3. Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
When this rivalry started Anderson Silva had been receiving backlash from fans for having boring fights. Silva’s fights against Thales Leites, Demian Maia and Patrick Cote all failed to impress fans.
Honestly, very few expected an exciting fight between Silva and Sonnen at UFC 117. Sonnen was on a 3-fight win streak at the time, but very few even gave him the slightest of chances against Silva. But Sonnen talked such a confident game that people started to pay attention. He talked so confidently about beating Silva, that many thought he was absolutely out of his mind. Turns out he wasn’t, or at least not fully.
Silva is rumoured to have gone into the fight with a bad rib. Sonnen on the other hand is all but confirmed to have gone into the fight “juiced to the gills”. Chael dominated Silva with his wrestling for 4.5 rounds, until Silva caught him in a triangle and made him tap.
Despite failing a post-fight drug test, Sonnen would continue to make bold claims, even referring to himself as the champion. Sonnen took fight promotion to a whole new level, and they almost broke 1 million PPV buyrates for the rematch as a result.