UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen took part in a media conference call today to discuss their upcoming title rematch at UFC 148 on July 7th and it didn’t take long for the two rivals to start trading verbal jabs.
Interestingly, despite Sonnen having being the instigator in much of the pre-fight trash talk the last time they met, on this occasion it was Silva who was turning up the heat and vowing to give the outspoken No.1 contender his just desserts.
“Chael is a criminal. He’s been convicted of crimes. He doesn’t deserve to be in the Octagon. When the time is right, I’m going to break his face and break every one of his teeth in his mouth,” Silva stated.
That’s a stark contrast to the largely dignified silence Silva employed prior to their encounter at UFC 117, and the Brazilian superstar was keen to stress that their won’t be a repeat of the closely fought battle the two had in the Octagon on that occasion.
“I don’t live in the past. The things in the past are in museums. Playtime is over. I’m gonna beat Chael like he’s never been beat before. There’s no more talking. I’m going to beat his ass out of the UFC. He’s never gonna want to fight again after I’m done with him.”
Sonnen on the other hand was happy to remind everyone of what happened last time out when he looked to be beating Silva comfortably until the final minutes of the fifth round. He believes that he exposed Silva on that occasion, and he fully intends to do so again on July 7th.
“All that happened was Anderson found himself in a fight for the first time. His skills are amateur. If you walk into a fight with your fists down, that’s amateur. I treated him like an amateur the first time and I’ll treat him like an amateur this time.”
So, it appears the gloves are now off and we can expect more back-and-forth digs between the two fighter’s over the next couple of weeks in the lead-up to the event.
That’s probably just as well as it appears the UFC are pinning their hopes on UFC 148 being a huge success for them. At the media call Dana White speculated that interest in the much-talked about rematch could propel their pay-per-view sales to the seven figure mark.
“There’s no doubt that we expect over 1 million buys here. We expect UFC 100 numbers,” White told reporters.
UFC 100 did in the region of 1.6 million buys, by far the promotion’s best ever so that’s quite a target to aim for. I seriously question whether they will get close to that to be honest, particularly given that the original fight between Silva and Sonnen only did around 600,000 buys.
The UFC 100 card was also stacked, whereas UFC 148 has fallen victim to injuries, with a bantamweight title encounter between TUF: Live coaches Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz being scrapped and Rich Franklin being moved forward to UFC 147, leaving Tito Ortiz Vs Forrest Griffin III as the only other major fight on tap.
However, given the close nature of their previous fight, and the continued rivalry between them there is definitely going to be more interest in the bout this time.
“7 years in the UFC and I’ve never heard Anderson talk like this before!!!” White wrote on Twitter after the media call, and the prospect of the sport’s pound-for-pound fighter engaging ‘Beast Mode’ for this bout is a prospect that no self-respecting MMA fan would want to miss out on.
I do expect UFC 148 to do better than UFC 117 in terms of PPV’s, but by how much remains to be seen.