For the better part of two years, Chael Sonnen went out of his way to denigrate Anderson Silva. In the process of twice challenging the UFC middleweight champion and twice coming up short, Sonnen taunted Silva, his homeland of Brazil, made a fake middleweight title belt he carried around, and so on.
On Monday's media teleconference promoting the event, Sonnen went out of his way to say he considered Jones a better fighter than Silva, the man most consider the world's best pound-for-pound fighter.
"I don't think they're close," Sonnen said. "I think Jon is considerably better than Anderson."
Sonnen, of course, pushed Silva like he's rarely been pushed in his record-setting, six-and-a-half-year title reign. Sonnen won the first four rounds of his UFC 117 title challenge against Silva before Silva won via submission in the fifth round. Then, in their UFC 148 rematch, Sonnen won the first round handily before making a fatal mistake in the second by missing on a wild spinning backfist, which led to a Silva TKO win.
But Sonnen seems to have a memory lapse on how the fights finished, opting instead to focus on what occurred during the bulk of the fights instead of the endings.
"Look, here's the reality with Anderson," Sonnen said. "I stomped that guy, and you can pick up his little arm as many times as you want and call him the winner, but the fact is I whipped his ass for 30 minutes. He got to jump on me for less than 30 seconds. He never knocked me down. I fell down. They say Anderson's the best pound-for-pound. He's not the best round-for-round."
"I doubt anyone on this call even has a 10-8 round," Sonnen continued. "I have three of them. They're all against Anderson Silva. So, if you think Jon and Anderson are even close, I will run through Jon because I ran through Anderson."
Sonnen remains defensive over being granted a title shot against Jones, despite the fact he's coming off the loss to Silva and has not competed at 205 pounds in several years.
"Sometimes I hear that I don't deserve this fight, or that I'm not the right guy," Sonnen said. "But then I hear that Anderson can beat [Jones]. You've got to be kidding me. I stomped Anderson Silva, twice."