Following a loss to Anderson Silva in July at UFC 148, rumors began to circulate that Sonnen was considering a move back to 205 pounds. The Oregon native has fought at light heavyweight several times in his career, and there appeared to be a few options available to him if he returned there for his next bout in the Octagon.
It looks like he found a prize worth pursuing.
Sonnen co-hosted UFC Tonight on Tuesday evening and announced that he would be returning to 205 pounds to face former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin in December.
“I’ve watched him win the world championship. I’ve watched him etch his name in stone as a guaranteed future Hall of Famer. You and I and the whole world together watched him be a large part of creating and changing the industry that we have today. He’s one guy Jon Jones hasn’t fought, he’s beat two world champions in his last three outings, and on Dec. 29, I will be taking on Forrest Griffin,” Sonnen stated.
The bout between Sonnen and Griffin is actually a rematch of a fight the two had back in 2003 during the famous IFC Global Domination tournament in Denver. Griffin submitted Sonnen with a triangle choke in the one-night tournament, which Renato “Babalu” Sobral eventually won after putting in over 43 minutes in the cage.
The former middleweight title contender has never been short on words when it came to any fight or potential match-up, and it’s no different as Sonnen returns to 205.
His sights now appear aimed directly at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but first he’s paying respect by going through a former titleholder to earn his way.
“Well, it’s not a matter of Forrest Griffin. I get very frustrated that Forrest’s name is left out of the conversation. This is a guy who has beat everybody. He’s never even been in talks to fight Jon Jones. He’s coming off a fight with Tito Ortiz, one of the most decorated light heavyweights of all time and a Hall of Famer. They go out, have a Fight of the Night, an awesome performance, and still he gets overlooked,” said Sonnen.
“Sure I could go up to 205 and I could take Jon Jones’ belt away, the same as I could take his candy on Halloween. He’s a little punk kid. I could snatch it away all I want, but there’s something to be said in sportsmanship for earning your shot, and on the 29th of December, I’m going to go through Forrest to do it.”
Sonnen will look to rectify his original loss to Griffin from 2003, and then, should he get past Griffin, he will look forward to moving up the ranks at light heavyweight.
Sonnen vs. Griffin is the second confirmed fight for the upcoming UFC pay-per-view in December, tentatively scheduled as UFC 155, along with the heavyweight title rematch between champion Junior dos Santos and challenger Cain Velasquez.