UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones took the brunt of the initial criticism when UFC president Dana White cancelled UFC 151 just one week out from its scheduled date.
Jones remained fairly quiet about the situation at first, even though White took him and his coach, Greg Jackson, to task for turning down a last ditch effort to match the champ up with Chael Sonnen on short notice.
When Sonnen went into attack mode – almost immediately – Jones could only sit back and take the unanswered blows for so long before fighting back.
“There’s guys on the street right now that would take a fight against me just to see how they would do, let alone talk about one of the top fighters in the world, especially one of the top fighters in the world that has absolutely nothing to lose,” Jones said in a recent interview on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA (After) Hour. “Why would I put a world championship on the line against a very dangerous opponent for a person that hasn’t even remotely earned the right to consider himself in the position to fight for a world title? That’s like hitting the jackpot and I refuse to be anyone’s jackpot.”
Jones did eventually agree to fight former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort in the UFC 152 main event on Sept. 22 in Toronto, but that’s not to say that he thinks Belfort really earned a shot at the belt either. He does, however, have a much different outlet on Belfort as an opponent.
“I don’t think he necessarily deserves (a shot at the title), but I’m honored to fight him. I respect Vitor a lot. He’s definitely a worthy opponent,” said Jones.
“I have zero respect for (Sonnen). I’m honored to fight Vitor Belfort. Vitor is a Christian like I am. He’s an honorable man. Fighting Chael Sonnen, he’s a punk. He’s a thug.”
Despite his own feelings for the way the situation went down, public opinion, right or wrong, has leaned heavily in Sonnen’s favor on this one. Jones still feels most of the sting for the collateral damage following the UFC 151 cancellation.
Regardless of the blame placed upon his shoulders, Jones isn’t doing an about face.
“I think it’s funny how Chael Sonnen became a hero out of this thing,” Jones commented. “Chael had nothing to do with this and he just talked his way into the limelight somehow. I signed a contract to fight Dan Henderson, not Dan Henderson and his best friend.
“At the end of the day, Dan Henderson got hurt. That’s what happened. I was ready.”
Although Jones vs. Belfort is now on tap, White has stated that a Jones vs. Sonnen bout, if fans wanted it bad enough, could still happen in due time.
Jones agrees… and welcomes the opportunity answer Sonnen’s attacks, but with his fists, not his words.
“He’ll get his time when the time comes. I’ll beat that man silly.”
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