Former UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has been out of action for the better part of the last two years due to a suspension, but now his suspension has ended, and there’s a good chance that the “American Gangster” will step inside the Octagon at some point in the near-future.
Last week, Sonnen appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour, and he discussed the possibility of him returning to mixed-martial-arts. He said that no one from the UFC has reached out to him about a return, nor does he have license to fight. So, at this point, he can’t return to the sport, even if he wanted to.
Sonnen also said that he recently entered the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s testing pool, adding that if he can pass his first test, he’ll strongly consider resuming his MMA career.
“My suspension is up, so in theory I should be able to get a license. But then you have the [USADA] testing pool, and it’s a matter of am I even eligible for that? I jumped into the pool, which is a four-month process, and I’ve done two tests but I don’t have the results back.
“I’m going to give [a UFC return] a good look if I can pass the USADA test. But I’m not committed to it.”
Sonnen also added that, if he were to come back, he wants to do it at the right weight class. Sonnen last fought in the UFC at light heavyweight, where he had a 1-2 record, with his two losses coming by way of knockout in the very first round. He hinted that he would return to the UFC at middleweight, which is where he had the majority of his success.
On Thursday, Sonnen was asked if he had received back the results from his first USADA test, and he revealed his test was “basically clean,” which was his way of saying that he passed.
Several weeks ago, Sonnen called out several fighters, including his longtime rival, Anderson Silva, saying that “it would be hard to not go in there and whip Anderson for a third time.” Of course, Sonnen lost both of his fights with Silva, but he did have a great deal of success against him in both fights, as he was winning for the majority of both bouts prior to Silva capitalizing on his mistakes.
Sonnen also said that he would like to fight Wanderlei Silva, who is no longer with the UFC. That bout was supposed to happen back in 2014 prior to both men being suspended, and it looks like the fight won’t happen unless Sonnen is willing to fight outside of the UFC.
One of Sonnen’s sources of inspiration for a comeback is the fact that Michael Bisping, who Sonnen defeated back in January of 2012, is the current Middleweight Champion. Now, there’s a chance that Dan Henderson, who used to train with Sonnen, may end up as the UFC Middleweight Champion, as he’s set to challenge Bisping for the title at UFC 204. So the UFC’s middleweight division is wide open at the moment, which is good news for Sonnen if he ever returns to the Octagon.
Some have suggested that Sonnen will return to the UFC in October to be part of the card that’s taking place in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. But, Sonnen told Helwani that, while it’s his dream to fight in his hometown, he wouldn’t want to fight on that card because it’s not a pay-per-view card. He also said that he wouldn’t be able to return for that show even if he wanted to because of the four-month USADA window.
[Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP Images]