The Chael Sonnen
who taunted Anderson
Silva for the better part of two years has left the building,
at least for the time being.
Previously channeling the role of unapologetic antagonist in the
lead-up to his rematch with the middleweight champion at UFC 148,
Sonnen finally gave “The Spider” his due after falling by technical
knockout in Saturday night's main event at the MGM Grand Garden
Arena in Las Vegas.
Sonnen had previously taken Silva to the brink of defeat in 2010
before he was submitted with a last-minute triangle choke at UFC
117. Sonnen appeared to once again be on the right track in the
first round of the rematch, immediately taking Silva to the mat and
gradually passing to half-guard. The Oregonian eventually slipped
into mount, the dominant position in which he would end the
Despite the fortuitous start, however, Sonnen would not escape the
second round. After pressing Silva against the cage early, Sonnen
whiffed on a spinning backfist that took him off balance and left
him seated against the cage. With no hesitation, Silva planted a
devastating knee directly into Sonnen's chest. Though the former
Oregon Duck would manage to regain his vertical base, Silva sent
him back to the mat shortly thereafter with a flurry of punches and
continued to drop bombs until referee Yves Lavigne halted the
Despite acquitting himself well in both meetings with Silva before
making critical errors, Sonnen says he does not take any
consolation from putting the champion in more trouble than anyone
else has in Silva's six-year UFC career.
“It's pass or fail when you're in [the Octagon],” Sonnen said at
the post-fight press conference. “You either get it done, or you
don't. I was handed a lot of compliments after the first fight, and
I'm going, 'Jeez, that's nice, but did you see who won the fight? I
didn't win.' [Silva is] just a another regular guy. We weigh the
same thing, and he finds a way to win. I admire it.”
Though some fans took offense to Sonnen's use of pro-wrestling
inspired promos to hype Saturday's rematch, the results are tough
to deny, as the UFC reportedly set a new live gate record in the
United States. Though Sonnen stoked the coals of contempt from some
fans for his words leading up to the contest, the middleweight
appeared to bury the hatchet with Silva after the bout.
“That's the way you deal with combat,” Sonnen said of the
post-fight handshake he shared with Silva. “You always leave it in
the cage or on the mat. Those are the rules, and I follow them.
That was great that he [shook my hand]. It was very nice of
In addition to speaking highly of his opponent, Sonnen also
applauded the dedication and support shown toward the champion by
his fans in Brazil.
“The Brazilian fans have it down right. They back their guy.
America is the only country in the world where we don't do that,
and that's fine, but I really admire the Brazilian fans,” said
Sonnen. “That includes when I'm getting booed on the way in. I
should be getting booed when I'm taking on their guy.”
While it is unclear exactly where this loss leaves Sonnen, the
middleweight contender says that he will always be gunning for
another crack at winning the title.
“I really believe that if you're going to be in this company and
take up a spot, then you've got to be chasing a championship,” said
Sonnen. “There are plenty of young guys who could come in and get
their opportunity. I got my chance, and then I got it again. I'm
not going to ask for anything. I'm grateful for it, but I will not
hang around for one day to blend in. It's either to be the world
champ or I'll move on and do something else.”