UFC 148: Dana White believes Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rivalry perhaps the best in UFC history
Jul 4, 2012 - 8:55:59 PM
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC is expecting Saturday's UFC 148 main event between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to be their biggest fight of the year. They're publicly believing they'll bring in over a million pay-per-view buys, and they see the feud between Silva and Sonnen to be one of the biggest they've ever had.
Indeed, UFC President Dana White believes it could be the very best rivalry they've had in the history of the organization, surpassing some of the other major feuds the organization has seen.
"If not No. 1, it's up there," White said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "I've never been in a situation where a guy says, 'This guy's such a disrespectful punk, he doesn't deserve this shot – and I'm not gonna fight him."
Indeed, when the fight was pulled from a soccer stadium in Brazil, it took some effort to get Silva to take the fight in Las Vegas. Indeed, White this week confirmed reports from months ago that Silva was refusing the move, and needed to be convinced to take the fight in Vegas.
Silva still maintained this week his belief that Sonnen doesn't deserve to be in there with him a second time; but he did eventually acquiesce, took the fight, and set up this Saturday's big fight.
"There's no doubt Anderson doesn't what to give him this rematch. That's a fact," White said. "My philosophy is always, if you don't like it, handle it in [the Octagon]. You can't say a guy doesn't deserve it because you think he's mean. He definitely deserves the rematch. More than anybody. It's true."
"He's the only guy who's ever come close to beating him in the UFC."
Penick's Analysis: Sonnen earned his way back to a title fight, and there wasn't anyone else in the division more deserving than him when the UFC decided to set this rematch up. Silva's frustrations with the situation where that he initially agreed to the rematch, and to the fight, provided he got to fight Sonnen in his home country of Brazil. That's what the UFC wanted to do, and unfortunately for him it ultimately didn't work out that way. Because of that change, Silva wasn't thrilled with taking the fight in Vegas instead. It doesn't matter at this point, because he did take the fight, and Saturday is poised to be a very big event. I don't think I'd put the rivalry ahead of some of the other major ones the UFC has had, but the bad blood from Silva's standpoint is as real as it's been for anyone else in UFC history.
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