Having posted three consecutive lackluster middleweight title defenses, top contender Chael Sonnen believes Anderson Silva’s reign atop the UFC’s 185-pound division is over.
After Silva made a mockery out of the UFC’s debut in Abu Dhabi – home of their new partners, Flash Entertainment – nobody was clowning the champ more than Sonnen. What really eats away at the Team Quest trained fighter is that he should have been standing opposite Silva that night, not Demian Maia.
Fortunately, Sonnen’s UFC 109 laceration has since healed and he immediately put pen to paper when Octagon brass presented him with the contract to fight MMA’s most efficient striker.
“That is true on one condition: if diplomacy fails,” Sonnen said at a recent UFC Q&A. “I am giving Anderson Silva the fair chance to back out. But as sure as night follows day, if he does not heed my warning, I will declare war, and on August 7 at 7 PM his 15 minutes of fame will come to an abrupt halt.”
The rivals will settle their differences at UFC 117 inside the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Although Sonnen knows he’ll be a heavy underdog when he finally gets his mitts on “The Spider,” the wrestler believes his unmatched heart will prove to be the difference.
“He is a fantastic fighter,” Sonnen reluctantly admitted. “I am not delusional to his skill set … I don’t care if he is better. He is better, but I’m tougher.”
Sonnen has stated many times that if Silva dared to show up with anything less than his A-game in OakTown, he wouldn’t be taking the belt back to Brazil with him. At the same time, Silva has showcased on numerous occasions that, when challenged, he can be the deadliest mixed martial artist anyone has ever laid eyes on.
“For 25 minutes, we’re going to find out who’s tougher,” said Sonnen. “Seven minutes in, we’re both going to be tired. Ten minutes in, we’re both going to be hurting. Fifteen minutes in, we’re both going to want to be out of there, but one of us is going to stick around and grind it our for 25 minutes, and I propose it’s me.”