At UFC 117 Chael Sonnen nearly did the unthinkable when he exposed the one glaring weakness UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has.
Sonnen's aggressive, hard nosed style took Silva to the limit before Silva reached down deep and secured a triangle armbar late in the fifth round to retain his title.
While Sonnen is far from a perfect fighter he was able to frustrate and control Silva unlike any other fighter in the UFC to date and he can do it again if given the chance.
Sonnen is tough, hard working and very intelligent. These attributes help him to not only game plan well but execute that game plan when the pressure is on.
Sonnen nearly took the title from Silva at UFC 117 and that can be attributed to his ability to execute a flawless plan...until he got his own weakness exposed that is.
Sonnen is a beast, plain and simple.
He may not be the strongest fighter in the weight room but when it comes to functional strength and the ability to control an opponent's body there are few in MMA who can do what he does.
Given Silva's size and deceptive strength this is an extremely important component to being the one to hand him his first UFC loss.
If there were an MMA dictionary floating around out there next to the term "grinder" there would be a picture of Sonnen.
What Sonnen lacks in finishing ability, he makes up for with his ability to control and wear down his opponents.
He's not the Energizer Bunny type like Clay Guida but he has an incredible gas tank and he will press his opponents until he breaks their will.
On the surface the ability to trash talk may not seem important to the outcome of a fight but Sonnen has an uncanny ability to get inside of his opponent's head.
He just seems to know what buttons to push to get a rise out of people and like it or not he is an all-time great when it comes to getting under an opponent's skin.
Silva seems like a guy who is genuinely unaffected by trash talk but if anyone is going to goat the champion it will be Sonnen.
As far as I am concerned Silva is the greatest fighter MMA has yet to see but he is not perfect. The one chink in his armor is wrestling and that just so happens to be what Sonnen does best.
Sonnen is an Olympic caliber Greco-Roman stylist and because of this he has become one of the best functional wrestlers in MMA today.
Sonnen has already shown the world that he can manhandle Silva in the cage; now he just needs to show that he can finish the job.