For Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva will always be the one that got away.
At UFC 148, Silva proved the dramatic ending in the first fight wasn't a fluke, as he stopped Sonnen via strikes in the second round of their highly anticipated rematch.
After the fight, Sonnen sat quietly in the Octagon, staring off into space in complete disbelief. Silva is widely regarded as the greatest fighter in UFC history, but despite all the accolades and accomplishments, Sonnen truly believed he had the Brazilian's number.
He certainly wasn't far off in his belief.
In the first fight at UFC 117, Sonnen was winning handily until late in the fifth round, when Silva latched on a triangle choke and earned the submission victory.
The first round of the rematch was going in Sonnen's favor as well. He immediately secured a takedown, established top control and rained down a multitude of unanswered punches on the champ.
Unfortunately for Sonnen, Silva regained his composure in the second round and utilized his dynamic striking abilities to earn the TKO stoppage.
The rematch between Silva and Sonnen was arguably the biggest in UFC history. Sonnen brings out the best in Silva like no other fighter. Before their first bout, UFC President Dana White had threatened to fire Silva after a bizarre performance against Demian Maia.
In a way, Sonnen reinvigorated Silva's career. He also deepened "The Spider's" pockets with the trash talk and myriad hype surrounding UFC 148.
Should Silva offer Sonnen a third fight? Does Sonnen deserve another shot at his "White Whale?"
A champion's duty is to fight the best in the division. After two losses to Silva, Sonnen definitely plummets to the bottom of the heap, but it won't be forever.
If Sonnen manages to knock off a slew of middleweight contenders, there is certainly a possibility he climbs back into the title picture. The real question should be whether or not Silva will even be around long enough to see Sonnen for a third time.
At 37 years of age, Silva is likely in the final stretch of his illustrious career.
It isn't the way Sonnen wanted the story to end, but for now, he will always be remembered as the man who almost defeated Anderson Silva.