NEWARK, N.J. – With his third attempt at winning a UFC title his yet, Chael Sonnen hinted in the octagon with announcer Joe Rogan he might be done fighting.
But pressed for some clarification after the main event at UFC 159, which took place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Sonnen said he hadn’t yet decided what path he’ll take.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) stopped Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC) with a TKO deep in the first round, and he then discovered after the fight that he broken his left big toe.
“I’m definitely not (prepared to make up my mind yet),” Sonnen told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) at the post-event news confernece. “What am I going to do? I’m terrible. I lost to (Jones and middleweight champion Anderson Silva). What are they going to do? Put me in with Wanderlei Silva? Who else am I supposed to beat around here? I’ve had a lot of fights and they haven’t all gone my way. But I’ve only been beat up twice, and that was No. 2. And he beat me at my own game. It’s frustrating. It’s tough, and that’s it.”
Sonnen twice had Anderson Silva in trouble in 185-pound title fights, but twice Silva prevailed at UFC 117 and UFC 148. This past August, when Dan Henderson had to pull out of a title fight with Jones, Sonnen tried to step up. But Jones turned down the fight and UFC 151 was canceled.
In the wake of that historic moment, the UFC paired Sonnen and Jones against each other as coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter,” then set up the title fight that nearly took place more than eight months earlier.
The consensus was that Sonnen’s path to success against Jones would be to take him down, the way he was able to do against Silva in their first fight. Instead, Jones came forward immediately and had Sonnen on the canvas just 10 seconds into the fight.
That Jones was able to use Sonnen’s best-laid plans to win frustrated Sonnen all the more.
“I had to watch the replay,” he told MMAjunkie.com. “He was in on my leg before he knew it. I don’t know how he set it up, if he threw a punch. I don’t know what happened. He was just on my leg. I’ve been in that spot my whole life. I got up and he hit it again, and I got up and he hit it again. I’ve only been taken down three times in my career. He took me down three times in one round.”
Sonnen said had the fight gone longer – he was stopped with just 27 seconds left in the first round – things may have turned out differently.
“It’s tough – I wanted more, and I wanted to feel more of him,” Sonnen said. “I was impressed with him from the start, and I wanted more. That’s what happens with anybody. You just wish you had a few more moments.”
As he largely was in the days leading up to the fight, Sonnen eschewed his trash talk for compliments lobbed Jones’ way.
And as for whether or not Jones truly is better than Silva, which Sonnen expected him to be prior the fight, that question was answered, as far as Sonnen is concerned.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was,” Sonnen said. “To beat a guy at his own game … he’s the best fighter I ever fought.”
With the win, Jones tied the UFC record for most consecutive light heavyweight title defenses.
As for Sonnen, who also serves as a co-host on FUEL TV’s “UFC Tonight” program and as a regular analyst for the UFC on FOX shows, time will tell if he decides to continue fighting at either light heavyweight or middleweight, or he’ll resign himself to the broadcast booth.
For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.