Anderson Silva is arguably the best fighter in the world, and he has attained such a prestigious title from the countless memorable moments throughout his career. His striking is unorthodox, his demeanor is friendly, and his statistics are staggering. He is a complete fighter, but one who has been something of a mystery in many ways.
When a fighter steps into the Octagon with “The Spider," there has been a history of “medusa” moments, where fighters who are normally very challenging opponents end up freezing up and being made to look worse than they actually are. What mentally happens when the cage door shuts in his opponents continues to elude us, but sometimes the ambiguity comes from both corners.
Silva has proven he has skills and abilities that have made him successful, but he is not very outspoken when it comes to fight promotions or speaking ill of his opponents. He usually makes a few comments, including maybe a small jab at his opponent, but trash talking is not his style. His opponent at UFC 148, however, is the undisputed pound-for-pound king of trash talk.
Chael Sonnen proves his gift of gab, clever phrasing of jokes and overall absurdity is beyond measure, and just how much he is getting into Silva’s head is yet to be seen. In the first meeting, there was plenty of verbal attack aimed at Silva leading up to the fight. And the things Sonnen had promised were mostly delivered. Now we are on to Round 2, and this time the champ has shown to be a little unnerved by the whole situation.
After a media conference call, Silva made it very clear that he was going to issue Sonnen the beating of his life, one like he had never experienced before. Those are strong sentiments from a guy who is one of the friendliest personalities in MMA. Silva may have some tricks up his sleeve or may be quite confident in his takedown defense, but there is also the risk of Silva trying to clown Sonnen to try to embarrass him.
After the Demian Maia fight, Silva was scrutinized for his antics in the cage and for running around. While the reason for his behavior in that fight is still a mystery, we do know that the Maia fight was a unique case of Silva being angry with his opponent. After some pre-fight comments by Maia, Silva was eager to punish and embarrass the fellow Brazilian in the cage. He succeeded in his mission but also had to recoil some of it and ended up sharing in the embarrassment.
Now, with him facing Sonnen and expressing an aggressive tone unheard of from the champ before, we can only speculate how this will change Silva’s fighting style. Typically, he waits and analyzes his opponents, but Sonnen is the one man who hasn’t waited around for the results of a computer test. He charged at Silva and took the fight to him and was able to control and dominate the fight.
While Silva seemed rather complacent when on his back in the last fight, we may see a Silva who pushes his pace and works to keep things moving in his favor.
Silva, when focused and on his game, has shown no signs of stopping. Only in times of emotional challenge has he had subpar performances, and we can only wait to see how this rematch will be different. Many think it will go the same as before, and some think that it will be a COMPLETELY different fight. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, but from the words expressed by both fighters, it will be a fight to remember.
If Silva comes out and is the fighter that got him to where he is today, Sonnen is in for a tough night. Sonnen’s mental edge, along with his wrestling, always stands a chance; however, we may end up seeing a motivated Anderson Silva that we have never seen before, ignited by the spark of Sonnen’s disrespectful words.
While a Maia repeat is far from likely, especially since Sonnen will engage the champ, we won’t know how aggressive Silva will come out. We have seen many times where emotions running high create a negative situation for a fighter, and Silva has never been put in more of an emotional spot than with Sonnen.
The only other variables to consider are the previous injury and the TRT. Everyone reading this will have a different opinion on what were the “facts," but we can only take it for what the fighters tell us and choose whether to trust them or not. Maybe Silva did have a fractured rib, maybe he didn’t. Maybe Sonnen was only a little over the TRT limit, or maybe he was way over.
As long as Sonnen comes out clean and Silva goes in uninjured, there will be some sort of closure after the rematch.
Anderson Silva will have three different personas he can come out with in this fight. First, a cautious fighter or one who lets his emotions get the better of him. The second, the same old Silva who capitalizes on your mistakes but destroys you in a calm and collected manner. Or third, a brand new Silva who has rekindled the fire in him that is reminiscent of his rise to the top, or even greater.
Regardless which one we get, the fight will not be boring in the least. If both men keep to their words, this may be one of the greatest fights of all time.