Chael Sonnen came damn close to being the UFC middleweight champion

How much respect did Chael Sonnen earn Saturday night at UFC 117 in Oakland, Calif.? Going into the fifth round, it looked like Sonnen was going to do the same thing he had done the four previous rounds, put middleweight champion Anderson Silva on his back and beat him up.

And he did that for most of the final round. Much like Fedor Emelianenko who did it early in round one against Fabricio Werdum a few weeks ago, Sonnen got a bit lax in Silva’s guard and found himself on the wrong end of a triangle choke.

We have never seen anyone beat up Anderson Silva round after round like that. Sonnen beat him up on the feet and beat him up on the ground. At one point, as Silva stood with his hands down at his sides, Sonnen hit him with four or five big punches and it looked as if Silva was going to get knocked out… but he didn’t.

Following the fight Silva said he suffered a rib injury a few weeks ago and the doctor had advised him not to fight, but Silva said, “The show must go on.”

Sonnen said at the post fight press conference he believes Silva when he says something was wrong with him because he was expecting more resistance from him. To put it another way, what he means is the fight was easier than expected. And for nearly five full rounds Sonnen did make it look rather easy.

Sonnen said he would fight Silva again right now if “the commission would sanction it and Dana White would move out of the way.”

He also said, “Fighting Anderson Silva is a lot like eating Chinese food, 20 minutes after I do it, I’m going to want to do it again.”

Sonnen knows how close he was to winning the highest level of achievement this sport has to offer. He was exactly one minute and fifty-seconds away from becoming the best middleweight in the world. Sonnen said it’s one of those moments that is going to stay with him and replay in his mind the rest of his life.

“There’s no way to sugar coat it, my heart’s broken,” Sonnen said. “I’m devastated. At the end of the day you either get your hand raised or you don’t, and I didn’t. I’m devastated.”

Despite the loss, Sonnen said his goal to be champion has not changed. Although media members questioned UFC President Dana White about putting together an immediate rematch between Sonnen and Silva, he was non committal and said they both need time to rest and heal.

Silva was also questioned if he was interested in giving Sonnen an immediate rematch. The champion said he was looking forward to going back to Brazil to be with his family and would do whatever the UFC wanted. Understandably, it’s doubtful anyone would say they were eager to jump right back into a fight like the one “The Spider” was in Saturday night.

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