Chael Sonnen is gunning for the middleweight belt, but he's also going after Anderson Silva for what he perceives as a falsehood being portrayed by the champion.
The Top 10 middleweight spoke to MMAWeekly Radio recently where he unloaded on Silva and his manager, Ed Soares, for some issues he has with the fighter most call the top pound-for-pound competitor on the planet. Sonnen says very candidly that he's hoping for a title shot if he gets past Nate Marquardt at UFC 109, but doesn't care one bit if it's Silva who's defending the belt.
"I would imagine, who knows what Anderson's doing. At the end of the day, who cares," said Sonnen. "If he wants to leave the division, leave the sport, who cares. Beat it, nobody tunes in to watch him anyways, and his little fake 'I don't speak English.
"You want me to let you in on a secret, Anderson Silva speaks perfect English. He just has such a low amount of respect for you and all the rest of the media that he pretends he doesn't. I've had conversations with Anderson Silva in perfect English, and on top of that he's so boring to listen to that he and his rocket scientist manager, Ed Soares, who is also about as exciting as watching grass grow, have decided that Ed is better on the mic than Anderson, so just let Ed do the talking."
Sonnen says Silva's disdain for the media reaches back to other fighters as well, who speak about the subject in private amongst themselves.
"It's quite ironic that all the media comes on and talks about how great this guy is for reasons that are completely un-understandable to me. How great Anderson Silva is, and all of us fighters are in the back going, 'jeez, they're out there massaging his ego, Anderson hates them so much, he pretends he can't understand them,’" Sonnen stated.
One person who will not be signing up for the Anderson Silva fan club anytime soon is Sonnen, who also slammed the champion for his top pound-for-pound status, and believes that if they ever do fight, the verbal warfare will be decidedly one-sided.
"That guy's no more the top fighter out there than Bigfoot is roaming the woods," said Sonnen. "That is an absolute myth, and all these guys can buy into it, but there's a young man out in Portland, Ore., that is not signing up on that bandwagon.
"If Anderson ever signed to fight me, which is highly unlikely, he'll be getting a verbal beating like you've never seen. And his language barrier won't be the point of interest."
Silva's manager spoke exclusively with MMAWeekly Radio after hearing Sonnen's comments and actually had some complimentary things to say about the Team Quest fighter, but believes that everything being said has a purpose behind it.
"Who is this that we're talking about?" Soares joked when Sonnen's name came up.
"I think Chael's a really super nice guy and every time I've met the guy he's always been really cool to me. That's weird that he would say stuff on the radio, but I think at the end of the day, Chael's not a dumb guy, he's a pretty smart guy," Soares commented. "I think no one will really pay attention to what he has to say unless he probably talks about Anderson."
Soares also reacted to Sonnen's comments about Silva's performances and believes he needs to look in the mirror before pointing the finger at anyone else.
"Anyone that has a mouth can say what they want," he said. "I don't think people pay too much attention to what Chael does. Saying that Anderson's boring or Anderson's this, Anderson's that, we don't even need to go back and see what Chael has done. If you really want to analyze Chael's career over the past couple years, he's had some wins, but he said he didn't tap against Paulo Filho. If the ref wouldn’t have stopped the fight, Paulo Filho would have his arm in Brazil with him.
"And when he beat Paulo Filho, he was 35 to 40 percent of a Paulo Filho and he took him to a decision. Then he went and fought Damien Maia, got submitted quick, and now he's going to fight Nate Marquardt which Nate just ended up knocking out Damien Maia. I think Chael should be really focused on his fight that he's got against Nate Marquardt because I can tell you right now that's probably going to be the hardest fight of his life. I would put my money on Nate."
Commenting about Silva's willingness to speak English also came up. While Soares admits that the champion has had some issues with the media in the past, overall he understands that it's all part of the business.
"He doesn't speak perfect English. It's definitely improving a lot and he can start to have a little bit more of a conversation with people, but at the end of the day when the lights are on and the camera is there, he likes to have someone next to him there to translate for him," Soares said.
The Brazilian manager understands that the fight game is a business, and Sonnen may be playing the part of the villain to perfection. He also knows that talking the way he is could prompt a rivalry and a shot at Silva's middleweight title.
"I don't know what he's doing, but I would be keeping my mouth shut and in the gym training, especially training his stand-up," Soares said in closing.