Image Credit: Bellator

Not only was Chael Sonnen was unable to send Tito Ortiz into retirement last night on a losing note, the latter and betting lines underdog, tapped him out in the opening round. It was memorable way for Ortiz to close out his storied career, but not a great way for Sonnen to return to the cage.

Of course, to be fair, Sonnen was fighting for the first time since November, 2013, and as most fighters will tell you, returning after such a long break from competition can be tough. Thus, this is why Sonnen reported the following, at Bellator 170’s post-fight press conference (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“Look, tonight is helpful for me,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been out for three years, and this was a long-term play for me. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I need to get those minutes in. I thought I did it in the practice room, and I had some deer in the headlights (moments) out there.

“After three years, it’s just the way that it goes. So I’ll be in the practice room on Monday, and I’ll use it to get better.”

Ortiz also appeared to be much bigger than Sonnen, who was one of the UFC’s top middleweights for quite some time. “The American Gangster” also reportedly said during the presser, however, that he didn’t feel too small. Ortiz took Sonnen down with a single leg not long into the bout, and although the latter threatened with a guillotine choke, the former UFC champ moved into mount and then a finishing, choke.

Up next for Sonnen will almost certainly be his longtime rival, Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen noted in the press conference that he’s going to fight Silva the “next time” he sees him…

Ortiz, as you surely know, announced prior to Bellator 170 that he would be retiring, win or lose.