UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva came minutes away from losing his title Saturday night at UFC 117 to hard-nosed challenger Chael Sonnen. Silva was able to pull out a submission victory though as the clock was winding down on his tenure as champion. Many expected “The Spider” to be the one dishing out most of the punishment Saturday night and it was revealed in the post-fight press conference that his struggle could have been attributed in part to a rib injury that he sustained in training about two weeks out from the fight.
“This is not an excuse but about a week and a half ago I was training with [Satoshi] Ishii, he came to train with Lyoto [Machida], and I had a bad injury to my rib,” said Silva, who was in visible discomfort. “The doctor told me not to fight but I believe the show must go on. Once again, it’s not an excuse. I just wanted to come in here and put it all out on the line and that’s what I did.”
For his part, Chael Sonnen was a little surprised at Silva’s lack of offense as the Brazilian is most well known for dishing out punishment efficiently and often in his fights and doesn’t doubt the fact that Silva had a rib injury.
“I expected a little bit more resistance from Anderson,” Sonnen said. “He just said he wasn’t feeling well and I believe him. I expected more resistance, I expected it to be a little bit rougher going and I don’t mean that at all as a backhanded whatever towards Anderson I’m just trying to answer your question. It’s a tough fight, the better guy wins every time. He won tonight, he’s the better guy. That’s it.”
No word yet on who is next for Silva, if Sonnen will get an immediate rematch or if top contenders Vitor Belfort or Yushin Okami will be next for “The Spider.” There is also no word beyond speculation as to when the champ will be able and willing to step back into the cage.