Chael Sonnen Rejects Retirement, Eyes Wanderlei Silva
The UFC will have Chael Sonnen in the Octagon for a little longer.
The 36-year-old Sonnen (27-13-1), who has been asked repeatedly in recent days about his future in the sport, said Tuesday on UFC Tonight that he will not retire in the wake of his UFC 159 loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and intends to continue in the 205-pound division or compete at a catchweight.
"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."
Sonnen said he chose to remain at light heavyweight for the time being in part because it presented an easier weight cut than middleweight, though he could be "talked into" a return to 185 pounds under the right circumstances.
Sonnen dropped the names of Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva as potential opponents. In particular, he seemed to favor Silva, saying the matchup with his longtime Twitter foil makes "a little bit more sense" now than it did when Sonnen was regularly fighting for titles. Sonnen added, "I'm not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei straighten this thing out once and for all."
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Sonnen also discussed his loss to Jones, saying his goal was to wear Jones down—a strategy he acknowledged never gained traction because of the first-round stoppage.
"I was going to have to grind Jon down," Sonnen said. "Let's concede that we're going to get beat up a little...let's wait a little and let's beat him up in the later rounds."
Speaking of the stoppage, Sonnen expressed "a tiny bit of confusion" over the stoppage because of the fact that he was, he said, defending himself by raising his hands to his face in the fight's final seconds. The stoppage became the subject of extra scrutiny thanks to a horrific toe injury Jones suffered during the fight-ending sequence, which in all likelihood would have prevented Jones from answering the second-round bell, thereby handing Sonnen the light heavyweight title.
Sonnen's trademark humor came through as he discussed the situation.
"Diplomatically, you don't ever want to win that way," Sonnen said. "[But] the reality is I would've grabbed that belt...and I would've walked out to the boos and would've never looked back."
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