Sonnen win over Bisping gets him middleweight title rematch
CHICAGO – Dana White has maintained for the last two months that a Chael Sonnen rematch with Anderson Silva was all but signed, sealed and delivered as long as Sonnen won his next fight. On Saturday, he did just that – and still doesn’t believe the highly anticipated fight will happen.
Sonnen got past Michael Bisping in the co-main event of UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis at the United Center in Chicago in a fight that wasn’t without at least some mild controversy afterward. Sonnen won by unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 – leaving plenty of fans on the Internet wondering why Bisping didn’t get more love from the judges, Bisping himself wondering why he didn’t win the fight, and even Sonnen unsure of how the first two rounds were going to be scored.
But regardless, he got the win, and that win gets him Silva, White said – and probably in a soccer stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Silva’s home country, for what could wind up being the biggest mixed martial arts fight in history. But hold your horses, Sonnen said – don’t get your hopes up.
“I know I’ll do my part. Do I think he’ll sign to fight? No, I don’t. We’ll see. I’ve been wrong before,” Sonnen said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “They’ve offered him the fight four times, and he’s said no four times. Mysteriously, he’s supposed to accept on the fifth? I’ve heard of ‘Third time’s the charm’ – I’ve never heard of ‘Fifth time’s the charm.’ I have never backed down, and I never will.
“If he wants to fight or is willing to, I’ll do my part. I talk like this to get off the topic of Anderson and talk about real men like Michael Bisping and not some guy who’s hiding in Brazil.”
Those “real men” like Bisping on Saturday had Sonnen paying plenty of respect after the fight. And in fact, in the build-up to the fight – which was made just 10 days out thanks to an injury to Sonnen’s original opponent, Mark Munoz – Sonnen was highly complimentary of Bisping, just as he was after the win.
“I was surprised about everything (Bisping did),” Sonnen said. “Michael Bisping hit me so hard in the first, I didn’t know what day it was. I remember thinking, ‘You have no idea how bad you hurt me, or you’d do something about it.’ I was never in a position I was comfortable in — not one.”
But despite Sonnen’s claims that Silva has been offered a rematch with him four times and has turned it down four times, including, Sonnen said last week, to UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta’s face, White believes the show will go on. Despite Sonnen’s claims that Silva is planning to retire and never fight again, least of all against the man who has come closest to beating him in his perfect UFC run, White believes he’ll put together the mega-fight.
“Chael is nuts. He says all kinds of crazy things (like) he’s the champion,” White said at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. “Listen to me, OK? Listen to me. He will fight Anderson Silva if he wins. He will not fight for the heavyweight championship or Jon Jones (for the light heavyweight title). I have to have a separate press conference to stop all the stuff Chael Sonnen says.”
Sonnen took Silva into the fifth round at UFC 117 in August 2010 and dominated the champ for four rounds before finally tapping to an armbar-triangle choke midway through the fifth. After the fight, he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission. Still, throughout Silva’s record-setting middleweight run in the UFC, he has been closest to beating him – and wins over Brian Stann and Bisping have put him in position to be next when Silva has recovered from a shoulder injury.
White says so, anyway, even if Sonnen will believe it when he sees it.