Chael Sonnen is easily UFC’s most ridiculous, yet accurate trash talker. I know this sounds crazy, but follow me on this one. At a live UFC video chat held in April 2010, the number one contender for the Middleweight championship, who moonlight as a real estate agent and politician, wore his political hat and slung mud at current champion Anderson Silva as if election day was only a few hours away. Of course trash talk is part of the package and you want to give people a reason to tune in, but seriously, who cares about the colors of Silva’s shirts, his backwards hats and jewelry? Please spare us the amateur comedy hour! Eventually, he got into what fight fans cared most about, the fight. First, he clowned Silva’s performance in his last fight at UFC 112, and rightfully so. Anytime UFC President Dana White vowed to terminate Silva if he ever made a mockery of the sport again with excessive showboating, criticism will follow. Next, he got into why he will knock Silva from his perch. In describing the outcome of the fight, Sonnen declared the following:
1. “I’m gonna throw him on his back and beat a hole in his face.”
2. “This is going to be a one-sided pounding and I’m swinging the hammer.”
Fast forward to UFC 117! Going into this fight, I figured White’s promise and Sonnen’s lack of regard would motivate the champion to perform at a level never before seen. Anyone that knows Silva is aware of his inability to defend the takedown/wrestling/ground game. Still, I knew Silva would give everyone a reminder of why he is one of the pound-for-pound, best fighters in Mixed Martial Arts. Well, not everything goes as expected! Make no mistake about it, I am a Silva fan. I’m also a realist! I have never seen Silva look more inferior to an opponent than I did on August 7th. From the opening bell, Sonnen imposed his will on the division king. Even when Silva showed glimpses of hope, Sonnen effortlessly turned the tide back in his favor. Sonnen repeatedly threw Silva on his back and genuinely tried to be a hole in his face. This fight was a one-sided pounding and Sonnen swung the hammer at will. And then the fight reached the last two minutes of the final round. With Sonnen continuing his ground and pound, Silva pulled a triangle choke hold out of his rear and with 1:50 left in the bout, Sonnen reluctantly tapped out. The Spider retained his Middleweight strap. While I am glad that Silva held on to his title, this is not a win to throw a parade over. Sonnen was a little under two minutes away from completely fulfilling his goal. They have to do it again and when that time comes, Silva will lose his coveted belt if he does not work on his takedown defense. Chael Sonnen, in a loss, has garnered major respect in UFC Nation. Maybe he was too silly with the shots at Anderson’s attire, but whenever he gets into what he’s going to do in a fight, you may consider taking him seriously. I know I will! While nothing has been finalized on a date and location for Silva/Sonnen 2, the rematch is eventual. Hats off to Sonnen for being the one politician that came closest to following through on his word.
By Antoine Hoffman