Despite what many seem to believe, Chael Sonnen's mixed martial arts (MMA) career is not over quite yet.
Sonnen (27-13-1) was handily defeated in the first round by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones last Saturday (April 27, 2013) at UFC 159, dropping his record to 0-3 in UFC championship bouts and leaving his future very much in the air.
At the post-fight press conference (watch it here), Sonnen was non-committal when it came to his future, saying he has no interest in sticking around unless there is a clear path to winning a world title.
At 36 years of age and coming off a (technical) knockout loss, Sonnen's path to a UFC championship, especially at light heavyweight, is a more difficult road than most.
He is aware of that that, but that doesn't mean the end of Sonnen's career is near; he has plenty of goal left before leaving the sport, and retirement won't help him accomplish them.
"I will definitely continue [fighting]," Sonnen said on Tuesday's (April 30, 2013) edition of "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV. "And at 205 pounds unless they come up with a catchweight. They have a couple of guys who do that, I know Rich Franklin has fought at catchweight a bunch, but it's very rare that you do that. But, I'm not going to be in contendership anytime soon, and neither will Rich Franklin and a pool of other guys, so there is a little room where we can meet. And now that I've dropped Rich's name this wasn't my way of challenging him -- I was speaking about the catchweight situation.
"I'm going to stick around.... I have a lot of goals I want to achieve still and retirement won't help me get that done."
The recent fight with "Bones" was one of, if not the most one-sided bout of Sonnen's career, which even left the Oregon native surprised. Sonnen admits he knew the champion was the better fighter going into the bout; he just didn't know how tough -- physically and mentally -- Jones would be once the match began.
"As far as the match goes, I got beat up," Sonnen said. "That's just how it went. And we kind of knew that going in, Jon was a really good fighter, in fact, Jon is a better fighter. But, is he tougher? When the going gets rough can he hang in there and keep going, but the fight got stopped in the first round, so I never got to get him to a point where he'd be uncomfortable and I could have some advantage on him.
"This was like getting into a bear cage. This guy was a monster of a man. We weighed the same amount the day before, but I don't know how that was possible. I put my arms around him and I was literally thinking in the middle of a fist fight, 'Oh my God, you're a big guy.'"
Some felt referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight early, and while Sonnen said immediately afterward he had no problem with how the bout ended, upon reflecting he would have liked the chance to continuing fighting, but ultimately won't protest the referee's decision.
"Look, it's twofold. Anytime a referee gets in there and he helps you, stopping a fight because he thinks you are hurt, you never want to -- especially come out on a show like this -- and disparage his judgement," Sonnen explained. "At the same time, we're in the middle of an ass-whipping contest -- let us get after it! When I have my hands up because the guy is punching me, that's called defense. That's what protecting yourself is -- you put your hands up when you're being hit in the head. There is a tiny but of confusion, or frustration, on my part when it comes to defending myself when punches are coming down. But, again, I never want to question a referee."
With plenty of work ahead of him before having his name included in the conversation of top contenders in the weight class, the options for Sonnen's next fight are limitless. But, having sparked several rivalries over the years, he would prefer to hash out one of his beefs -- naming of a certain former Pride FC champion whom he had an encounter in a van with in 2010.
"I'm not going anywhere until me and Wanderlei [Silva] straighten this thing out once and for all."
For all the important news and notes to come out of UFC 159: "Jones vs. Sonnen" check out our complete event archive here.