Just for a moment, hop into your Delorean and travel back to 2010. Then drive said Delorean to California, and you may be just in time to see the UFC 117 main event. The bout would go down in history, as Anderson Silva took on Chael Sonnen.
If you made it in time, you would see Chael Sonnen shock the world, as he would beat the brakes off the previously untouchable Silva. “The American Gangster” talked tons of trash in the build up, and backed it right up. That is, until a hail mary triangle choke would be thrown up by Silva, just two and half minutes away from losing his belt. Silva’s legacy would be cemented forever.
However, imagine for a moment, that this submission never happened. Reach in the glove compartment of your time machine, and pull out your portal gun. Travel to an alternate dimension, and take a brief glance into the other side of the coin. This side of the coin provides you with a much luckier Chael.
Much of UFC 117 would be remain the same. The singular difference would be, that during that submission attempt, Sonnen would be able to escape. He would sit back, with proper defense, subsequently popping his head out of the choke. Although this was a wild comeback attempt by Silva, it was failed, and the round would end shortly after.
The scorecards would be exactly how one would imagine. The dominate performance from the challenger, would garnish him a 50-43 across the judge’s scorecards. Chael Sonnen was the new Middleweight Champion of the world.
Well, at least he was for a month. Shortly after this contest, Chael Sonnen would be suspended by the California State Athletic Commission, following a failed drug test. He would test positive for high testosterone-to-estrogen levels, and would be sidelined for a year.
This resulted in Sonnen being stripped of his Middleweight title. The UFC would then look to quickly crown a new champ, as they booked the former champion Silva, against Nate Marquardt. Marquardt was coming off a first round knockout over Rousimar Palharaes, and his last loss was against the aforementioned Sonnen.
Unfortunately, the UFC pressured these two into competing, to attempt to save face over this debacle. This resulted in Silva not being quite prepared, after the beating he took against Sonnen. Marquardt would shock the world, by catching “The Spider” clean on the jaw, knocking him unconscious early in the second round.
This would leave Marquardt primed to face new number one contender Yushin Okami. In a rather lackluster fight, Okami would walk away with the decision, and the belt. Following this fight, Silva would take on Okami in a rematch from their controversial 2006 fight. This time, Silva would leave no doubt, finishing Okami early in the second to regain his UFC title.
At this point, it had been a year since Silva’s defeat at the hands of Sonnen. Now, “The American Gangster” is free to make his return, and the only fight anybody wants to see is a rematch with Silva. The two would face off in one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history. Sonnen never let up on the trash talk, and now he had his own controversy to deal with.
So, when the two met again, there was nothing but hatred. This match would go much the same however, as Sonnen would slip while throwing a sloppy backfist. Luckily for him, he would recover and latch onto a double leg. This would spell the beginning of the end for Silva, as he would spend the rest of the fight being put on his back, and blasted with elbows.
With two victories over Silva, the door was shut on this rivalry. Yet the legend of West Lynn’s baddest would continue to grow. With UFC 151 approaching, Jon Jones was set to defend his 205lb strap against Dan Henderson. Yet on short notice, Hendo would pull out, causing Sonnen to offer to fill in, for a super fight.
However, in a surprising turn of events, Jones would turn down the fight with Sonnen. This would result in the first cancellation of a UFC card ever. This spark in controversy would cause the UFC to think it would be good for television. The two would be slated to be opposing coaches on the seventeenth season of TUF.
While the season would be decent, the show was already past its sell-by date. Yet, when the two would meet in the Octagon, there would be more controversy. Jones would be extraordinary, taking Sonnen down and beating him at his own game. However, as the first round concluded, and Jones headed back to his corner, it was realized his big toe was completely broken. It was a fairly gruesome injury, resulting in the end of the fight.
So Sonnen would shock the world, beating two of the sport’s greatest. Although the latter was controversial, it made Sonnen the first Champ-Champ in UFC history. The former real estate agent knew how to sell that fact too, turning himself into the biggest star the UFC has ever known.
Well, that is until 2013, when yet another controversy struck. On the dawn of the USADA era, Chael Sonnen would be among the first athletes to test positive. The list of substances in his blood was longer than a Walgreen’s receipt. This caused the UFC to be completely fed up with Sonnen, cutting him from the organization.
Subsequently, Sonnen would retire from the sport. However, in this dimension, there was no more hunger to win gold in MMA, so he would stay retired. Although his career was shrouded with controversy, he was comfortable with what he had accomplished.
The UFC was left with a massive mess to clean up, having to reestablish two divisions. Jones would be the first to regain his belt, taking his place back on top. At 185, we would see Chris Weidman gain the title, like what we know.
So kiddos, what have we learned today? The biggest takeaway should be that we might need to be grateful for the fact that Silva pulled off the impossible, almost a decade ago. Additionally, it is noteworthy that largely things ended up the same, in this Multiverse Tale.