Most UFC press conferences are made up of the same scenario. We in the media ask questions, the fans ask questions, and then the fighters involved do a contrived faceoff for the media.
Today's July 3 Silva/Sonnen press conference? It was entirely different.
For starters, there was the location. These things are usually held at the venue of the event. But this fight week—dubbed "International Fight Week 2012"—is different. It's the UFC's new version of WWE's WrestleMania, the biggest fight week of the year.
And this year's version is built around the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in what will likely be the UFC's biggest pay-per-view event of the entire year.
The very reason for all of that hype was on full display at today's press conference. In spades. Sonnen continued his verbal assaults of the past two years, but Silva—reminiscent of last week's media conference call—didn't hold anything back either.
It was a different Silva than most are used to seeing at these things.
Sure, there was a smile every once in awhile, but for the most part, Silva's face was a reflection of the anger he's finally allowing to bubble to the surface. He again accused Sonnen of being a cheater and a criminal, and when asked for a prediction on the fight by a fan in the crowd, he said that he would finish Sonnen in the first round.
And then came the faceoff. (Video here from the good folks at MMAFighting, via Bloody Elbow.)
Sonnen assumed his normal fighting pose, but Silva walked purposefully, directly into his chest. His continually flexed hands and feet suggested the Spider was incredibly close to attacking his nemesis right there on stage, but Dana White and his bodyguard stepped in.
Silva planted a kiss on Sonnen's cheek and whispered something in his ear. Brazilian reporters said that Silva told Sonnen, "You're gonna die," and watching the events unfold on stage, I couldn't help but believe that he's speaking the truth.
Or, at least, what he thinks is the truth.
Sonnen was escorted from the stage by security, but Silva never took his eyes off his American challenger. As Sonnen left the room, Silva stood on the edge of the stairs—his eyes focused on his foe, his hands flexing and his body language clearly suggesting that he's ready to deliver a punishment the likes of which we've never seen.
That's a scary thing. We may not know how Saturday's fight will ultimately play out, but we do know one thing: Anderson Silva is out for blood, and he's out for revenge.
UFC 148, this is one you don't want to miss.
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