When it was announced a few weeks ago, that Jon Jones would defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen, the MMA world was shocked. After all, a month before, Jones had dismissed Sonnen as an opponent and would not fight him to save an entire UFC pay-per-view card.
Now the two men are set to face off in April of 2013 for 12 pounds of UFC gold. Perhaps even better news to fight fans was the two men are slated to coach opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter, a reality show the UFC has been running for the better part of a decade.
The show, in its 17th season, has been struggling for ratings ever since it moved to Friday nights on FX this past January. This season currently airing as seen record low ratings and many wondered what the UFC could do to save "TUF." Well they got their answer, if the trash talking Sonnen, and the popular Jones cannot save the show, nothing will.
At the very least, this fight will make for entertaining television with an intriguing build up, as nobody talks trash better than Chael P. Sonnen. The fight does have a chance to be competitive as Sonnen proved he can compete with the best, pushing Anderson Silva for the better part of seven rounds. Sonnen presents something Jones has never faced, a dominant wrestler.
The concern that many MMA pundits have about the matchup is the fact that Sonnen has done absolutely nothing inside the Octagon to deserve this title shot. Literally, Sonnen has not fought a round at light heavyweight in the UFC. Sonnen began to call out Jones from the time he announced his move up in weight and without fighting a single contender, will fight for the UFC title.
Many fighters, including former number one contender Dan Henderson took offense to the decision by UFC President Dana White to put Sonnen in a title fight.
I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school. @danawhite— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) October 17, 2012
Henderson was supposed to fight Jones at UFC 151, before pulling out of the even with an injury. Jones denied a fight with Sonnen and the event was cancelled as a result.
Henderson raises a question that some fighters have been bringing up. Do you have to be exciting or flamboyant to get a title shot? Is just winning enough anymore?
The UFC has to walk a fine line between business and sport. The sport side means that everyone should have a fair shot to climb to the top no matter what style of fighting they employ. However, the business side means that the UFC has to sell PPV's and tickets. Say what you want about Chael Sonnen, he does both of those things.
Is this going to be a trend in the UFC? Are fighters going to get overlooked for title shots because they are too "boring?" These are questions that Jones vs. Sonnen raises and these are questions that will be answered in the coming months by the UFC.
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