LAS VEGAS -- Chael Sonnen got two bites at the UFC middleweight title, and each time he came up short. And at 35 years old, it's likely Sonnen might never get another 185-pound title shot, especially if Anderson Silva remains champion.
Sonnen tormented Silva for more than two years. He talked about Silva personally, his wife, his country (Brazil) and his training partners. Anyone or anything associated with Silva was fair game for Sonnen’s attacks.
Despite the insults, Silva found it in himself to attempt to bury the hatchet. He had kind words for Sonnen after defeating him by second-round TKO on Saturday night at UFC 148.
The idea of Silva agreeing to give Sonnen a third shot at his belt, however, is difficult to fathom.
But what separates Sonnen from most other fighters is that he isn’t beholden to the long odds. And the loss Saturday night did nothing to diminish his goal of one day becoming middleweight champion. Quitting isn’t in Sonnen’s DNA. He has no intention of relinquishing his title aspirations.
“You get knocked down sometimes in life and you have to put one foot in front of the other,” Sonnen said. “You’ve got to learn to shake things off and you have to keep your eye on the ball.
“You can’t get down. You can’t get depressed. Every single day you get up, you’ve got to make the most of it. I really believe that if you’re going to be in this company [UFC], and take up a spot, you’ve got to be chasing a championship.”
Sonnen will use the next few days to allow his wounds -- both emotional and physical -- to heal. He will then get back in the gym and begin working toward his goal of winning the title.
“I don’t need a vacation, definitely not,” Sonnen said. “I like work.
“It’s tough but, unfortunately, it’s not my first athletic defeat. In this sport you have a 50 percent chance of failure. So you get out there and put in your mouthpiece and you do the best you can. You’ve got to man up sometimes.”
Sonnen made comments about Silva leading into both of their showdowns that offended many people. Some fans, however, enjoyed the spark he gave to the promotions leading into bouts. While UFC president Dana White credits the first Silva-Sonnen affair with raising the profile of Saturday night’s rematch, there can be no refuting Sonnen’s gift for gab also played a key role.
Sonnen can dish it out verbally, and he often backs up his comments inside the Octagon. He's a very talented fighter, and UFC isn’t closing the book on him anytime soon.
Love him or hate him, mixed martial arts fans haven’t seen the last of Sonnen.