Last night, in the main event of Bellator 170, three-time UFC title challenger and beloved mouthpiece Chael Sonnen returned from a hiatus of more than three years to take on retiring UFC Hall-of-Famer Tito Ortiz. Unfortunately for Sonnen and his throngs of fans, this comeback fight was a bit of a flop, as he was submitted by his veteran foe just 2:03 into the fight’s first round.
In the wake of this loss, Sonnen spoke to Max Bretos of SportsCenter to discuss what went wrong, and where he plans to go from here.
“The fight was going ok,” Sonnen said of the bout’s early moments. “Tito threw a straight right down the middle early. I threw a kick, he countered, it connected pretty hard. All of the sudden, we end up in a grappling contest. I had a submission hold, I thought I had it, I could feel the excitement. I thought he was going to tap out, before I knew it, he reversed the position, all of the sudden I couldn’t breath, and that’s the end of the night.”
Despite this lopsided loss, Sonnen went on to assure that he’ll be back, saying this fight was a sorely needed opportunity to shake off some ring rust.
“I’ll tell you this one thing,” he said. “I had an amazing experience and opportunity, but for me this is a long-term play. This wasn’t an overnight plan. I was out three years, I retired, I put in a lot of hard work, but the reality is, I knew I had to get in there. I had to get some minutes in the ring, I had to make that walk, knock a little of that rust off. I’m going to be back in the gym on Monday. This is a marathon for me, it’s not a sprint.”
As for what’s next, Sonnen had this to say.
“I lost one position tonight. It hurts, it’s embarrassing to lose a contest like this, especially to a guy on his way out. You want to win those. You want him to pass the torch, and to stick around. But the bottom line is that I had to get in there, I had to get those minutes in, get those moments in.”
“It’s a hard experience, but that’s what I need.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/22/2017.