5 Reasons Silva-Sonnen Is a Bigger Grudge Match Than Jones-Evans
Anderson Silva versus Chael Sonnen or Jon Jones versus Rashad Evans?
If forced to pick only one, it would be tough to choose between these two phenomenal grudge matches.
Both bouts have everything a great MMA grudge match could ever ask for––bitter rivals, drama and great stylistic match-ups.
Would people prefer to see the fight between former teammates?
The Jones and Evans story is known all too well. Evans, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, was forced out of his scheduled UFC 128 bout with UFC champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua due to a knee injury sustained during training.
Along with Evans, there was another emerging star training with MMA trainer Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Jackson's MMA.
Jon "Bones" Jones had a championship aura about him since day one, and Evans could see it. He was surprised when Jackson allowed Jones to train at the gym. If this surprised Evans, he had to be shocked when UFC President Dana White offered Jones the title shot in his place against Rua.
At UFC 128, Jones made Rua, an all-time great, look like child's play.
Since Jones claimed the world title, the trash talk between him and Evans has become somewhat of a daily ritual.
What about a fight between mortal enemies?
While Jones and Evans simply don't like each other, it runs a little deeper than that for Silva and Sonnen.
The two first met in August 2010 at UFC 117. There was a plethora of trash talk coming out of nowhere from Sonnen, who many believed to be an incredibly easy fight for Silva.
Most people, including Silva, just saw Sonnen as a big mouth B-level fighter without a snowball's chance in hell of winning. On fight night, the arena cleaning crew could've been forced to work overtime to clean up all of the dropped jaws off the floor, as Sonnen dominated the proposed pound-for-pound king for four and half rounds.
Towards the end of the fifth round, Silva was able to catch Sonnen in a triangle choke and escape with the middleweight title.
Since the fight, the trash talk has been incredibly one-sided, with Sonnen bashing Silva, his family and even the entire country of Brazil.
Jones versus Evans definitely deserves to be in the dream grudge match category, but Silva versus Sonnen has taken on a life of its own. Right now, there is no bigger fight for the UFC to make.
Here are five reasons Silva versus Sonnen is a bigger grudge match than Jones versus Evans.
"You tell Anderson Silva I'm coming over and I'm kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the ass and I'm telling her to make me a steak, medium rare, just how I like it," Sonnen said in an appearance on "The MMA Show" with Mauro Ranallo.
It doesn't get more personal than that.
In even the biggest rivalries, there is always that invisible line that you never cross, but that line doesn't seem to exist for Sonnen. Verbally, he has trashed Silva in virtually every way possible.
If you think Jones and Evans are upset at one another, imagine what Silva feels towards Sonnen, a man that has questioned his manhood, made inappropriate comments about his wife and belittled his home country.
On the other hand, this is personal for Sonnen as well.
He came closer than any fighter in the UFC to defeat Silva. Fighters dedicate their lives to being a world champion and defeating the best. If he held on for a couple of more minutes, Sonnen would've had it all––the UFC middleweight title and a win over the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The bout is so personal that Sonnen has even resorted to WWE-like antics.
"Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck," taunted Sonnen. "Super Bowl weekend...the biggest rematch in the history of the sport. I'm calling you out, Silva. It's time to up the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. I lose, I will leave the UFC forever."
When Silva-Sonnen II goes down, Silva won't only be fighting for himself.
He'll be fighting for the entire country of Brazil. Sonnen's Twitter has grown into a guidebook for how to upset an entire nation of people.
When you really think about it, it's kind of amazing how the words of one individual can have such a major impact on so many people.
Yushin Okami, Sonnen's training partner, fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Needless to say, Sonnen wasn't able to make the trip.
Outside of a plethora of death threats, he claimed his reasons for not going was to keep from being a distraction to Okami.
There was talk of Sonnen being arrested by the police once his plane landed and a "lynch Chael Sonnen" Facebook page had appeared.
Regardless of nationality, there are a lot of people invested in this fight.
With the massive animosity and great storyline, fans are guaranteed an entertaining main event filled with drama.
What happens if Sonnen loses again?
Would he really leave the UFC? What would his post-fight interview sound like? What does a humbled and beaten Chael Sonnen even sound like?
What if the fight goes exactly like the first, minus the last minute triangle choke?
How would Brazilians react? What would Silva's immediate response be?
The questions can go on for days, but there is generally a lot to be excited about when considering this bout.
A True Threat to Anderson Silva’s Legacy
At 185-pounds, there is no greater threat to Silva's record UFC title reign than Chael Sonnen.
Stylistically, it doesn't get any tougher for Silva. Sonnen is a world class wrestler with a persistent mentality. He will continue to press for takedowns until he drags the fight to the ground.
Unlike Dan Henderson and Yushin Okami, Sonnen isn't the type of fighter to abandon his base and test striking against the greatest standup artist in the history of the sport. He's going to get after Silva immediately and pressure him with takedowns.
Silva likes to have a few minutes in the beginning of a bout to feel out his opponents, but he was never able to get space or time against Sonnen, who was in his face from start to finish in the first bout.
Sure, there will be plenty of trash talk leading up to this bout, but Sonnen is more than capable of backing up everything he says.
In such a dominated division, it's rare we see true challenges emerge for a fighter at Silva's level. The UFC needs to seize this opportunity.
Dana White’s Approval
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Before UFC 136, UFC President Dana White was leaning towards Dan Henderson, if he gets past Shogun Rua, as the next contender for the middleweight title.
Sonnen's performance and post-fight antics seemingly caught White's attention.
"Those guys don't like each other. I don't know if Chael really hates Anderson as bad, but Anderson, I don't know if any of you saw his face when [Chael won]. He wasn't doing the whole joking around thing. He was pissed," UFC President Dana White told MMA Weekly.
"He's really upset about the smacking his wife on the butt thing. He's really pissed about it."
"Probably, yeah," White responded, when asked if he was making the Silva versus Sonnen rematch. "More than likely, yes I'm doing it. I don't like to commit to anything the night of the fights, but yeah, I think it would be pretty (expletive) stupid if I don't make that fight."
For awhile, White has talked about the UFC holding an event at Cowboy stadium, but he would need a mind-blowing main event big enough to anchor such an extravagant fight card.
The general belief was that the UFC would wait around for a superfight between Silva and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, but White believes a pairing of Silva and Sonnen could be a viable headliner for such a monumental venue.
"I think it could," said White, when asked about the middleweight title bout headlining at Cowboy Stadium. "I think we could do a big, big venue for that one."