On the surface it would seem a rematch should be brewing between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and top contender Chael Sonnen, but are there forces at work that are trying to prevent that fight from happening?
Anderson Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, recently made comments in response to Sonnen’s challenge of the champion following his win at UFC 136 over Brian Stann.
Sonnen has said time and time again that he doesn’t believe his loss to Silva in 2010 was a real defeat, and he wants a rematch sooner rather than later.
“Take a number and get to the back of the line,” Soares told HDNet’s Inside MMA last week. “You had your opportunity.”
Following Soares’ comments, MMAWeekly.com reached out to Chael Sonnen’s manager Mike Roberts of MMA Incorporated to get his feelings on a potential rematch between the two fighters in 2012.
“I think there’s no question Chael’s deserving of a rematch with Anderson,” Roberts said. “I mean he pushed him as far as anybody ever pushed him. It was one of the best fights of the year, but the biggest thing is this is the fight the fans want. Dana and everyone are all about giving the fans what they want, and there his no question that this is the fight the fans want to see.
“People love Chael or they hate him, but they want to see this fight.”
As far as the “get to the back of the line” comment, Roberts has his own opinion about Sonnen’s likelihood to get a second shot at the champion, but ultimately he says it’s not up to him if the rematch gets made or not.
“It makes no sense at all. Chael is as deserving as anybody for that next title shot. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what I think and it doesn’t matter what Ed thinks. It matters what Dana (White) thinks. Ed’s not the matchmaker, I’m not the matchmaker, you’re not the matchmaker. Joe Silva and Dana White make the matches,” Roberts commented.
There’s no question that throughout his time in the UFC that Silva has never ducked a fight, and he’s even gone up in weight class twice at the promotion’s request when they needed him to step in for a fight. Still, with all the recent talk about Sonnen getting back in line and comments about Silva only having about four more fights left in his career, is there a real question about this fight actually coming together?
“I don’t think Anderson’s scared of Chael at all. I mean Anderson may be the greatest fighter of all time. Do I think he wants to fight Chael? There’s probably other people he’d rather fight at this point in his career. Chael poses some problems that a lot of these other guys don’t, and we’ll see,” Roberts said.
Beyond the fight talk, Sonnen has never been a fighter to hold his tongue when it comes to opponents or an entire country like his comments about Brazil. Soares fired back at Sonnen recently, discussing his conviction in Oregon following Federal money laundering charges as well as his suspension from the California State Athletic Commission following his fight with Silva in 2010.
Roberts, who has known Soares for many years, believes that he’s taking up for his fighter like any manager would do, but it’s not really their place to respond. He leaves that up to Sonnen to decide what he says or doesn’t say.
“Ed’s saying some personal things about Chael and I don’t think Ed or I are in a position where it’s good to throw insults at anybody. I think Ed’s a good guy that’s maybe got caught up a little emotionally himself with some of the things Chael has said about Anderson. It’s just better in my opinion if we leave that to the fighters,” Roberts stated.
“Chael is who he is; who am I to stop Chael from being who he is?”
All signs are pointing towards an explosive showdown between Silva and Sonnen in 2012, once the champion’s ailing shoulder is back to 100 percent. The talk will likely continue however and that will only build what is already one of the most anticipated rematches in MMA history.