Chael Sonnen issues challenge

Updated: June 3, 2013, 2:15 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

Chael Sonnen, who has fought for the middleweight and light heavyweight titles, is offering to replace Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and fight Mauricio Rua in a 205-pound bout June 15 at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

As usual, Sonnen tossed a few verbal jabs while delivering his offer.

"I hear Brazilian chicken [Nogueira] is off the menu," Sonnen said Sunday night on Twitter. "American Gangster is still available if you want to send your waitress over."

Nogueira withdrew from the fight with Rua after suffering a back injury. UFC officials are currently seeking a new opponent for Rua, a former 205-pound champion with the promotion. Sonnen (27-13-1) has dropped three of his five most recent fights.

The three losses, however, each occurred during title bouts – two against middleweight champion Anderson Silva and the most recent, in April, against light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones.

Offering his services as a late replacement isn't new for Sonnen. He made himself available to fight Jones on short notice at UFC 151 and accepted the offer made to him by UFC officials. Jones, however, refused to fight Sonnen with only a week to prepare and the event, scheduled for last Sept. 1, was canceled.

It is not yet known if UFC officials will offer Sonnen the fight with Rua.

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