Silva vs. Sonnen 2: What the Fight Means to Each Man's Legacy

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IIJuly 6, 2012

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

What is ultimately on the line tomorrow night at UFC 148? Why is winning a title so important? Because when all is said and done, having a championship reign to your credit marks your place as one of the greatest fighters that the sport has ever seen.

Anderson Silva has carved out his place in the history books. Currently, the champ holds records in four major categories: longest title reign, most title defenses, most consecutive title defenses and most consecutive wins. His place atop the pound-for-pound rankings has been secure for years, and with the demise of Fedor Emelianenko, Silva is widely considered to be unrivaled when discussing the greatest fighter in history.

So what can this fight do for his legacy? Demolish it.

Silva’s reign is mostly impressive because he has appeared invulnerable throughout his tenure in the UFC. Until the original battle with Mr. Sonnen, no one has made Silva look weak. Thankfully, The Spider was able to salvage his legacy by pulling out a come-from-behind victory.

The champion is clearly unstable, as evidenced by his cheap shot that he took on Sonnen at the weigh-in this evening. Is it possible that he realizes how much is on the line, and it’s starting to make him crack?

On the other hand, Chael Sonnen sits on the line between greatness and footnote. A win allows him to join an elite group of five who have been fortunate enough to win the UFC middleweight championship. Additionally, he will go down in history as the man who ended the seemingly endless winning streak of the greatest fighter in history.

Contrarily, a loss sends the American Gangsta into a club that he doesn’t want to be a part of.

What do Pedro Rizzo, Frank Trigg and Kenny Florian have in common? They are all fighters who were top contenders in their divisions, had multiple chances to win UFC gold and failed in each attempt.  It is unlikely that history will be kind to them and less likely that any of them will ever reach the UFC Hall of Fame.

To say that tomorrow is important to both men’s careers is an understatement. Tomorrow night, we will see how the cards fall. Can Sonnen guarantee his place in the history while causing others to doubt Silva’s? Will The Spider live up to his promise to break the bones of his challenger? Find out tomorrow on PPV.