Shortly after his TKO loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 167 Saturday night, Chael Sonnen announced that he will be moving back down to the middleweight division.
Sonnen last fought at 185 pounds against former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148 last July. The 36-year-old has gone 1-2 in his last three fights at light heavyweight; he made his return to 205 pounds against champion Jon Jones at UFC 159 in April, losing the match by TKO in the first round. At UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen in August, he defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by submission (guillotine choke) in the first round. The bout earned Submission of the Night.
During the UFC Post Fight show on Fox Sports, Chael Sonnen conceded that Rashad Evans was a tough opponent.
“I had one problem tonight and that is I fought someone who’s a better fighter than I am,” Sonnen said. “I thought there was spots I could beat him. I came up short in my last three fights in that exact same position. I gotta work on that.”
Before the fight, Evans said Sonnen had too many distractions — including switching fight camps — that could take away from his focus.
“He will have to be one seriously talented individual to go in there and juggle all those things on his plate and still come out and really fight the way he wants to fight,” Evans said.
Chael Sonnen last fought at light heavyweight in his UFC debut at UFC 55 in October 2005, and had been fighting at middleweight since April 2006. With the recent announcement that Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will be coaching the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, it is unclear what weight class the scheduled matchup will take place at.
“I’ve always struggled at 205 to get used to the weight. I can do better than that, but I’m going to have to go back to 185,” Sonnen said. “That’s where I can do my best work; I can scramble and not get held in these positions.”