The future of Chael Sonnen in the UFC has been in doubt since he was stopped in the first round against Jon Jones at UFC 159. Sonnen didn’t take long to put those retirement rumors to rest and even has an opponent in mind.
Sonnen wants Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen and Silva have had a beef on Twitter going back to when Sonnen was cutting promos on Brazilians in the UFC 117 build up. According to Sonnen, “I’m not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei straighten this thing out once and for all.”
“Wanderlei called me out before, but the fight never made sense. Now it does. I’m not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei straighten this thing out once and for all. Wanderlei pulled a dirt bag move on me one time. He said something to me that I couldn’t hear, and then put it on YouTube with subtitles because he knew I couldn’t understand it and called me out. If you’re a fighter, that doesn’t fly. You must respond to him, and I’m ready to respond to you Wanderlei.”
The other big question was whether Sonnen would stay at 205 or move back down to middleweight. I thought in the brief time Sonnen was in the octagon against Jones he looked great at 205. Sonnen has put the division on notice as he isn’t going anywhere.
“I will definitely continue, and at 205 pounds,” Sonnen told UFC Tonight co-host Kenny Florian. “Unless they come up with a catchweight…I have a lot of goals I want to achieve still, and retirement won’t help me get them done.”
As badly as Sonnen got beat at UFC 159 the twisted reality of the situation is that Sonnen was under a minute away from being winning the UFC light heavyweight title and shocking the world. Hypothetically if the fight went to the second round there are many that feel that the fight would have been stopped due to Jones’ toe and Sonnen would have been given the title.
“Diplomatically you don’t ever want to win that way. The ones that hurt are the ones you’re supposed to win and then you blow it. But if it was given to me, I would have grabbed that belt, I would have held it up, grabbed the mic and told the crowd the golden rule is ‘he with the gold rules,’ and I would have walked out of the place and never looked back”
I can’t say that I am not surprised in the least that Sonnen is sticking around. Sonnen is in the midst of his prime earning years as a UFC fighter. Since UFC 117, Sonnen has now cashed in on three big pay days if early estimates on UFC 159 buyrates are correct. Sonnen was stopped in round one but I never got the feeling that Sonnen was too old or shot as a fighter.
Even then I don’t know if I’ll necessarily ever believe he is truly done.