UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen came just minutes away from capturing Anderson Silva’s middleweight title Saturday night at UFC 117 before succumbing to a hail-mary triangle choke from the champion. Sonnen led a well-documented smear campaign against Silva throughout the lead up to the fight but backed off from his trash talk post-fight and accepted defeat with grace and humility. Gareth A. Davies of The Telegram caught up with Sonnen at the UFC 117 post-fight presser and got his take on the fight and his loss.
Sonnen absolutely dominated Silva for four and a half rounds before submitting to the triangle choke and because of that many are calling for an immediate rematch between the two. Sonnen would not ask for a rematch although he did state that he was willing to fight Silva at the presser if the CSAC would sanction it and Dana White would move; Sonnen told Davies that his primary motivation is to capture the title no matter who is holding it.
“No, I just want to be champion,” Sonnen said when asked if he is looking for an immediate rematch. “I have no other goal. I’m not in this for the fame or the money, I’m in this for twelve pounds of gold. I will never back off that stance. The second that goal changes, I’ll leave. I’ll quit the sport and go on and everyone else should too. There’s a locker room full of cowards in this company and if they don’t want to walk in the ring with Anderson and they don’t want to walk in the ring with me, then they should quit and go do something else.”
Much talk surrounds the fact that Sonnen may have provided a blue print to defeating Silva but Sonnen doesn’t see it that way; the Oregonian doesn’t believe that his performance can be imitated by any man other than himself.
“You know, he’s a good fighter and he’s the champion,” Sonnen said. “I am the best fighter in this company excluding [Randy] Couture, Couture can beat me. Aside from that I’m the best fighter in the UFC. Win or lose tonight, win or lose other nights there is nobody in this business like me.”
After the fight but still in the cage, Silva put down his belt and bowed to Sonnen, embracing him afterward. Though both men will not likely be taking a vacation with one another anytime soon there was an obvious respect shared for each other after engaging in such a pitched battle. Davies asked Sonnen if he felt Silva should have displayed more humility post-fight and Sonnen responded that he felt Silva has every right to be proud of what he accomplished Saturday night.
“No, I thought that he did a good job and he should hold his head high,” said Sonnen. “He pulled it out at the end, that’s what champions do. I am envious that he did that. I would trade spots with him in a heartbeat. I would get beat up for four and a half rounds to get my hand raised at the end. He did all he needed to do.”