Since Chael Sonnen's disastrous spinning backfist led to his second loss to the master of middleweight, Anderson Silva, speculation has run rampant regarding the future of The American Gangster. Rumors have consisted of everything from a fight with Wanderlei Silva to a possible retirement from the sport. Earlier in the week, I wrote a piece suggesting a move to light heavyweight was just what Sonnen needed. His comments from an interview with Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight would indicate that the pride of West Linn, Oregon feels the same way.
In an extremely candid interview, Chael speaks about his loss to Anderson Silva, the questionable tactics used by the champion in the fight, and his future in the sport. Hear what Chael had to say after the jump.When asked what went wrong in the fight against Anderson, Chael had the following to say:
A lot of times you need to make sure you compliment your opponent and say "Well, a lot of it is what he did right". I had fallen down at one point, and he capitalized. Good for him.
Chael was also asked by Helwani about Anderson's shorts grabbing, and the impact it had on the fight.
You know, I don't think it did very much at all. That was a new experience, I've never had it happen in practice so it was a new feel trying to get away with a guy down on your shorts but I don't resent him for any of that stuff. As a matter of fact, I admire it in him. Because I would do the same thing, I would do the exact same thing if I thought about it.
When asked if he would appeal if the knee if the knee from Silva was indeed illegal Sonnen had a simple answer.
I would never appeal a loss. The referee's decision is final. Those are the rules I agreed to prior to the event.
Chael would also go into his take on handling defeat after the humbling loss.
We all follow the same rules. And we agree to them ahead of time. It is very hard for athletes to be good losers. You can't expect people to rejoice and cheer for you in victory if you don't know how to handle defeat. And its hard, but you've got to man up, its protocol, and its good for the sport. You shake hands, you take it on the chin, and you walk out.
When asked about his future in the UFC, Chael had this to say.
I really just need to take a little bit of time, not a lot of time, but give me a couple of weeks to settle in, and you know, when you get stuck in the sport that I'm in, and again, Anderson Silva could announce his retirement any day now, but there is also a major opportunity for a fresh start by simply switching weight classes, and that's something very common historically that guys have done. You know, my mentors Randy Couture, Dan Henderson have done that, and that's something to look at as well.
When asked by Ariel which direction the move in weight might be Chael's intentions became more clear.
Up. 205. Jon Jones.
For context, Ariel asked Sonnen if he wanted Jones to be his next fight, to which Chael responded:
Give me a couple of weeks. I'm not trying to make any claim or put myself in any corner. There are some great guys at 185. That's not what its about, but traditionally and historically that's [changing weight classes] a very good way to get a fresh start and rejuvenate your career.
This was a really good interview that you can find in its entirety at UFC.com under the UFC Tonight section. Give it a listen, because there were more gems in there that I didn't include here. You really see a refreshingly honest interview, and Sonnen has really earned my respect with the way he has handled this soul crushing defeat like a true professional. A lot of fighters could take a lesson from him.
While it doesn't sound like Chael is clamoring for Jones at the current time, he does sound like he is setting his sights on the 205 pound destroyer at some point down the road. Sonnen has previous light heavyweight experience, but none since 2005, when he lost his UFC debut to Babalu Sobral via triangle choke.
Chael saved his career by moving down to middleweight once, can he now resurrect it by returning to his original weight at 205? If he does make the move up, a good first fight could be an opportunity for Chael to avenge an early in his career loss to former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. In a couple of weeks, Chael will clue us all in to his future plans. No matter what he decides, I'm sure we will indeed be entertained.