UFC's fighting words

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

They couldn’t be two more different people.

Middleweight champ Anderson (Spider) Silva is a lanky, flamboyant, laser-precise striker who has yet to lose in the UFC.

Despite his domination over other 185-pounders, he has found critics — including UFC president Dana White — for his showboating and inability to finish his opponents in recent fights.

Challenger Chael Sonnen is a stocky, meat-and-potatoes grinder who loves to wear out his opponents.

A decorated wrestler — who is also a realtor and until recently a candidate for State Representative in Oregon — he is the opposite of Silva.

The lead-up to the championship fight Saturday at UFC 117 in Oakland has been anything but muted, although most of the talking is coming from one side.

Silva, who’s 26-4 coming into the fight, has been short on words and large on confidence. Sonnen, on the other hand, has taken every opportunity available to attack everything about Silva — from his fighting credentials to his nationality. Here are a few gems from the 24-10-1 Sonnen leading up to the fight.

- On Silva’s heritage: “I’m outing Anderson Silva as a fraud. He comes into the cage and bows. He doesn’t come from a bowing culture. In Brazil, if you bow, they club you over the head.”

- On Silva’s fan base: “There’s nobody buying tickets to see this guy. There’s nobody selling merchandise because this guy is wearing it. There’s nobody tuning into a pay-per-view. I’m the one carrying the show. And that’s the way it should be. I’m the one they want to see.”

- On Silva’s fighting credentials: “He’s got a Nogueira brothers black belt, which is a bit like getting a free toy with your Happy Meal. A Nogueira brothers black belt. What does that mean? One guy’s a punching bag, and the other one I just ignore.”

- On why Silva’s still in the UFC: “I saved Anderson Silva’s job. Uncle Dana was going to give him his walking papers, and I begged him, begged him, to give him one more fight. Let me retire him.”

- On his personal feelings towards Silva: “I just don’t like him. That’s it. I don’t offer an apology, and I don’t need to give an explanation. I could drag Anderson Silva outside the hotel and beat him up any time I want. I’ve made a commitment to wait till Aug. 7, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure millions of people watch me do it.”

-n On Silva’s future: “I don’t wish him a bad life. I don’t hope anything bad happens to him. I’m going to take his belt on Aug. 7, and Dana’s going to fire him on Aug. 8.”

In the war of words, Sonnen gets the unanimous nod.

For his part, Silva says he finds Sonnen “funny” but says the 33-year-old American won’t be laughing after Saturday’s main event.

UFC 117 is available in Canada on pay-per-view.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca


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