There are two sides to Chael Sonnen.
Everyone sees the brash, unapologetic mouthpiece that spouts off rhymes and insults like it’s a bodily function. He fired off more quips aimed at Anderson Silva than CNN does news bulletins everyday.
But there is another side to Chael Sonnen and that is the true mixed martial artist who respects the sport and the athletes in it.
Sure, the louder more verbal version of Sonnen likes to blast away and say he’s just a fighter and not a martial artist, but when the gloves come off and the night is over, he can be as respectful as anybody that walks through the doors of the world famous Octagon.
Take for instance Saturday night at UFC 148.
Sonnen lost to his biggest rival ever in Anderson Silva. He lost his shot at the UFC middleweight title. But while so many were crying and hoping that Sonnen would call foul on Anderson Silva for an alleged illegal knee or grabbing his shorts during the fight, the former Oregon All-American wanted none of it.
Sonnen paid Silva his dues from the first question to the last question, and never morphed into the character he’s developed into over the last couple of years.
But there was even more to Chael Sonnen that night than just what was revealed during the post fight press conference.
According to UFC President Dana White who spoke to the Jim Rome Show on Tuesday, Sonnen let his guard down even more information about just how much he respects Anderson Silva inside and outside the cage, especially after their fight at UFC 148.
“Chael Sonnen, motivated, in great shape, injury free, couldn’t have been better, and wanted that title so bad. Goes in that first round, look at the way that happened, and this is what Chael Sonnen said to me after the fight, he didn’t say it at the press conference, but he said it to me,” White revealed.
“He said ‘I have so much respect for this guy, Dana. I’ve been competing in combat sports since I was 7-years old and in that first round when I was on top of him and I was hitting him with those big elbows, I felt him break. I broke him in that first round. He came back in the second round, and destroyed me’. He said ‘I’ve never seen anybody do that, ever.”
Silva has routinely made the impossible seem possible inside the Octagon. Undefeated during his entire UFC career and now riding an unprecedented 10 consecutive title defense streak, Silva even made a believer out of Chael Sonnen on Saturday night.
Say what you will about the Chael Sonnen that seems to say the craziest things to pick a fight, when it’s over he’s a smart man that can admit when he’s wrong.
There’s another Chael Sonnen that now respects the hell out of Anderson Silva after a second fight with the man routinely referred to as the greatest mixed martial artist alive.