Chael Sonnen has twice faced UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, and twice he has fallen short.
Despite losing, fighting the man many already consider the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, twice, gives Sonnen a unique insight into what it will take to finally topple Silva.
He believes that Chris Weidman, whom Silva will face at UFC 162 on July 6, is the perfect storm of skills and mental makeup to challenge and possibly even dethrone Silva.
“You don’t have to look to far to realize Chris Weidman has the exact skill set to beat Anderson Silva,” Sonnen declared on Tuesday’s edition of UFC Tonight. “And he’s also got it upstairs. He’s been in tough matches.
“He has a better top game, at least submission-wise, than I do, and I was able to have some success for several minutes with Anderson from that position.”
The 29-year-old Weidman has yet to taste defeat in his nine professional bouts, and he has the brash confidence of youth on his side. There’s also a lot of weight to Silva’s 33-4 record, which dwarfs Weidman’s, and the 38 years of wisdom he has amassed.
Sonnen gives Weidman his due as the man that holds the potential to upset Silva, but doesn’t deny the champion’s greatness.
“Let’s also understand,” said Sonnen, “if Anderson Silva wins this fight, the debate ends. He is the best fighter of all time.”