If any luster was taken away from the rematch between Chael Sonnen (27-11-1) and UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva (31-4) when the fight was moved from Brazil to Las Vegas, the former title challenger isn't going to let that get in the way of continuing to build the hype surrounding the fight.
Scheduled for UFC 148, Silva vs. Sonnen 2 might just be the most anticipated rematch in the history of the sport. It seems as if every fight is "special" in one way or the other, but this one is special in more ways than one.
"I just consider that (Las Vegas) home for me," Sonnen said about the change of venue. He continued:
I'm from Oregon, but if I can fight in Las Vegas, that would be my ideal spot. At the same time, if we have a chance to set a record of 80,000 people, that would greatly feed my ego, and I would've liked to have been a part of that, but I'm happy to be in Vegas.
Silva, who has 14 consecutive wins and nine defenses of the title, could walk away from the sport any time now and do so as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter to ever step into the Octagon. He would also do so without a loss in the UFC.
His reign almost came to an end in 2010 when Sonnen dominated him for the better part of five rounds before being caught in a triangle choke and submitted. It was voted Fight of the Year by the World MMA Awards.
"Anderson Silva is Brazilian when it's convenient, and that's the truth," Sonnen continued. "He's got a two million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills. He goes and claims he is Brazilian when he wants to take a few of their dollars, and then he brings it back to America. I have a fan club in Brazil, he doesn't. He's a phony."
Since losing to Silva, Sonnen has gone on to defeat Brian Stann and Michael Bisping. Many thought his fight with Bisping could have gone either way, but he was awarded the judges' decision after three rounds.
Silva went on to defeat Yushin Okami and Vitor Belfort, both by knockout. Among his title defenses are victories against Dan Henderson, Demian Maia, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and Patrick Cote.
I'm not a promoter. Dana White has a license to promote. I don't have a license. I have a fighter's license. I show up with short pants and a mouthpiece, and when the referee says, "Are you ready," I say, "Yeah," because I am.
UFC 148 will take place on July 7 and feature the rematch along with an interim bantamweight championship bout with Urijah Faber. Also scheduled for the card are Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le.