Courtesy of CageToday.com
There are a lot of questions that circle this fight, however one question isn't being asked enough: What does Anderson Silva have to gain by winning this fight?
Obviously, Silva can add to his already unrivaled 14-fight winning streak inside the confines of a UFC cage, but adding a win over someone you've already beaten doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.
The less obvious answer is pride. Silva has been insulted both personally and professionally by the things that Sonnen has said about him, his team, his wife and his homeland. When the champ previously had the opportunity to pound the challenger's mouth, he barely escaped with his belt. This time around, he needs to show the world that his late submission was anything but a fluke.
So why is this the most important fight of Silva's career?
Because this is the first time in his UFC career that he simply can't afford to lose. If the man who pummeled him once before can do it again, Silva stops being the top middleweight in the world. Questions will arise regarding his inability to beat a strong wrestler who wants to keep him on his back.
I'm not trying to offend any of our readers, but MMA fans are fickle. You are only as good as your last fight, and a loss will go a long way towards many of you hopping off of the bandwagon as if it were on fire.
Don't forget how quickly fans turned on Fedor after his first loss. And if you think fans were cruel to Fedor after beating "washed-up" fighters like former champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia, how do you think they'll treat Silva for beating the likes of "unworthy challengers" Thales Leites, Demian Maia and Patrick Cote.
For the first time, Silva is fighting a man who has the ability to treat his legacy like a urinal. Sonnen wants to make The Spider look like a joke, and unfortunately, he has the tools to do it.
Over the course of the last five years, Anderson has been able to float through top competition in a somewhat effortless fashion. Tomorrow night, Silva has to bring his absolute best to the cage if he hopes to guarantee his continued status as the greatest fighter who ever lived.