Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva have a very storied history. Sonnen’s trash talking to Anderson Silva prior to their two bouts at UFC 117 and UFC 148 remains, to this day, one of the most memorable series of sound bites in UFC history, which contributed to making Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen one of the best feuds the promotion has ever seen. As someone who has shared the Octagon with Silva twice, Sonnen is very qualified to continue talking about Anderson Silva, even in 2018. Only now, he is not talking trash, but words of praise about his former foe as Silva heads into UFC 234 to face Israel Adesanya:
“If you look at that match, it’s a very compelling matchup for a couple of reasons,” Sonnen began on his YouTube channel. “Izzy is currently largely what Anderson was. And when I say that, I don’t agree that anything with Anderson has diminished over time. I think he was a fantastic fighter back when, I think he is a fantastic fighter now.
“However, Israel Adesanya does get to the punch a little bit quicker, and speed is something that comes with age. I don’t know that he’s distinctly faster than Anderson Silva, but I do think that it would be something fair for you to point out.”
Chael Sonnen did not stop at calling Anderson Silva a fantastic fighter. He would go on to say that even now, at 43 years of age, Anderson Silva’s head start as what a renaissance mixed martial artist looks like has kept him ahead of his time even in 2018:
“When you take somebody like Anderson, who was this great Muay Thai fighter, who was doing Muay Thai, standup, kickboxing bouts, he also, in conjunction with that, secretly was working on the ground game. He had a black belt in jiu-jitsu. So when he came into mixed martial arts, boom, he was just one of the complete fighters there was. And it took over a decade, and guys still couldn’t catch him. That’s how far he was ahead of the game. He was so far ahead of the game that 10 years later, he’s still ahead of the game.
“I think Anderson may look at this fight and go, finally, you get me a guy that fights the way I want to fight. We’re gonna stand up and fight.”
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen? Is Anderson Silva still a “fantastic fighter” who remains “ahead of the game?”