If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.
That's Chael Sonnen's mindset, revealing to ESPN that even though he was finished in both of his previous fights against former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Anderson Silva, he wants nothing more than to get a third fight against the Brazilian striker.
Silva and Sonnen initially went toe-to-toe three years ago at UFC 117. "American Gangster" was on the brink of dethroning the longtime 185-pound kingpin until "The Spider" managed to trap Sonnen in an air-tight triangle, forcing the tap in the fifth and final round.
Two years later at UFC 148, Sonnen received his much-desired rematch, but came up short once again, falling victim to Silva's ground-and-pound in round two after an ill-advised spinning backfist fail.
Regardless of those outcomes, Sonnen doesn't believe Silva is better than him and wants another chance to prove it:
"I want to fight Anderson Silva. It was never about titles, it was never about the title with Jon Jones; Jon just happened to have the title. I wanted to punch Jon in the face; I wanted to beat him up. I heard all his talk of who deserved it [the title shot]; I didn't even care about all that crap. If you want to fight a guy, go fight him. And if there's a belt on the line, that's just a byproduct. I want to fight Anderson Silva more than I want to wake up tomorrow morning. I don't care if he has got the belt or not. I don't accept the outcome of either of [our] fights; I don't acknowledge that for one day he was the better fighter than me."
Much has changed since their first two bouts.
Silva lost his strap to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 last month, ending his dominant reign atop the Middleweight mountain, while Sonnen moved up a weight class to compete in the Light Heavyweight division, coming up short to 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones at UFC 159 last April.
However, Sonnen now plans to drop back down to the 185-pound division after his fight against Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 26, which goes down this weekend (Aug. 17, 2013) from TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Silva, meanwhile, will get his rematch against Weidman at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada. And whether or not "The Spider" gets revenge on "All American," Sonnen still wants a third and final fight against his arch-nemesis.
Because at the end of the day, for the gangster from West Linn, Ore., it was never about fighting for titles.