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Chael Sonnen says UFC 148 meeting with champ Silva the biggest fight of the year

Before he followed Anderson Silva's lead and disappeared from a media call for UFC 148, Chael Sonnen was in full promotion mode. 

He got shown up by the man he had claimed to carry for two years in the hype game, but before Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) uncharacteristically threatened him (and then was disconnected from the call), Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) made a claim that was characteristically as bold as it was doubtful. 

"This is the biggest sporting event of the summer, and for a reason," Sonnen said. "I heard somebody else ... say, 'Well, what about the (2012) Olympic games?' I'm scratching my head. I love the Olympic games, but let's be fair – just because somebody has got the Olympics on in the background while their family is eating dinner isn't exactly the same. 

"It's not the same as people traveling to the destination and buying t-shirts ... and talking about something for two years waiting for two guys to finally settle their business. There is no fight in all of 2012 that's got as much weight and as much emotion, not just from fans and from media but from the athletes that are participating, but this one." 

Sonnen then addressed middleweight champ Silva, who before he was disconnected promised to "break his face" when they met in less than two weeks. 

"I'm not playing around," Sonnen said. "He thinks he's going to break my face. Tell him I've got two words for him: Medium. Rare." 

UFC 148 takes place July 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Main-card fights, including Silva vs. Sonnen II, air live on pay-per-view while preliminary-card fights air on FX. 

Sonnen's comment played on a previous jab at the middleweight champ in which he said he would come to Silva's house, smack his wife on the behind and tell her to make him a steak. The insult reportedly infuriated Silva, who's ranked atop the pound-for-pound list and has defended his belt a record nine times. 

While most would dispute Sonnen's measure of UFC 148's popularity when compared to the 2012 Olympics, which kick off this week in London, he could be right about his fight's significance within MMA. And today's call did nothing but stoke the flames of an already heated rivalry that's made his rematch with Silva one of the most anticipated fights in recent UFC history. 

UFC president Dana White called UFC 148 the biggest event of the year and predicted the fight card would draw in excess of 1 million pay-per-view "buys." The injury bug has scrapped several moneymaking main events this year. 

Sonnen dominated his first fight with Silva for four-plus rounds before getting caught in a triangle/armbar submission that forced him to tap in the fifth round of a headliner at UFC 117 in August 2010. An immediate rematch was planned, but following his suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for elevated levels of testosterone, UFC officials shelved it. 

Silva was reportedly uninterested in the rematch, and there were rumors that the fight might not happen when it was moved from UFC 147 to UFC 148 due to logistical problems. White quickly shot those down. 

If victorious on July 7, Sonnen would be the only man to beat Silva in the UFC. Naturally, he thinks that accomplishment is just around the corner. 

"I think Anderson's a really good setup guy; he uses a lot of movements and motions to set guys up," Sonnen said. "But at the end of the day, his skills are amateur. You walk into a fistfight with your hands down – that's amateur. And I treated him like an amateur the first time. 

"I'll treat him like an amateur this time."

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