Sonnen announced the fight as a guest on “UFC Tonight” on Tuesday. The “American Gangster” is coming off a loss to UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148 last month, while Griffin bested Tito Ortiz for the second time on the same card.
“I’ve watched him win the world championship,” Sonnen said. “I’ve watched him etch his name in stone as a guaranteed future Hall of Famer. You and I and the whole world together watched him be a large part of creating and changing the industry that we have today. He’s one guy Jon Jones hasn’t fought. He’s beat two world champions in his last three outings, and on December 29th, I will be taking on Forrest Griffin.”
While Griffin is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Sonnen has never held a belt in the promotion. But to his credit, Sonnen gave Anderson Silva far more trouble in two bouts at 185 lbs. than Griffin did when he suffered a devastating KO defeat to Silva at UFC 101 in 2009. Still, Sonnen is showing Griffin respect.
“I get very frustrated that Forrest’s name is left out of the conversation. This is a guy whose beat everybody. He’s never even been in talks to fight Jon Jones. He’s coming off a fight with Tito Ortiz, one of the most decorated light heavyweights of all time and a Hall of Famer. They go out, have a ‘Fight of the Night,’ an awesome performance, and still he gets overlooked.”
Sonnen and Griffin met once before at IFC: Global Domination in 2003. That night, Griffin got the best of Sonnen, winning via submission with, of all things, a triangle choke.
But both men have advanced their careers significantly in the nine years since, and after two losses to Silva, Sonnen is looking to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion by beating Griffin and hopefully getting a shot at UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Not surprisingly, Sonnen wasn’t shy in discussing Jones.
“Sure I could go up to 205 and I could take Jon Jones’ belt away the same as I could take his candy on Halloween,” Sonnen said. “He’s a little punk kid; I could snatch it away all I want. But there’s something to be said in sportsmanship for earning your shot, and on the 29th of December, I’m going to go through Forrest to do it.”
When asked about Jones’ recent deal with Nike, Sonnen added that the sports apparel company “has a history of signing dorks.”
The lingering questions are: Can Sonnen be as competitive at 205 lbs. as he has been at 185 lbs.? Will he ever win a world championship in the UFC?Chael Sonnen, featured, Forrest Griffin, MMA NEWS, ufc, UFC 155, ufc news