The ambiguous “grudge weight fight” that former UFC middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen appeared to be alluding to gained some clarity tonight. Sonnen will be moving up to light heavyweight to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin on December 29. The move was announced on “UFC Tonight” on Fuel TV.
Sonnen, who lost for a second time to Anderson Silva at UFC 148, will be looking to start a title charge in a new division when he faces off with Griffin. The two previously met in the opening round of IFC: Global Domination’s one-night tournament, with Griffin finishing Sonnen via triangle choke in the first round.
Sonnen said of the matchup (via “UFC Tonight”):
“I’ve watched him win the world championship, I’ve watched him etch his name in stone as a guaranteed future Hall of Famer, you and I and the whole world together watched him be a large part of creating and changing the industry that we have today. He’s one guy Jon Jones hasn’t fought, he’s beat two world champions in his last three outings, and on December 29th I will be taking on Forrest Griffin.”
Sonnen made it clear that he was planning on making the TUF 1 champion the first stepping stone on his way to taking the UFC light heavyweight title belt, namely taking it from current champ Jon Jones:
“Sure I could go up to 205 and I could take Jon Jones’ belt away the same as I could take his candy on Halloween, he’s a little punk kid, I could snatch it away all I want, but there’s something to be said in sportsmanship for earning your shot, and on the 29th of December, I’m going to go through Forrest to do it.”
The December 29 card is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champion Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez in a rematch of their UFC on Fox 1 bout. The card is also one of two cards being eyed by UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson’s management for his bout with Nate Diaz.