The two rivals will finally lock horns on Saturday in a light heavyweight tilt at the Bellator 180 pay-per-view, which marks the promotion's debut event at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City.
As expected, things were tense at the pre-fight press conference. 'The Axe Murderer' shoved Sonnen during the face-off and security intervened to stop 'The American Gangster' from retaliating.
Sonnen, a former three-time UFC title challenger, says he should have seen it coming.
"I fall for it every time," Sonnen told Ariel Helwani just moments after the press conference. "I let that guy get within arms reach, and my Father taught me as a kid: 'You don't have to let the guy throw the first punch. When a guy has a problem with you, when he gets within arms reach the fight has begun.' Every single time, I let him do it and every single time, he touches me. In this instance, I'm not gonna play that up - he pushed me, it was light. Whatever. But I still fall for it every time."
Sonnen, who tried to tell Silva not to invade his personal space, recalled the time when he fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 117. According to Sonnen, Silva tried to get the fight canceled by causing a scene at the staredown, and the last thing he wants is for the New York Athletic Commission to cancel his fight against Wanderlei.
"I remember when I was getting ready to fight Anderson Silva, he didn't want to fight me," Sonnen said. "He tried to get a fight at the weigh-ins so that I would attack him and we wouldn't have to do the fight on Saturday. I was very poor at that time and I really needed that fight to happen, and I did nothing back."
Things could also kick off at the ceremonial weigh-ins, which are expected to take place later today, at 6 p.m ET.
Provided the fight doesn't get canceled, Sonnen and Silva are set to square off in a headlining bout at Bellator 180 on Saturday, June 24, at Madison Square Garden in New York.