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UFC Reinjects Chael Sonnen Into Jon Jones-Dan Henderson Discussion

Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images
Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images
Getty Images

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones recently said that he's not going to let newly minted light heavyweight Chael Sonnen troll his way into a title shot.

But not only is it obvious Sonnen won't close his mouth anytime soon, it's just as obvious the UFC understands that a potential Jones-Sonnen bout means megabucks.

Monday night, on the eve of the first big media teleconference to promote the UFC 151 bout between Jones and challenger Dan Henderson, the UFC issued a press release in which Sonnen was quoted at length touting Henderson, his former Team Quest campmate.

"I believe in Hendo, and so should you," said Sonnen in the press release. "If you look at Jon Jones and think of a man who can beat him, you would think of someone with great KO power, the best chin in the sport because - with his reach - Jones is going to hit you, great wrestling and a relentlessly aggressive style. That man already exists - and his name is Dan Henderson.

"This fight on September 1 is a fight to determine who is the greatest ever light heavyweight. I give Jon Jones his due as a great fighter. He's beaten some outstanding fighters already and looked impressive each time. He's already accomplished so much in the sport - just not as much as Dan Henderson."

The signal the release sends out is unmistakable. Jones has been vocal in recent days about not considering Sonnen a worthy foe at this stage of the game. He's dismissed the Dana White-mandated next challenger for the belt, Lyoto Machida, for not being a big enough of a pay-per-view draw, but just as quickly dismissed Sonnen, one of the company's biggest draws, on the reasonable point that he has yet to prove himself at 205.

Sonnen's comments guarantee he will remain a topic of conversation over the next two weeks. After all, even those in the MMA media who have been writing Sonnen pieces claiming to see the hype for what it is, are still, in fact, writing yet another column on Chael Sonnen and keeping his name in the mix.

Sonnen, who meets Forrest Griffin on Dec. 29 return to 205 pounds, went on to make the case why he considers Henderson a pound-for-pound great.

"Everyone talks about pound-for-pound champions and pound-for-pound achievements. But if you look at what pound-for-pound should mean - who has the ability to beat small fast guys, the ability to knockout big, strong guys, to move through the divisions with your skill-set and win, the only conclusion a rational person would make is Dan Henderson is the pound-for-pound greatest of all time.

"Dan beat the 170-lb. champion in Carlos Newton, he's won the PRIDE 183-lb. title, the PRIDE 205-lb. title, the Strikeforce 205lbs title, and he's won the two great tournaments in our sport, the UFC tournament back in the day and the PRIDE Grand Prix. All in all he's beaten 11 world champions in his career. The man is the best of all time. That is who Jon Jones is facing."

It's clear by now that though Henderson is who Jones is facing, he won't be the only fighter people discuss.

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