But it feels like ages ago, doesn't it? Most of that is due to Sonnen's contrite nature after the loss. He was conciliatory after the fight, both in the cage and at the post-fight press conference, and he's continued that humble streak during multiple appearances on UFC Tonight and during the UFC's pre- and post-fight shows on Fuel TV.
I know it'll be tough for me to convince you with the words I'm about to say, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway: That humble character, in a nutshell, is the real Chael Sonnen.
Most of you are aware that Sonnen puts on his pro-wrestling suit when it comes time to promote a fight. Sure, he probably takes it a few steps too far, like all of the times when he talks about getting Silva's wife to make him a steak. And, the nationalistic insults against Brazil were tasteless, to be sure.
But at the same time, I get where Sonnen was coming from. When he first started insulting the people of Brazil, he was scheduled for a bout where he would challenge one of the biggest sporting stars in Brazil in his home country. He wanted to rile up an entire nation of people so greatly that they'd gladly pay $100 to fill a soccer stadium just to see him get beaten up.
As you know, things didn't go as planned. The fight didn't take place in Brazil, and Sonnen didn't walk away with the championship belt. But his actions after the fight—refusing to question the Silva knee and casually dismissing greasing allegations against Silva—have proven that Sonnen is a class act.
According to Justin Faux of MMASucka, Mike Dolce, Sonnen's nutritionist, agrees.
Chael is an amazing guy, an amazing athlete, a class act – I think every fighter on the planet could learn from Chael Sonnen, he built the fight and he chose the fight against the baddest man on the planet, we all know that you don’t pick a fight with Anderson Silva unless you’re crazy or really talented and Chael is really talented.
He went out there, he had prepared like a champion, he fought like a champion, he fought with pure heart and he lost to the better man in the cage on that night and afterwards the class he showed respecting Anderson and the Brazilians, it was really great to be a part of that and witness Chael doing that.
I doubt we've seen the last of the bombastic version of Sonnen. If he moves up to light heavyweight and continues fighting, he'll no doubt dial up the promotional dial a few more times. It's what pays the bills, after all.
But it's important to remember that, no matter what kind of crazy things Sonnen says or does in the future, he's a respectful guy at heart.