Just a few weeks after letting the world know his UFC deal had expired, Chael Sonnen has a new contract. And a new training base. And perhaps a return to his former weight class.
The two-time middleweight title challenger and recent light heavyweight title challenger on Tuesday revealed via his co-hosting chair on “UFC Tonight” on FUEL TV that he has signed a new five-fight deal with the promotion.
Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC) returns to action next month when he headlines UFC Fight Night 26 (formerly UFC on FOX Sports 1 1) against Mauricio Rua at TD Garden in Boston.
Earlier this month at a fan Q&A session at the UFC Fan Expo, part of UFC 162 in Las Vegas, Sonnen said his deal was up.
“My contract with the UFC has expired,” Sonnen said at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. “So I went to Dana White, and I went to him with a list of my demands because he’s getting my contract together. He thought this was a gag, but I was being serious because it’s not all about money with me.”
But Sonnen, known for a certain level of playfulness in his interviews that often causes eyebrows to be raised wondering about his comments’ legitimacy, left the crowd wondering if he really did need to sign a new deal – or if he was just in character.
Part of the demands he told the Fan Expo crowd was part of his conversation with White included the keys to White’s “least favorite Ferrari. … See, I’m not all about money, people. There’s more to these contracts. They’re very sophisticated.”
But apparently the contract situation was legit – and so, too, is Sonnen’s preparation for Rua. He also revealed on Tuesday night that he has moved his training camp to California, where he’ll be training at Reign MMA under head coach Mark Munoz. After his fight against “Shogun” in Boston, Sonnen said on “UFC Tonight” he plans to return to middleweight.
Sonnen in April at UFC 159 was stopped in the first round by Jon Jones in a light heavyweight title fight that came on the heels of the two coaching opposite each other on Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX. It was the second straight title fight for Sonnen, who at UFC 148 in July 2012 lost his rematch to middleweight champ Anderson Silva in Las Vegas.
For the latest on UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Chael Sonnen)