Chael Sonnen Stares Retirement in the Eye and Says No Thanks, Wants to Fight Wanderlei Silva

May 1, 2013
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Chael Sonnen at UFC 148Although his UFC 159 post-fight comments lead to heavy speculation that he might hang up his gloves, Chael Sonnen looked retirement in the eye, but he didn’t waiver.

“I’m not gonna be one of these guys that hangs around if there isn’t a road to the title,” he said after losing to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 159. “I think that was probably my last opportunity.”

Sonnen on Tuesday night’s edition of UFC Tonight, however, revealed his plans for the immediate future, and they don’t include retirement. Instead, Sonnen said he wants to continue fighting and intends to remain in the 205-pound division.

Jones made quick work of Sonnen on Saturday night in Newark, N.J., but Sonnen is willing to go to the back of the line and try again.

“I’ll fight at 205. I’m not retiring,” he declared. “I’m 36 years old. I have a lot of goals and I’m not going to reach them if I retire.

“I don’t have a lot of options at 185. I’ve fought everyone in the top 10, including the champion a couple of times. So I moved up to 205, but I lost to the champ and it wasn’t a competitive enough match to warrant another chance.”

So how does that make sense?

It doesn’t. But in the world of a professional athlete who feels like he still has something to offer, it’s difficult to stop before he’s reached his goal… even if the hope before him is just a flicker.

“So what do I do? It was a lot better experience, not having to get the weight off. I’ll give up the size, but have a smile on my face,” Sonnen continued. “I could be talked into going back down if that’s where the fights are. The landscape changes quickly. I think there will be a big shakeup on July 4th weekend when (Chris) Weidman gets his hands on Anderson (Silva).”

That’s irrelevant to Sonnen’s current plans, however, as he intends to fight at light heavyweight. Silva losing to Weidman would, of course, open up a possible return. But even if Weidman were to pull of the upset, Silva would likely get an immediate rematch, which would take some time to play out.

Sonnen instead is focused on 205, and already has his next target in mind.

He mentioned Wanderlei Silva at the UFC 159 post-fight press conference, but on Tuesday night he zeroed in.

“Wanderlei called me out before, but the fight never made sense.  Now it does,” he stated. “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.”

That didn’t sit well with Sonnen, and he’s now ready to forgo retirement to settle the score.

“If you’re a fighter, that doesn’t fly. You must respond to him, and I’m ready to respond to you Wanderlei.”

(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)

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  • OneFansOpinion

    Eh! Really, we could all understand when Wand told you to watch your mouth or you’d get your teeth knocked out. We’d have all loved to see a street fight right there, but to challenge hime to a “I bet I can smother this non-wrestle for 15” match is lame. Fight him with K1 rules or propose a more interesting fight. No one wants this one!

    • Collideoverme

      Not so sure about that…I know a few people that might find that fight pretty exciting. But to each his own. These two guys are my favorite fighters. I’m down.

    • You could understand him in that interview? He sounded like a drunk bum f****** his words up.


    The fight was not in San Jose. It was in New Jersey.

  • Ooowillow

    Be careful what u wish for….

  • T C

    In San Jose?? lol

  • Rhandee Bueno

    Another shot for making money…tsk..tsk..tsk.

    • Sir_Roy

      And really now, what is wrong with making money again? Telling me you wouldn’t opt to step into the Octagon again for a guaranteed six digit payday?

      • Collideoverme

        Very well said, Sir Roy

      • Raka

        F*** yea…. i’d do it… and do a Bob Tapp!

  • Sonnen u silly, silly man…. If u were in a right state of mind you would’ve gone with ur first thought and retired. The axe murderer is going to “DESTROY” you…… Have fun in the hospital.

    • Jay

      You really know nothing about mma hey?

      • urdooomb

        Simon lives in the PRIDE era.

        • Gesias

          I wish we all did

    • Sir_Roy

      Nah … he’s going to lay on his back for Sonnen, his legs locked tightly around him, and eat fun little pillow punches for 15 minutes.

  • ran

    I have nothing against either fighter… but I think this is a terrible match up for Wanderlei. He needs someone to stand and bang in tight spaces for a chance. Chael will just take him down if hes not getting the better of the exchanges.

  • Kris-tyahn

    If anyone really thinks Wanderlei is going to beat Sonnen you are sadly mistaken. Wanderlei would get killed vs Silva and Sonnen beat him 6 of 7 rounds. If Sonnen can do that to Anderson, then he’s not going to have any trouble pounding Wanderlei. I like Wanderlei, who doesn’t?! But he would get his face smashed, he’s not as good on the ground as Anderson, he doesn’t have the defense of Anderson, therefore Sonnens GnP would be much more affective vs Wanderlei, than it was vs. Anderson. Who’s a better fighter, who’s stronger, who’s a better striker and who has better takedown defense ….. Wanderlei or Silva?! Not sure Sonne. Would finish Wanderlei from severe GnP, but Wanderleis face would get messed up!!!

    • Chuteboxe

      Andersons bjj better than wanderleis? Tell me how? In 16 years Wanderlei has never been submitted! And now please explain how Wanderlei would get smashed?

      • rory

        i like wanderlei, he is a better striker than sonnen but think chael will take him down and control him, silva isnt known for his bjj and although he hasnt been submitted he’s never faced an bjj experts( exception of belfort who won on tko ) wanderlei silva has only submitted one person via rear naked choke in 2000. he has always been matched with similar style fighters as its the most entertaining match up, i think andersons bjj is better than wanderleis . i like wanderlei i like to watch him he seems a nice guy but his bjj isnt his strong point, she is a striker/brawler with very good muay thai, knees and clich and very good ground and pound. i like chael also, not as exciting to watch as wanderlei but i think chael will out

        wrestle him and control him on the ground.

        • urdooomb

          I think you are overestimating Chael’s wrestling at 205. His wrestling is good at 185, but not at LHW because of his size.

          I think this is what makes the fight interesting, plus Wanderlei KOed Stann at 205, although lost to Leben at 185.

          • ned sto

            Wanderlei fights at 185 just like Chael does, so his wrestling effectiveness should not be diminished like it was against Jones, or anyone else that can barely make 205.

        • rick

          Never faced bjj experts???? What about Ricardo Arona (2 times)?

      • Lucas Freire

        Well,tell me one wrestler he fought since Arona. Only Henderson,who prefers to stand and trade and knocked him out. Like everyone else said,there’s no way to dislike Wand,but it’s been 8 years that he comes from up and downs against fighters that favor his style of fighting. What it means? As most Pride legends,he’s long past his prime,going against a top wrestler like Sonnen will only result in him taking a pounding.

    • gnodeb

      When was the last time Sonnen pounded anybody? He is laying on people… huge difference. He spent 6 rounds on AS but only 10 seconds below him.
      Yes, Sonnen is slight favorite against WS. He is bigger and better wrestler and he plans to lay on WS. Nice game plan for decision victory. But we are talking about WS. He is going to be very pumped to KO Sonnen. Put this fight in Brazil and Sonnen would be in a land of trouble :).

  • Rob

    I was hoping he would either retire or go back to 185 and fight Vitor.

    Would have been beneficial to have a fight like this before fighting the champ but I suppose in Chael’s mind if it doesn’t make dollars t doesn’t make sense and he just had a huge payday. I think Chael can generate some interest for this and Wanderiei will play along with the hype.

  • Phael Sonnen

    At least Wanderlei will not have to worry about getting knocked out with Chael’s pillow punches. He will have to worry about getting dry humped for 3 rounds though. Hopefully Wanderlei can knock this clown out.

    • urdooomb

      That is what I was gonna say. Wanderlei is, sadly, punch drunk. But Sonnen doesnt have the power to knock Wanderlei out. And at 205lbs, I don’t know if Sonnen’s man handling abilities will be anything special.

      Why didn’t Sonnen call out Lyoto Machida?

      • Sir_Roy

        “Kock” Wanderlei out? Sounds kinky.

  • muay thai

    ufc 159 was not held in san jose like the article said. just wanted to correct that =]

  • james j

    Nobody cares about this fight. Chael is just trying to create some sort of that really doesn’t exist. Just for another payday.

  • There are still interesting fights for Sonnen at MW. Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy, Chris Weidman. Yes those guys are booked for fights but a fight against Chael is great on the resume. It shows you can deal with a high level wrestler who pushes the pace. I hope Chael at least fights once more to see how he performs out there and then if he losses considers retirement. You have to have a lot of respect for guys who keep fighting even if they loss. Phil Baroni is a great example of a guy who has never quit, keeps training, keeps fighting.

    • MuayThaiFood

      Correction, Phil Baroni is a great example of a loser. His losses are greater than his wins soooooo, I’m not being mean I’m telling it like it is. Nick Nolte beat him for Christ’s sake and I didn’t see the fight but I think it was the actor!

  • And he still think he earned the right to ask for specific fights? Lets see what his pal Dana have to say.

  • kbroesq

    Yeah, it’s an interesting match, but I think Sonnen would win that fight. Although it doesn’t make sense because of the current landscape, I REALLY want to see Sonnen vs. Belfort. THAT would be an awesome fight, and THAT fight would sell. Maybe Sonnen could win a fight, and then take on Belfort in Brazil.

    I think Sonnen can still have a career; he just needs to drop his “if-I’m-not-competing-for-the-belt,-then-what-am-I in-this-for” attitude. He can still engage in some awesome fights and make a ton of money doing it.

  • Milos Rackovic

    “Cuz we never know about the future,u know”

  • Tristan

    I’m cool with this fight. I think it will be good. Let’s not forget that Sonnen lost 3 fights in row BUT to 2 of the best fighters in MMA history. He handled Silva better than anyone in recent years despite the losses. Jon Jones… well let’s just forget about that lol… Nobody else is beating Jones or Silva right now so we can’t fault Sonnen for not beating them. I think this is good considering both Sonnen and Silva bounce between 185 and 205 and for anyone who says Sonnen is too small for 205… He walks around slightly taller than Wanderlei Silva at the same weight and has the same reach. This fight can go either way and has a good chance of being a fight of the night slug-fest. If Sonnen wins this, I say Belfort is his next fight…

    • ned sto

      I don’t think Chael can take the punishment long enough to qualify for fight of the night in a slug fest.

  • Jew Jitsu

    hell yea, after the jones fight i was thinking he may retire but im glad he didnt, he is one of my favorite fighters of all time not just because he can talk, dude brings it every time he comes to fight.

  • ned sto

    So Sonnen has decided to pick a fight with a guy that he claims called him out earlier. A ‘defend my honor’ type of thing. If it was a legitimate slight, Chael would have already responded to it regardless of his ( at the time ) upcoming title fight. Chael would have notified W. Silva, and us all, that after X fight, he was going to fight W. Silva at X weight to defend himself against whatever perceived insult.
    I don’t give Chael much credit here. It’s a bad style match up for Wanderlei. I’d almost say Chael picked a fight he thinks he can win. As he certainly needs his next fight to be a win. Winning this fight will give him mixed results, as many will say he beat an aging, punch drunk Wanderlei. But it will earn him a paycheck I doubt he needs.

  • Guest

    I’d rather see Sonnen and Franklin

  • Id rather see Sonnen and Franklin

  • Adam Bianski

    If you think Wandy can beat Sonnen you are about as punch drunk as him.

  • Darin

    So….Chael is going to be one of those guys that hangs around without a clear road to the title? Of course Silva called him out, Chael was talking all kinds of crap about Brazil.

  • Guile Street Fighter

    Wanderleis a has been. What a joke. Have Sonnon fight some new blood. Some up and comers.

    • Arjun

      Ermm… Wanderlei is a has-been? What does that make Sonnen? Oh… i think the term is “Never-Was”!!