Chael Sonnen was the victim of one of the greatest comebacks in mixed martial arts history when he lost to Anderson Silva at UFC 117.
The highly anticipated middleweight title fight, which took place in August of 2010, served as Sonnen’s first shot at UFC gold.
‘The American Gangster‘ utilized a ton of trash talk ahead of the UFC 117 main event, this in hopes of getting under the skin of his dangerous opponent in ‘The Spider’.
After twenty minutes of action Chael Sonnen appeared to be cruising towards his first career UFC world title. The Oregon native had controlled Silva with his wrestling for the majority of the opening four rounds, this while delivering some serious punishment in the form of ground and pound.
When round five started it appeared to be more of the same from Sonnen. He was able to score an early takedown and subsequently control Silva along the Octagon canvas. However, with under two minutes remaining in the fight, Anderson Silva was able to toss up and secure a triangle choke that would ultimately force Chael Sonnen to tapout.
It was a miraculous last minute submission that will forever live in the minds of fight fans. Unfortunately for Sonnen, he was on the wrong end of that memorable moment.
During a recent interview with former UFC site controller Burt Watson, Chael Sonnen revisited his infamous first loss to Anderson Silva and shared an interesting wrinkle to the story.
“Ok, so that was my first time in the fifth round. I had been scheduled for two other fights that were five-round contests in the WEC, (but) we never saw all five rounds, though. So it was my first time in the fifth round,” he explained. “The reason I bring that up is when you talk about running out of gas, I can tell you I was for sure very tired. Now, I don’t ever remember having a fight in my life where I left with any energy. I used it all, and I’m used to being tired. But this maybe was another level.” Sonnen explained to Watson (via MMAJunkie). “I do remember one thing, which was in the fifth round – which I had never been to before – the corner had told me before the round that it was the fourth round, that we had two rounds to go. And I only bring that up to you because I have often wondered would I have done something different if I knew there was only a minute left? A minute left and I’m gonna be the world champion as opposed to a whole other round. That isn’t an attempt to blame the corner, I’m just sharing a story with you about that specific moment.”
Chael Sonnen continued:
“Five isn’t all that big of a number, but when you’ve never been in the five-round club before it’s a very unique experience,” he continued. “You can look at fighters that have been doing this 20-25 years – Vitor Belfort comes to mind, absolute legend, world champion, will be in the Hall of Fame. He is not in the five-round club. He has never gone five rounds, and I don’t suspect he ever will. It’s a very rare club. Not many guys ever main event or have a title fight (or) are ever put in five rounds, let alone go the duration.
“I did lose track of the rounds. I didn’t really know where I was and he hadn’t hit me that many times, but every time he hit me, it affected me. So between all of the chaos that goes on, (I) lost track of the rounds and it was a choke – it wasn’t an armbar – that made me tap. I didn’t really know where I was. … It’s one of these things that, when you start to go out, even if it’s for half a second, it could be five minutes. It’s kind of like when you go to sleep at night. Have I been asleep five hours? Have I been asleep five minutes?”
What do you think of the recent comments from Chael Sonnen regarding his infamous first loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117? Share your thoughts in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on September 5, 2020