by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It wasn’t Anderson Silva’s night at UFC 117… until there was less than two minutes to go in his championship bout with Chael Sonnen.
The Brazilian dug down deep and caught the former All-American wrestler in a fight-ending triangle choke.
With Sonnen on top of him for the majority of the fight, Silva did his best to stay calm, and wait for the opportunity to strike. Like a deadly tarantula, Silva waited until just the right moment then he launched his attack.
The champion kept his cool by thinking about the things that are most important to him in life, and what all the hard work over the last several months was for.
“The main thing I was thinking about, I was thinking about my home, I was thinking about my kids, my family, my wife, I haven’t seen them in three months,” Silva said. “I was thinking of my grandmother that just passed away about three weeks ago. The whole time I was just thinking about my family and I just couldn’t wait to get home to see them.”
At the end of the first round, Silva could be seen wincing as he headed back to his corner, and pointing towards his mid-section. Later, the Brazilian admitted that he had an injury going into the fight, but vowed to not let the fans or the UFC down by canceling.
“This is not an excuse, but about a week and a half ago I was training with (Satoshi) Ishii. He came to train with Lyoto (Machida), and I had a bad injury to my rib,” Silva admitted. “The doctor told me not to fight, but I believe that the show must go on.”
The show did go on, and despite a rough going for most of the fight, Silva found a way to win.
The champion said that Sonnen’s verbal jabs were a “weird” way of promoting the fight, but now that it’s all over, he looks at his challenger as he did any before him: just a challenger, nothing more, nothing less.
“I respect Chael, I respect all of my opponents, and basically I don’t hold any grudges,” said Silva. “I look at the UFC as we’re a big family, we’re a big team, and we’re prepared to fight any other organization, and of the best of the other organization, everyone in the UFC is the best. We’re a big team and we have to fight each other every once in a while. What happens in the ring is in the ring, once it’s over, it’s done.”
Now that it’s done, would Silva entertain a rematch with Sonnen?
“I’m a fighter. I’m here for the UFC and whatever the UFC decides is fine with me,” Silva stated.
The UFC’s middleweight champion will head back to Southern California to help his teammates get ready for upcoming fights before going home to Brazil to spend time with his family. Then it becomes the UFC’s job to decide if Silva rematches Sonnen, or if Vitor Belfort could be waiting in the wings.
For today however, Anderson Silva is simply just the champion and the widely regarded best fighter on the planet once again.