UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has been unrelentingly vocal in his disdain of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. At “UFC 109: Relentless” Sonnen battled Nate Marquardt for number one contender’s status and beat Marquardt in a grueling three round fight. The two fought to be next in line for Silva after he took on Vitor Belfort at “UFC 112: Invincible” in Abu Dhabi. When Belfort pulled out due to injury Sonnen was the next choice to fight Silva but was unable to do so due to a cut he sustained in the fight with Marquardt. So it was that Silva was pitted against the last man to beat Sonnen, Demian Maia. What ensued in that fight has been the cause of much controversy over the last week. Silva dominated Maia but outraged fans by mocking him and then disengaging from all offense later in the fight.
UFC president Dana White announced yesterday on ESPN’s “Jim Rome Is Burning” that Sonnen would be the next man to face Silva. Sonnen spoke with MMAJunkie.com about his thoughts on the matchup and on “The Spider'”s UFC 112 performance.
“He won’t even acknowledge the challenge,” said Sonnen. “He just overlooks it like it’s not happening. The first and only time he’s ever acknowledged the challenge is on Feb. 7, 12 hours after I became the number one contender, he put out a press release stating seven different reasons he didn’t think he should have to fight me.”
Whether or not Sonnen truly believes that Silva is ducking him is inconsequential. He has laid the groundwork for an interesting grudge match and that is likely why the UFC chose to match Silva against him next instead of in a super-fight in another weight class. That, or Dana White wants Silva to lose and thinks that Sonnen is the man with the tools to do so; Sonnen certainly thinks that he is.
“Nobody has challenged Anderson Silva,” said Sonnen. “Not one human being, not one interview. Go to what the kids call ‘Google,’ and prove me wrong. Show me one athlete in any weight class that’s challenged this guy except me.”
As far as Silva’s UFC 112 performance, Sonnen would welcome “The Spider'”s taunts and disrespect.
“If he does it to me, it’s going to work,” Sonnen said. “It’s going to make me angry, and I’m going to come after him. If he wants to throw those punches, by God throw them. But I’m going to walk straight through them.”
Silva and Sonnen are expected to face off this summer at UFC 117 although the exact date and time of the matchup have yet to be announced.