You may not like his brazen talk and cocky attitude, but for just over 22 minutes at UFC 117, Chael Sonnen was the best fighter in the world.
Sonnen is known for talking his way into big fights and never coming out on top, and everyone thought he had bit off more than he could chew when he got his shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva in 2010.
At 25-10 Sonnen had proved to be an adequate fighter to that point, but every one of his losses being finishes also showed he knew how to choke in big moments. Silva however, well, everyone knows what he was bringing.
Sonnen got out of the gates early on in the bout, relentlessly pressuring Silva before taking him down at will. For four rounds Sonnen controlled Silva on the ground, delivered big shots and appeared poised to take Silva’s crown, one that he’d defended six times before.
But just when the end looked near, Silva did what he usually does and found an opening to attack.
The Spider locked in a triangle armbar, forcing Sonnen to tap for the eighth time in his career at the 3:10 mark of the fifth round. While this was another representation of Silva’s greatness, it will likely be the defining match in the career of Sonnen, who has always come close to no avail.
In what was one of the greatest, if not the greatest comebacks in UFC history, Anderson Silva qualified his label as the greatest of all time.