The amount of excitement surrounding UFC 148 was amazing. Truly.
So then, why not do it again?
This idea is unrealistic, for sure. However, this wavelength has been catching on with a lot of people, and has fans abuzz with the idea of a Silva vs. Sonnen III, even though their second bout ended less than 12 hours ago.
Crazy as it is, there are a few strong arguments that can be made for the UFC trying to make this threematch happen sooner than later. In the MMA world anything is possible, and because of that, this is a subject worth talking about.
While Sonnen was beaten thoroughly by Silva, he is certainly still the second-best fighter in the division.
One of the crazy things about rankings is that, often, when a fighter loses, regardless of the hows, whys, or whens, they plummet in the rankings. It has happened over and over again, and is likely going to happen with Chael Sonnen after this loss to Anderson Silva.
But regardless, Chael Sonnen is still the clear-cut No. 2 middleweight in the world. There should be absolutely no debate about that.
Sonnen is still the best wrestler in the division and has gotten better since UFC 117, when he first fought Silva. He still has all the tools and all the smarts that made him the unanimous No. 2 middleweight at this time yesterday.
He would still be the favorite in a bout against Vitor Belfort or Mark Munoz, the consensus No. 3 and No. 4 picks, respectively, who may end up climbing over Sonnen in the coming weeks. This fact alone makes a case for Sonnen vs. Silva III.
First, make no mistake. Chael Sonnen would still have a good shot against Anderson Silva if the two fought again.
Sure, a second round TKO is a far more convincing way to lose than a desperation submission attempt in the fifth. That said, the first round was a clear-cut rehash of their first fight. Sonnen can still take Silva to the ground with ease and hold him there for an entire round.
That said, saying “Sonnen is the Only Threat to Silva” is a group effort. Take a look at the B/R middleweight top 10.
From Brian Stann to Vitor Belfort to Michael Bisping to Hector Lombard, “The Spider” would be able easily dispatch any striker on that list.
Alan Belcher simply does not have the resume to fight Silva, and his injury history (he fought just once in both 2010 and 2011) makes his availability too uncertain to book for such a high-profile card.
Two of the other strong wrestlers on the list, Tim Boetsch and Chris Weidman, lack the athleticism and cardio to compete with Silva over five rounds and do not have the hands to keep Silva from picking them apart.
That just leaves Mark Munoz, and though Munoz is good, his chances of success are entirely rooted in his ability to imitate Sonnen. With that in mind, why not just let the original have another chance?
Vitor Belfort is commonly considered the #3 middleweight behind Sonnen and Silva, but was quickly KO'd Silva.
Continuing from the last slide, think about the marketing and matchmaking angle for any given potential next opponent for Silva.
Vitor Belfort is going to be quite difficult to pitch to fans, given how spectacularly Belfort lost his last fight against Silva. Brian Stann and Michael Bisping both lost to Chael Sonnen, and need a bit more time for fans to forget that.
Tim Boetsch, Chris Weidman and Hector Lombard all lack any sort of name recognition for casual fans. That, once again, leaves Mark Munoz.
While Munoz has been around for a while now, pulling out of what was supposed to be a fight with Sonnen on UFC on Fox 2 ended up being a huge missed opportunity for the UFC. Munoz is currently set to fight Chris Weidman in just a couple of days on Fuel TV. This, obviously, gives him far less exposure than he would have had otherwise.
Munoz is likely to have 300,000 viewers see him face Weidman and that simply is not enough to make a Silva vs. Munoz headline especially strong. Or, at the very least, not nearly as strong as Silva vs. Sonnen III.
The UFC needs big headlines and even now, few would be bigger than Silva vs. Sonnen III.
Last but not least, Silva vs. Sonnen III remains a very easy fight for fans to get excited about.
Dana White said at the press conference after UFC 148 that all signs were indicating that the event could be the highest-selling pay-per-view for the promotion ever.
Would Silva vs. Sonnen III be able to do this? No. Definitely not. Could it still tally 400,000 buys? Definitely.
The UFC is going to be hurting for big headlines for the next year as they still struggle to pull together events for Fox, Fuel TV, FX and PPV. Silva vs. Sonnen III is a guaranteed high-selling card and there are very few of those to go around.
An instant rematch is out of the question.
This is an unfortunate fact. That said, if Sonnen gets a couple of big wins under his belt, fans could be seeing another bout between these two in a year or so.