But here's the problem: we're talking about Anderson Silva.
What can I tell you about the man that you don't already know? He is what every other athlete at the top tier of every other sport has always claimed and wished he could be. He is the fighter who has truly conquered his sport, who has no peer, and who if we were presented him in a film would be criticized for being a wholly unbelievable archetype. No man can be that dominant, that good, or that intimidating. Nobody could make it look as easy as he did against Forrest Griffin and so many others.
Yet he did, and he will again.
Chael Sonnen, in between taking doses of testosterone for "therapy" and plagiarizing the likes of "Superstar" Billy Graham and Portland professional wrestling legend The Grappler, may have convinced himself that he can win. Against any other fighter, I might be able to at least empathize with this delusion.
But, again, here's the problem: we're talking about Anderson Silva.
You can't gain entry into the UFC without an impressive resume. And in every weight class within the UFC, there is a small handful of fighters whose reputations in the cage are beyond reproach and whose skillsets cannot be denied. Chael Sonnen is one of those fighters. If we overlook that last fight with Bisping, he has compiled an impressive dossier. He's a dangerous, lifelong grappler. He's a big Middleweight, cutting upwards of 20 pounds in twenty-four hours to make the 185 pound limit.
Yet look at the names Anderson Silva has destroyed: Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin (twice), Nate Marquardt, and Dan Henderson. At least two of those fighters are Hall of Famers, and most were in their prime when they were completely annihilated by the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
Chael's a competitor at Middleweight, but we're talking about Anderson Silva.
During the last several years, Silva has only looked human in the cage twice: once against Demian Maia and again in his first fight with Chael Sonnen. It is worth noting, and probably not a coincidence, that these two fights occurred back to back. In the fight against Maia, Silva became bored and angry with the lack of engagement and ended up taunting, verbally and physically, more than he fought. He gave away rounds out of sheer frustration. His temper got the best of him, which is what Chael Sonnen is hoping will happen on Saturday. In their first encounter, Sonnen dominated Silva before being succumbing to a triangle with less than two minutes left in the fight. Silva blamed the lack of dominance on an injured rib. Others speculated that Silva was simply providing the fans and especially Dana White with a thrilling finish after White dragged him through the coals for his performance against Maia. I admit that theory is a bit out there, but watching that fight again, Silva doesn't seem to take much in the way of real damage and he never looks like he's panicking. It's hard to believe that Silva would coast against a top five fighter in his weight division simply to prove a point.
Yet there's a part of me that entertains this possibility, because we're talking about Anderson Silva.
It's been a fun if not frustrating ride the last two years with Chael Sonnen, but it's going to end sometime after midnight EST on Saturday, July 7. At that time, Silva's going to be healthy and ready. Any attempt Sonnen will make at a takedown will be stifled -- by sprawls if Sonnen is lucky, or knees if he's not. Silva's standup will be on full display. He'll bob and weave, then playfully tap at Sonnen before going in for the kill. A right hand or a right foot will end it minutes into the first round.
With all due respect to Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva has faced and felled far greater men and fighters in the Octagon. It's been a wildly entertaining delusion, and I thank Chael Sonnen for letting so many of us share in it. But reality is going to hit him on Saturday night. And it's going to hit him hard.
And as if you needed any further convincing, Steven Seagal told Ariel Helwani that he's taught Anderson Silva some new moves. So there you go. Unless Chael's been taking pointers from Chuck Norris, he's doomed.
Image: Josh Hedges/ Zuffa LLC/ Getty Images