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UFC on FOX 2:

Chael Sonnen praises Michael Bisping, trashes Anderson Silva

Bisping fuming about controversial unanimous decision loss

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chael Sonnen, top, pounds away on Michael Bisping, bottom, at the UFC on FOX 2 card at the United Center in Chicago. Sonnen won a unanimous decision.

UFC on Fox 2

KSNV coverage of UFC on Fox 2, Jan. 28, 2012.

Chael Sonnen approached Michael Bisping moments after their middleweight title eliminator bout at UFC on Fox 2 ended and asked him how he thought the judges scored the contest.

Bisping believed he had won by securing the first two rounds. Sonnen shockingly didn’t completely disagree and responded by saying, "You might be right."

Luckily for Sonnen, the judges saw it the other way. Sonnen defeated Bisping by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) to keep his position as the top contender in the 185-pound division.

“If it would have gone the other way,” Sonnen said in a rare moment of candor, “I don’t know that I would have been complaining.”

Bisping (22-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) may not have earned the victory, but he accomplished something just as difficult. Bisping’s performance impressed the usually over-animated Sonnen (28-10-1 MMA, 7-3) so much that he spoke like a mortal at the post-fight press conference.

Sonnen took Bisping down and smothered him in the third round, making the final stanza decisive. But the first two rounds were close and could have gone either way.

“Michael Bisping hit me so hard in the first round that I didn’t even know what day it was,” Sonnen said. “I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘you have no idea how bad you hurt me or else you’d step in and do something about it.’”

Sonnen officially booked an upcoming date with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) with the victory. The loss pushed Bisping back once again and left him still searching for the first title shot of his six-year stint with the UFC.

“I’m going nowhere,” Bisping said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I intend to do this for a hell of a lot longer.”

“Whether it’s Chael or Anderson, I will definitely fight for that belt.”

Some are already referring to the rematch between Silva and Sonnen as the biggest fight in UFC history. But Sonnen claims Bisping is the tougher match-up.

“I can assure you, having fought (Bisping) and the alleged champion, that (Bisping) could win the title today if they gave him the opportunity,” Sonnen said.

Fox

Just because Sonnen spoke glowingly of Bisping after UFC on Fox 2, doesn’t mean he was entirely on his best behavior. Sonnen slighted Silva more than ever before.

Silva vs. Sonnen II is expected to take place at a soccer stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during one of the first weekends in June. But Sonnen has his doubts.

“I’m not trying to go against the brass here, but the one thing they haven’t revealed is they offered him the fight four times,” Sonnen said. “And he said no four times. Mysteriously, he’s supposed to accept on the fifth.”

Many fans and media members have expressed a concern that bringing Sonnen to Brazil would create a major security burden. Sonnen has gotten a ton of publicity for the way he’s mocked Brazilian fighters and the country’s culture.

But he said it didn’t matter where he fought Silva. Sonnen doesn’t feel threatened by anything in Brazil.

“If those blowhards with their blow darts want to come at me, they can send anybody they want,” Sonnen exclaimed. “But don’t send anybody you want back.”

Sonnen compared fighting in Sao Paulo to appearing in Chicago, a city he said "isn’t exactly a haven for civility." Sonnen just wants Silva as soon as possible, wherever possible.

“To fight three times a year is such a waste of the other 49 weekends of the year,” he said. “Where I come from, it’s not Saturday night if you’re not fighting somebody.”

After UFC on Fox 2, Sonnen is convinced Bisping shares a similar philosophy. He won’t say the same about Silva.

“He’s at a point where he doesn’t want to do this,” Sonnen said of the champion. “He’s faking injuries. He’s making things up. He’s telling the boss no. Good for him. I’d really like to do that myself, but we’re going to have to do something about it. We’re going to have to put two new guys in there. Retire him, strip him and let the new guys fight for the belt.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or case.keefer@lasvegassun.com. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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