Anderson Silva pummels Chael Sonnen in the second round before recording… (David Becker / Associated…)
LAS VEGAS — Anderson Silva wagged his finger "no" to the idea of him possibly fighting Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight Jon Jones.
In the context that the UFC claims Silva is "the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time," along with his age and the organization’s repeated boast that it makes the fights its fans want to see, Silva’s finger wag is unacceptable.
By defeating Chael Sonnen on Saturday night before a crowd of 15,016 at MGM Grand, Silva (26-4) dismissed the toughest middleweight title challenger yet.
He’s held the throne since 2006, and impressively defeated a string of challengers often deemed nondescript compared with contenders in other UFC divisions.
Saturday night, the only possible middleweight challenger UFC President Dana White could come up with was Hector Lombard, a Cuban whom the UFC landed from the Bellator Fighting Championships and will make his debut later this month.
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Silva, 37, doesn’t need to revisit that road, given the fact he’s previously fought at the light-heavyweight limit of 205 pounds, and could argue to make Jones come down to an uncomfortable catch weight.
The UFC announced Saturday in ironic timing that Jones, 24, will next fight Temecula’s savvy veteran Dan Henderson on Sept. 1 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
UFC leaders dangled a Silva-Jones bout late Saturday night.
When asked if he’ll push to make Silva fight Jones, White said convincing Silva of a tough fight "is such a different process, it’s like dealing with an artist, it’s so complex.
"But he said he wouldn’t fight Chael again, either."
UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta answered a text-message question about the interest in forcing Silva-Jones by texting back, "Have some faith."
Silva was in early trouble against Sonnen on Saturday, getting taken down to the canvas in the first round and spending the rest of the round absorbing a few short rights and elbows.
That’s what happened in their first fight in 2010, when Sonnen dominated the first four rounds, only to see Silva win with an amazing fifth-round submission.
"He did what he did best," Silva said Saturday night. "The only difference is I wasn’t hurt this time."
Silva was getting the best of stand-up action in the second round when Sonnen tried a strange spinning backfist, missing and tumbling down on the seat of his shorts with his back to the cage.
"I feel like a doofus because I fell down," Sonnen said.
He felt something a lot worse, as Silva then did what he does best.
He buried a knee in Sonnen’s chest, and got the challenger back down to deliver a final series of right-handed punches that ended the fight by technical knockout.
Sonnen, with 12 career losses, expressed remorse that he couldn’t deliver a telling blow to Silva in the first round, and praised the man he had previously ripped as a "phony."
He said he wants to remain in the UFC but refuses to "blend in the background."
Silva, meanwhile, said he continues enjoying "being among the top athletes out here. I still find the motivation to compete."
Yet, to be feted as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time in one scene and wag your finger "no" to a tough fight in another … Silva can’t have it both ways.