Jon Jones Wasn't About to Give Chael Sonnen "the Opportunity of a Lifetime"

John HeinisSenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2012

Dec 10, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Jon Jones after defeating fighter Lyoto Machida (not pictured) during a light heavyweight bout at UFC 140 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Former two-time UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen's only chance to fight UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones may have been at UFC 151.

"I don't regret the decision," Jones said on ESPN's "Sportscenter" Tuesday, regarding declining a fight with Sonnen on just eight days' notice. 

"I pretty much had everything to lose in that situation. Chael Sonnen is a guy whose record is, I think, 6-5, which isn't a very good record to even fight for a world title ... I just thought it would be a bad decision to give a guy the opportunity of a lifetime like that."

Jones is correct that Sonnen's UFC record is 6-5, which includes a 2-2 run in his past four fights. Both losses during that span were to his archrival, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. 

His more recent TKO loss to Silva at UFC 148 made Sonnen decide to move back up to 205 pounds. He currently has a rematch with Forrest Griffin scheduled for UFC 155 on Dec. 29, but that hasn't stopped Chael for training for a grudge match with Jones.  

As a result of Jones declining the fight with Sonnen, who was filling in for long-time friend and training partner Dan Henderson, UFC 151 was cancelled and Jones will now fight Vitor Belfort on Saturday at UFC 152.

In a fan chat hosted by ESPN Tuesday afternoon, "Bones" again let his fans know that he isn't keen on a fight with "The American Gangster" anytime soon. 

One fan who simply identified himself as "marc (work)" asked Jones, "Can we hope to see you close Chael's mouth in the future or does that fight not inerest (sic) you at all"

Jones responded, "The fight's really not that intersting (sic). I'm only looking to fight the best."

Right before the chat ended, a fan who identified himself as "Greg (DC)" asked the champion, "are you scared of Chael?" 

Jones was not amused, but provided a quick and succinct answer: "I'm getting ready to fight my fifth world champion. Come on son." 

Between March 2011 (when Bones won the title at UFC 128) and April 2012, Greg Jackson's MMA product notched victories over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Lyoto Machida and former teammate Rashad Evans.

While Belfort has not competed as a light heavyweight in five years, "The Phenom" did capture gold at 205 pounds when he defeated Randy Couture at UFC 46, back in January 2004.

The victory was considered a fluke cut TKO, and Couture, who already held a win over Belfort from UFC 15, avenged the loss in a one-sided TKO (doctor stoppage) victory at UFC 49.

Is Sonnen vs. Jones a heavily anticipated bout the fans are dying to see, or is this a matchup that should be reserved for the most dire circumstances only?