Let me take you back. The venue was the Oracle Arena, the date was Aug. 7, 2010, and the event was UFC 117. After months of trash talking an invincible champion, to the point that MMA media had serious arguments over whether or not he was playing a character or just plain delusional, Chael Sonnen was about to fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.
Watching Chael walk to the octagon, it was hard not to remember the months leading up to the fight. It was hard not to study his face, trying to catch some hint, some read, that might tell us if he really believed the crazy things he had been saying. Did he really believe, for instance, that he was going to beat Silva into retirement? If he did, I assure you, he was the only one. The UFC has never seen a champion as dominant as Silva, so the idea that a man only a year or so removed from being a fringe contender would beat him seemed, bluntly, insane.