. He bowed out of that fight, presumably
so he could talk smack about this one. Most recently, he even turned his attention to Lance Armstrong. In an interview Sonnen explained that Armstrong gave himself cancer. Then he explained that he has never once spoken about Lance Armstrong in his life. (Via Middle Easy.)
Sonnen has said that he’s never lost to a middleweight. He has. He says he’s been challenging Silva for the last four years and Silva has been avoiding him. He could have, but no one knew who he was. He’s said he’s unimpressed by his resume because he beat a math teacher. Rich Franklin is one of the best middleweights in UFC history. He beat a slow light heavyweight. Forrest Griffin submitted Sonnen in 2003.
“This is going to be a one-sided pounding and I’m swinging the hammer.”
Here are the highlights from UFC media conference call. See, with Chael Sonnen, the talk just doesn’t stop. On Saturday we’ll find out if he can back any of it up.
Personally, I don’t see it. Sonnen is a tough guy, sure. He’s going to go out there and get in Anderson Silva’s face. He’s convinced me of that. I’m certainly he’ll bring it on Saturday. The only problem is, he’s still got to fight Anderson Silva. The last person to challenge Anderson Silva was probably Dan Henderson. He, like Sonnen, is an all-American wrestler. Henderson was submitted at the end of the second round. I think Sonnen is going to suffer a similar defeat.
The truth is, no matter what happens, the fans are winners. Everyone is secretly hoping to see Anderson Silva get beat up. People have thrown away money by buy his last two title fights. Besides, if Chael Sonnen can get this done, he could replace Brock Lesnar as the UFC’s preeminent heel. If Sonnen has convinced himself of all these things getting ready to fight one of the best guys in the world, what will he have to say about the guys in the division that he might be better than?
Finally, there’s the more likely outcome. Silva goes out there and shuts Chael up by beating him down. If this is the kind of junk that needs to be broadcast to motivate Anderson Silva to be the guy we all know he can be… Well, that’s awesome. I hope the next guy does the same thing. I just can’t wait to see the post-fight interviews.