Although Silva may not admit this easily, Chael Sonnen was definitely a blessing in the champion’s life; he was able to ignite a spark in the Brazilian MW which many think was very beneficial for his UFC career both for publicity and performance. Two years of controversy, trash talk and animosity fuelled up what was by far the most anticipated bout of UFC history.
Now it’s all over though! What happens now? Although as he mentioned during the UFC 148 post-fight press conference, Sonnen does not want to just blend in and wants to always aim at being champion, for a while at least he will have to blend in and start his journey back to title contention territory. But what happens to Anderson? He just killed that flame that has been burning for 2 years. A flame which was lit after a long period of being looked at as the freakish unbeatable athlete who would walk over whoever put in front of him.
Then there came Chael P Sonnen and everything changed. First, Chael started questioning the legitimacy of the champion and managed to convince some fans that Anderson was not all that solid as a fighter. He went on about Silva’s questionable skills made look good only by his ability of ducking “serious” opponents; then he started on Silva’s co-nationals and escalated to more personal comments from there. Before they first fought at UFC 117, Sonnen was to most people just a crazy guy hyping up a fight. However, his convincing tones as well as repeated affirmations started to convince some fans.
When fight night came at UFC 117 and Chael manhandled Silva for more than 4 rounds, being defeated only by a last minute triangle which the champ pulled out of nowhere, Sonnen showed the world that he could definitely back up his talk and his credibility went on a whole new level. With that, Anderson’s invincible aura began to fade, slowly but surely people began to see Silva as more vulnerable than ever before. However, at UFC 148 where, apart from the first 5 minutes during which Sonnen laid on top of the champ not really able to inflict any damage, Silva beat Sonnen in dominating fashion with his hands down barely breaking a sweat. Now the rumours that the first time round Sonnen dominance was caused by the champ’s health not being 100% start to make more sense. The voices of those saying that Silva is still the freak unbeatable athlete that he was said to be “pre-Sonnen” started to become louder. In fact, if there was going to be a Silva vs Sonnen 3 tomorrow, many of the people who bet on Sionnen last week, would probably change their stake to a bigger one but change their bet to Silva to win.
So now everything is calm, the storm has passed and not only has Silva retained the title and the reputation of the p4p best fighter ever, but he also avenged his country by the verbal attacks of Sonnen; Silva is now more of a hero that he ever was. Thanks to his performance on the night, his classy word and actions after the fight but also thanks to Sonnen for providing the scenario for all of this to happen, Silva can now enjoy a renewed popularity.
The question now is, after this incredible rollercoaster of emotions, drama, words and hype, what can possibly go even close to matching what was the biggest MMA event in history for the champ? Can there be another athlete to challenge Anderson Silva like Chael Sonnen did? Who in the MW division can get a title shot and get the bookies offer odds similar to last week’s ones? IIs it true that Anderson Silva has nothing else to gain in the MD division but only a lot to lose now?