Sonnen announced his return to light heavyweight on the latest installment of UFC Tonight on FUEL TV and took a moment to say a few words about the champ.
"Sure, I could go up to 205, and I could take Jon Jones' belt away the same as I could take away his candy on Halloween," Sonnen said. "Like a little punk kid, I could snatch it away all I want."
The champ didn't take too kindly to Sonnen's threats and responded via Twitter today.
"The things you say about me hold absolutely no weight. You disrespected Anderson and his country but fought like a child. If you're going to disrespect me, at least disrespect me to my face like a man. And you call me a punk, I'm more man than you'll ever be. lol dude, you're not worth my time.. Earn a title shot instead of trying to talk your way into one and I'll be glad to hurt you."
Jones later deleted the tweets, but not before Sonnen could fire back with more shots of his own:
Boardingplane to Oregon now, home of your corporate wage masters. Next time you are in town, knock on my door. Don't drive. @johnnybones— chael sonnen (@sonnench) August 15, 2012
Jones responded with one last tweet that pretty much lets everyone in the world in on a dirty little secret—he and Sonnen have no real hatred towards one another, and they're pretty much just building up a future title fight:
For everyone who thinks I'm "falling into chaels game" I know exactly what I'm doing.. #AreYouNotEntertained— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 15, 2012
The main thing to keep in mind here is that Sonnen is entering the light-heavyweight division at the perfect time. If Jones dispatches Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida (a second time), he'll have no real challengers left that pique the public's interest.
Sonnen can be that challenger. Sure, he lost his last fight and quite obviously hasn't fared all that well in title fights. In a perfect world, he's not even close to a title shot in his new division at this point. But, a division that's devoid of challengers needs new ones, and especially ones that can deliver cash on pay-per-view. Sonnen is that guy.
Don't be surprised to see Sonnen get a title shot if he gets past Forrest Griffin on Dec. 29. In fact, you can count on it. And I'd start booking your travel plans for Vegas next July because that sounds like the perfect kind of headlining fight for UFC International Fight Week 2013.