It was interesting to hear UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen reflect on his fight with UFC champion Anderson Silva only days after the UFC 148 event. MMA Insider Ariel Helwani asked Sonnen in an interview for "UFC Tonight" on Fuel TV how he felt about Silva holding on to his shorts and landing punches during the second round.
"That was a new experience. I've never had that happen in practice. It was a different feeling – trying to get away when a guy is holding onto your shorts. But I don't resent him for any of that stuff. As a matter of fact, if anything, I admire it in him … because I would do the exact same thing, had I thought of it … Good for him. He showed us something new."
It appears Sonnen is already a fan of the move.
Who will be the next fighter to risk holding the shorts as a way to gain an advantage?
Sonnen mentioned that holding onto an opponent's shorts is a risky move because the referee might have taken a point away. But, the risk paid off. Silva got away with holding onto Sonnen's shorts. He also got away with placing his hand on the fence. He got away with wiping vaseline on his chest – referee Yves Lavigne wiped it off with a towel, but taking the time to blatantly break a rule in the moments before the fight started was an obvious tactic previously considered by Team Silva.
Sensei Steven Seagal promised that Anderson would demonstrate new moves or tactics that would change the game for future fights. I thought he meant some super sick kick or BJJ move, but no, looks like he meant those tricky, dirty moves that the ref might not see – moves that allow a fighter to get inside his opponent's head. I wrote about Seagal's prediction on this post, Anderson Silva's Shoulder Bump Sets Stage to 'Dominate and Exterminate' at UFC 148: Fan Reaction
Sonnen thinks Silva got away with an illegal knee
Sonnen, in his interview, said that he expected the ref to step in to address the knee strike because he was hit in the face.
Apparently, Lavigne focused on the knee hitting the chest and disregarded Anderson's thigh hitting Chael in the face.
"The knee hit me in the face and yes, you can't hit the knee to the face, but it's the referee's call and there's no instant replay. I don't want that to change. I've done plenty of things in the ring, in the heat of the moment. The referee didn't say anything, so it's fair game. The knee landed where the knee landed, the result is the same and I don't dispute the results."
UFC analyst Kenny Florian gave his thoughts on the knee: "I don't see the point of Silva using the flying knee against a guy that was already lying against the cage. To me, it looked like it hit him in the head and that could really do damage."
Retirement? No. Changing weight classes? Maybe.
Ariel asked Sonnen if there was still discord between him and Silva: "Listen, you know that was very nice what he said [inviting him to his family BBQ] but at the end of the day, I never wished Silva a bad life. I shook his hand in the ring and I wished him a good life. If I had the chance to fight him again, I would definitely take it. I am appreciative of him and of the chance he gave me to fight him again and the first time. I was very good for Anderson, but Anderson was very good for me too."
Sonnen says that if he retires before he wins the championship, that means he quit.
"Anderson could announce his retirement any day now. And there's an option to start over by changing weight class. My mentors, Randy Couture – Dan Henderson, have done it and it could happen. I would go up to 205 … Jon Jones … There are some great guys at 185, but traditionally and historically, it is a good way to get a fresh start and rejuvenate your career."
Chael Sonnen Wants Jon Jones? video
Jones vs Sonnen would be a fascinating fight. I think Sonnen (6'1") would have a very hard time controlling Jones (6'4"), who has the talent of a younger version of Anderson Silva (6'2"). Jones has the longest reach in the UFC at 84". Sonnen's reach is 74".
Even so, I'm very interested in this match-up.
I can hear the smack talk now. Especially since Jones is no longer the poster child for good behavior. The crack in Jon's armor will make the back-and-forth verbal sparring deadly and funny, generating a very profitable return for the UFC and a great fight for the fans.
Source: show notes from "UFC Tonight" 07/12/12, Sherdog.com
More from this contributor:
Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. Currently, she trains with Keith Florian and has trained with UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny