Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen: Why the Move Reeks of Desperation
Chael Sonnen will coach opposite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the latest edition of The Ultimate Fighter. That's the blockbuster breaking news coming out of The LA Times on Tuesday.
"The American Gangster" will undoubtedly hype the fight like there is no tomorrow, and the April 27 title fight with Jones certainly has the potential to break one million pay-per-view buys.
So how can this pairing actually be a bad thing?
Take a look inside to see why this matchmaking isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
Ratings of 'The Ultimate Fighter' Have Hit an All-Time Low
This one is pretty self-explanatory: The Ultimate Fighter has captured next to no interest with heavyweight head coaches Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin.
Despite Nelson's fan-favorite status and notoriously colorful personality, this season simply lacks intrigue.
While a load of the blame no doubt deserves to be placed on Carwin, the fact of the matter is that, in five episodes, this season of TUF has seen a series low in ratings twice already.
The pairing of Sonnen and Jones is inevitably going to draw massive ratings due to Sonnen's uncanny ability to hype a fight and get under his opponent's skin, but this move is clearly born out of desperation to save the series.
The longevity of the series is being put above the sensibility of the fight in this situation.
Chael Is 0-3 in Major Title Fights
While there is little argument that Chael Sonnen is a top title contender in whichever weight class he's fighting in, the fact of the matter is that "The American Gangster" hasn't held a title since November 2003.
That title was the Gladiator Challenge light heavyweight championship, so while still an accomplishment, the elite fighters of this sport have went on to bigger and better things.
Sonnen has had three opportunities to add some serious hardware to his trophy case but has come up short each time.
In his WEC debut in Dec. 2007, Sonnen squared off against Paulo Filho with the promotion's middleweight belt on the line.
Chael ended up being submitted with an armbar at the tail end of the second round. Although Sonnen won a rematch in Nov. 2008, Filho showed up nearly seven pounds overweight, so the fight was a non-title bout.
Many believed Sonnen would be the man to dethrone UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117, as he dominated "The Spider" for over four rounds. However, he was ultimately submitted by a triangle choke midway through the fifth round.
The former two-time All-American collegiate wrestler earned another shot at the Brazilian at UFC 148, but, after clearly winning the first round, he was TKO'd in the second.
Sonnen has yet to prove himself on the biggest stage, so why is there reason to believe this time will be any different?
Sonnen Is Coming off a Loss and Is Yet to Fight at Light Heavyweight
Sonnen's last fight was a second-round TKO loss to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. While there is no shame in that, the fact that he didn't have to climb the light-heavyweight ladder seems a bit ridiculous.
Realistically, it is not outlandish to say that 205-pound prospects Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson deserve a shot, since they have won multiple light heavyweight bouts in a row.
Sonnen was originally scheduled to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 155, which is now not going to happen. A win here would be a stretch to warrant a title shot, but at least it would be a victory over a former champion in the division.
This current situation is really nothing more than a gifted title shot. Even fighters who have already lost to Jones, such as Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, are currently more deserving of a title shot.
Jon Jones Has Beaten Four Former Champions in a Row
There is no argument that Chael Sonnen is a step down in competition for Jon Jones.
Jones has defeated four former UFC champions in a row in Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
As we know, "Uncle Chael" has yet to capture UFC gold, and therefore, is not on the same level as the fighters Jones has fought in the past year-and-a-half.