Thierry Sokoudjou won’t be out of the loop for long.
Though the Cameroon fighter was one of the latest casualties
dropped from the UFC’s lengthy roster in the last three weeks,
Sokoudjou has already accepted a bout against Renato “Babalu”
Sobral at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Jan. 24 at the Honda
Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The 2001 US Open Judo Championships winner will face Sobral in a
light heavyweight contest under a single-fight contract he agreed
to this week, confirmed a Team Quest representative. The addition
of Sokoudjou fills a key slot left vacant when Matt
Lindland was re-assigned from a 195-pound catch weight bout
with Sobral to a middleweight matchup against former UFC champion
Sokoudjou was also courted by K-1, which offered him an MMA-rules
bout against kickboxing champion Semmy Schilt
at “Premium Dynamite 2008” on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, Japan,
according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Interest was
also said to have come from World Victory Road’s Sengoku outlet,
which will host its next event on Jan. 4 at the Saitama Super
Arena, but specifics were not available.
A standout of Dan
Henderson’s Team Quest gym in Murrieta, Calif., Sokoudjou (5-3)
will use the promotional move as an opportunity to stabilize a
career that launched in overdrive, but has fizzled in the last few
An unknown in February 2007 at Pride 33 “The Second Coming” in Las
Vegas, the 1500-1 underdog knocked out then Olympic boxing hopeful
Rogerio Nogueira in 23 seconds flat. The muscular, dreadlocked
fighter topped that performance less than two months later at Pride
34 “Kamikaze,” sending Brazilian Top Team’s Ricardo
Arona to the canvas in 119 seconds in the last event held under
Dream Stage Entertainment’s banner.
Following Zuffa’s purchase of Pride in March 2007, the athletic 24
year old signed a four-fight contract with the UFC, but struggled
in the Octagon. Sokoudjou amassed a 1-2 record, dropping losses to
the undefeated Lyoto
Machida and Luis Arthur
Cane, who stopped “the African Assassin” on punches late in the
second round at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England, last October.
Sobral (31-7) was crowned the Strikeforce light heavyweight
champion on Nov. 22 in San Jose, Calif., after he sliced open
Southworth with a standing elbow that led to a doctor’s
stoppage after round one.
This article has been revised for the following
Correction: Dec. 11, 2008 (10:22 p.m. EST)
This item initally reported that Sobral-Sokoudjou had been signed,
though the bout has only been verbally agreed to at this time.