The biggest UFC fight of 2012 is just three and a half weeks away. It takes place July 7, when Anderson Silva defends his UFC middleweight title against nemesis Chael Sonnen.
Sonnen is the biggest and most unabashed trash-talker in the UFC (or any sport, for that matter), and he's beginning to ratchet up his verbal assault on Silva as the fight draws closer. In a two-minute preview video released by the UFC, Sonnen says he'll beat Silva no matter where the fight goes:
Make it a boxing match. I'll find a way to win. Make it a kickboxing match. I'll find a way to win. I'm not gonna play a dance-off with him. But if he wants to make it a combative mansport, I'll do it. Make it a jiu-jitsu match, make it a wrestling match, make it an MMA fight. It doesn't matter. He doesn't have anything that I, as an athlete, won't conquer. I'm a competitor. I will find a way to win, like I always do.
First of all, I'd like to congratulate Sonnen for creating the new word "mansport." I'll be using that one in plenty of stories I write in the future, so I offer a hearty thanks to West Linn's best for giving me new material.
As for the rest of the quote? I have no doubt that if Sonnen would do very well in a grappling match with Silva. He's one of the best wrestlers in mixed martial arts, after all, and we all saw what Sonnen was capable of during the first fight with Silva. Sonnen is a destructive, grinding force when he puts your back against the ground.
But we also saw one of Sonnen's biggest weaknesses during the first Silva bout: His sketchy submission defense. And it wasn't just the Silva bout that exposed that weak point. Of Sonnen's 11 career losses, 8 have come by submission. Defending submissions has never been his strong suit.
Sonnen, of course, has been known to say outlandish things in the interest of hyping a fight, and this is likely more of the same. But the idea of Silva vs. Sonnen in a grappling/jiu-jitsu match is certainly an intriguing one, isn't it?