On Saturday at UFC on FOX 2, their hard-fought, three-round decision only reinforced their mutual respect. In fact, Sonnen thinks even more highly of Bisping now than ever.
"I can assure you -- Having fought [Bisping] and the alleged champion, he could win the title today if they gave him the opportunity," Sonnen said at the press conference.
With Sonnen, it's difficult to tell if he honestly believes that or if it's another opportunity to take a shot at Silva. Because despite winning his No. 1 contender bout by unanimous decision, Sonnen still maintains he's unsure if a championship bout with Silva will happen. According to Sonnen, it's up to Silva to sign on the dotted line.
"Do I think he'll sign to fight? No, I don't," Sonnen said. "We'll see. I've been wrong before."
Sonnen curiously made no mention of Silva in his post-fight interview with announcer Joe Rogan. Rather than aggressively call out Silva like he did in his previous win over Brian Stann, could this be Sonnen's passive-aggressive approach to making the fight happen?
"I can tell you this -- I have never backed down and I never will," he continued. "If he wants to fight and is willing to, I will do my part. But this isn't my goal to help lure him out. I talk like this not to talk about Anderson. I rather talk about real men like Mr. Bisping who steps in on 10 days notice and fights me. Those are the kind of guys I want to give media attention to. Not some bum hiding in Brazil."
If Silva-Sonnen 2 happens, it will likely take place this summer in Brazil. For all the shots that Sonnen have fired against Silva and Brazilians in general, there are some concerns of Sonnen's safety in that country. Sonnen, though, doesn't seem to be worried.
"If those blow-hards (in Brazil) with their blow darts, want to come for me, they can send anyone they want," Sonnen said. "But don't send anyone they want back."