Chael Sonnen may have lost Saturday night at UFC 159, but he is far from a beaten man.
The recent light heavyweight title challenger was dominated by reigning champion Jon Jones in their April 27 headliner, falling in a first-round technical knockout at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Though speculation surfaced following the bout that Sonnen might hang up his gloves for good, the 36-year-old recently silenced those rumors during his Tuesday appearance on “UFC Tonight” on Fuel TV.
“I’ll fight at 205 [pounds]. I’m not retiring,” Sonnen said. “I have a lot of goals, and I’m not going to reach them if I retire.”
Sonnen found himself on the defensive from the opening moments of his clash with Jones, as the champion closed the distance and worked from the clinch while mixing in takedown attempts.
“This was like getting into a bear cage. This guy was a monster of a man,” said Sonnen. “We weighed in at the same size the day before, and I don’t know how that was possible. As far as the match went, I got beat up.”
Jones put Sonnen on his back three times in the opening stanza and managed to hold him there near the end of the round, when “Bones” unloaded with a barrage of punches and elbows that forced referee Keith Peterson to halt the contest.
“I was going to have to grind him down. I could see he poses a lot of problems. He’s big, he’s strong, and he’s got the wing span of a radioactive condor,” said Sonnen. “I knew he’d take me down, but I never thought that he could take me down repeatedly. That was a surprise. And the fact that he tried so quickly, I was thrown off a little.”
Unbeknown to Jones in the midst of record-tying fifth consecutive title defense, he had actually suffered an open fracture dislocation to his left big toe during the bout. Should Sonnen have survived that first-round onslaught, the championship likely would have changed hands due to Jones’ injury, resulting in a technical knockout win for Sonnen.
“Diplomatically, you don’t ever want to win that way,” said Sonnen. “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, 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 that place and never looked back.”
With the Jones defeat now behind him, Sonnen has his sights set on another veteran in former Pride Fighting Championships titlist Wanderlei Silva.
“Wanderlei called me out before, but the fight never made sense. Now it does,” said Sonnen. “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.”