Even though Chael Sonnen was humiliated by current middleweight champion Anderson Silva during his last outing at UFC 148, “The American Gangster” has managed to set himself up for another title shot.
According to the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire, Sonnen will now get to challenge current light-heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, for the title, after coaching on the third installment of “The Ultimate Fighter [TUF] on FX.” Shooting for the next TUF season is expected to start on Oct. 29, and the title fight between Jones and Sonnen is set for April 27, at a location yet to be determined.
“This should be a good one,” UFC president Dana White said about the Jon Jones vs. Sonnen matchup. “Jon has accepted the fight. He knows the fans want to see that fight.”
While I’m sure casual MMA fans will be excited about Jones and Sonnen coaching alongside one another on the next season of TUF, I don’t think it will go down well with hardcore fans.
Sonnen tried to secure a shot against Jones a few months ago — stepping in as a replacement for the injured Dan Henderson in an attempt to save the UFC 151 fight card — but the youngest champion in UFC history wasn’t having any of it. Jones’ decision seemed to be the right move to me, but it prompted some MMA fans to question his heart.
Apparently, Jon Jones is tired of people questioning his fighting spirit, and he’s now willing to shut Sonnen up inside the cage.
Business wise, Jones and Sonnen competing as coaches on TUF makes a lot of sense. Sonnen is arguably the best trash talker in the UFC, and I’m sure he’ll have a lot to say about Jones during the course of the show. It should lead to decent ratings for TUF — which has struggled since it was moved from Spike TV to FX — and the eventual title fight between the two should draw in a large number of fans.
However, in terms of the UFC legitimizing itself, the Jones vs. Sonnen matchup is a step backwards for the promotion.
While entertaining, Sonnen is undeserving of a title shot in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, considering the fact he hasn’t fought there since 2005 (the Portland native is also 2-2 in his last four fights). It makes the UFC come off as a money-hungry organization that is willing to do anything to keep the profits coming.
What’s next, White jumping into the cage during the Jones vs. Sonnen fight, hitting the champ in the head with a steel chair, while “Big John” is distracted by Arianny?
Lance Pugmire, “Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen to coach ‘Ultimate Fighter,’ fight April 27”
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.