Chael Sonnen Opens up About Decision to Retire: “I Used to be Tougher”

Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen is the latest star who’s announced he’s hanging up the gloves, and while talking to the press after Bellator 222, “The American Gangster” explained his decision.

Sonnen faced Lyoto Machida in the co-main event of the card, and in round one, the accomplished wrestler was floored by a nasty flying knee from “The Dragon”. Sonnen recovered and made it into round two, but Machida decked him again with a knee and finished the deal with punches from above.

After the loss, Sonnen announced he’s walking away from fighting, and during the post-fight presser, he said this (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“You’ve got to be tough in this sport. And I feel like I used all my toughness up,” Sonnen said. “There were some positions in there that before in my career I would have walked right through them. I didn’t mind losing to him in his spots, like some of the stuff on our feet, those jumping knees and whatnot, but I did mind losing to him in my spots. He was on top of me, I didn’t think he’d be on top of me, I thought I could have scrambled, I got up.

“I used to be tougher. I used to want it more. I used to have more grit. And I just felt like maybe I fired my last bullet, I didn’t have that same grit and it’s time to move on.”

“…I thought I was going to win this fight, I was going to call out Ryan Bader. Everything was going my way until it wasn’t. But I don’t regret it. It was a No. 1 contender’s match, I thought it was a big opportunity, and it was. And it’s somebody else’s turn.”

There you have it. It certainly sounds like Sonnen’s solid on his decision. When you consider Sonnen was stopped in his last two bouts (he was stopped by Fedor Emelianenko in October), the fact he’s 42, and what he’s accomplished, the timing of this seems right.

Sonnen (30-17-1) never won a major championship, but he was one of the top draws for years and he also defeated many notable fighters during his career. Some of the stars he holds wins over include “Rampage” Jackosn, Wanderlei Silva, “Shogun” Rua, and Michael Bisping. Not too shabby.