Chael Sonnen is headed back to the light heavyweight division to face a familiar foe.
The former two-time UFC middleweight title contender announced on Tuesday’s episode of “UFC Tonight” that he will return to competition on Dec. 29 at UFC 155 against former 205-pound titlist Forrest Griffin. The pair first met in September 2003, with Griffin earning a first-round submission victory via triangle choke.
“Many years ago, I fought with a gentleman, and I lost. I became a fan of him; I saw him win a championship. I saw him etch his name in stone as a hall of famer,” said Sonnen. “He is the one guy Jon Jones hasn’t beaten, and on Dec. 29, Forrest Griffin and I will figure this out. That fight will be at light heavyweight. There is something to be said about earning your spot in the sport, and on Dec. 29, I am going to do that.”
Sonnen, 35, has won five of his last seven bouts. Following an ill-fated three-fight stint with the UFC from 2005 to 2006, the Oregonian returned to the Octagon in 2009, earning wins over Dan Miller, Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt to earn a shot at middleweight champion Anderson Silva. After submitting to a Silva triangle choke in 2010, Sonnen posted two more wins to earn another crack at “The Spider.” Unfortunately for the Team Quest rep, he would once again fall to Silva, losing via technical knockout at UFC 148 last month.
Griffin, 33, also last competed at UFC 148, sending former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz into retirement via unanimous decision at the July 7 event. The victory marked both Griffin’s third win in four fights and his second victory out of three meetings with Ortiz. The original “Ultimate Fighter” winner, Griffin is a 15-time UFC veteran and has earned 10 of his 19 career wins by either knockout or submission.