Chael Sonnen might just be on the verge of coming out of retirement.
According to a report on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Sonnen’s manager, Mike Roberts, believes that the former middleweight and light heavyweight challenger will compete again if it’s the “right fight.” Sonnen won’t be eligible to return to action until July 23, when his Nevada Athletic Commission-mandated suspension ends.
Sonnen received a two-year suspension from the NAC in 2014 after failing a pair of random drug tests. After the second failure, in which the West Linn, Ore., native tested positive for two illegal substances, he was removed from the UFC 175 card. Shortly thereafter, Sonnen announced his retirement.
In the interim, Sonnen has competed against Andre Galvao and Renato Sobral at Metamoris grappling events and served as an analyst for World Series of Fighting.
Sonnen, who will be 39 in April, rose to prominence thanks in large part to his feud with Anderson Silva. Sonnen was on his way to defeating “The Spider” at UFC 117 before submitting to a triangle armbar late in the fifth round. Their rematch at UFC 148 was one of the promotion’s biggest events, with Silva winning via second-round TKO. The self-proclaimed “Gangster from West Linn” also challenged for 205-pound gold, falling to Jon Jones in the first round at UFC 159.
Sonnen went 7-7 during his UFC tenure, with notable wins over Mauricio Rua, Michael Bisping, Brian Stann and Yushin Okami. He last competed at UFC 167 in November 2013, where he was stopped in the opening frame by Rashad Evans.