For Chael Sonnen
fans, the buildup to UFC
has served as a change of pace.
Sonnen’s interviews ahead of his clash with Jon Jones have
been starkly different than in his previous title tries, which
notably featured some of Sonnen’s most famous pre-fight banter.
Although Sonnen and Jones initially traded verbal taunts when the
fight was first booked back in October, Sonnen’s opinion of the
champion changed during their stint as coaches on “The Ultimate
Nevertheless, Sonnen believes that their cordial relationship on
the show will have no effect on his intensity in the cage.
“I had [Jones] wrong. He’s a good, nice, decent person. That was
refreshing, and good for him, but it doesn’t make a bit of
difference [about] what I’m going to do to him on Saturday,” Sonnen
recently said during a UFC 159 media scrum. “There can be only one
champion. I’m coming for his belt, and he’s going to have to defend
In Jones, Sonnen faces arguably the toughest test of his career,
which includes two unsuccessful middleweight title bids against
Silva. Jones has tasted defeat just once in his five years as a
professional, when he was controversially disqualified in a fight
he was dominating against Matt Hamill.
Since that time, Jones has taken out five former UFC light
heavyweight champions, capturing the title from Mauricio Rua
and defending it successfully against Quinton
Evans and Vitor
“I think Jon is the best, but I think I’m better. I think he’s
great, but I think I’m greater,” Sonnen said. “He’s had a good run.
He’s got a lot of skills, and he’s got an interesting style, but
I’m a whole other deal. I’ve never lost a round, ever. I’ve never
had a fight where a round has gone against me, and that’s going to
be a lot for Jon to deal with.”
In Sonnen, Jones must face a 40-fight pro and former Olympic
wrestling alternate who has defeated the likes of Michael
Okami. In spite of his foe’s credentials, Jones believes that
Sonnen’s typical fight strategy of grounding and controlling his
opponents will prove less than effective when the men do battle
Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“He has been fighting the same exact style for so long,” said
Jones. “When he shoots, his head goes to the same side. When he
grounds and pounds, he uses it to pass guard to the same side. He
does the same submissions. It’s all been the same for years. I
don’t understand how he’s been so successful with it. I’m just not
going to allow it to happen to me. I know what he has.”
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