Chael Sonnen is now free to apply for a license to fight again after a lengthy suspension, and he was cage-side at UFC 132 last night getting a taste of the action again.
Dana White said earlier in the week that he hopes to have Sonnen fight again sooner rather than later, but while there had been talk of a fight between the former No.1 contender and Wanderlei Silva, ‘The Axe-Murderer’s’ KO loss to Chris Leben has put any talk of that bout becoming a reality in Sonnen’s mind.
“No, Wanderlei is going to need to do something else, I don’t have any interest in getting in there with him. I don’t want to be the next guy to force him to have a flashlight shined in his eyes.” was Sonnen’s assessment in an interview with Ariel Helwani after that fight’s conclusion.
So who is Sonnen interested in fighting next? The answer comes as something of a surprise.
“I don’t know what the future holds. There’s plenty of guys out there to fight. There’s a Karate guy at 205lbs. I might stop there on my way back to 185lbs for a tune-up fight and take out [Lyoto] Machida, but we’ll see, we’ll see where it goes.”
Sonnen certainly looked like he was carrying a fair amount of weight in the interview after having spent the best part of the last year on the sidelines with his steroid suspension and legal troubles taking up much of his time.
He has talked about the possibility of fighting at light-heavyweight in the past, so if the UFC does want to get him back in the cage as quickly as possible now, then a stopover in that division might be the best solution to make that a reality rather than waiting several months for him to cut back down to 185lbs.
It would certainly be interesting to see him pit his wits against Machida, but whether that’s a realistic prospect or not remains to be seen.
Watch Sonnen’s full interview courtesy of MMAfighting below.