For a brief moment on August 24, it looked like we were going to see Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen square off at UFC 151. Jones was supposed to defend the UFC light heavyweight title against Dan Henderson, but Henderson suffered a torn MCL in his knee during training.
After numerous fighters declined the fight, the UFC went to Sonnen, and he accepted the bout. Jones, though, after consulting with his team, declined the fight. Sonnen has been very critical of Jones on Twitter and various outlets calling him every name in the book and then some for not taking the fight. Jones has thrown jabs here and there ripping into Sonnen, saying he doesn't deserve the fight.
Jones threw some hints on Twitter last week about being more open to fighting Sonnen in the future if that was what the fans wanted.
Well, the fans spoke, and the UFC is listening.
UFC president Dana White told Lance Pugmire from LATimes.com that Jones and Sonnen will be the coaches of the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. White also told Pugmire that Jones and Sonnen will square off on April 27, 2013 at a location to be determined for the Light Heavyweight Title.
The season will consist of middleweight fighters with filming set to begin on October 29 and the season debuting in January.
Will Sonnen/Jones be the best TUF season ever?
Sonnen had no idea though that he would be coaching on The Ultimate Fighter with Jones.
"It was a surprise to me, and I just talked to Chael a few minutes ago and it was a surprise to him too," Sonnen's head trainer Scott McQuary told Bleacher Report. "I had just walked out of the movie Here Comes The Boom, and one of my students left me a message saying call me right now, Chael's made The Ultimate Fighter.
"I called him and he's (Sonnen) like yea, I just found out myself. I didn't know. We had no idea this offer was going to be on the table."
Sonnen was scheduled to face Forrest Griffin at UFC 155 in December. Speculation was running rampant a contract wasn't signed for the fight due to a lack of an official announcement made by the UFC. McQuary said he was told differently and training had begun for Griffin.
"We had just started our training for him (Griffin) last week," McQuary stated. "Chael's been fairly consistent with his training, but we hadn't been 100 percent focused until this last week. Cheal told me a contract was signed, so we felt up until this morning, the fight was happening."
Since the announcement was made this afternoon, people on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and various MMA forums have been split on if Sonnen even deserves this opportunity. The people who have felt he doesn't deserve it is due to his loss in his most recent fight with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148.
Sonnen has only had one fight at light heavyweight in the UFC. That fight was a loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral at UFC 55 in October of 2005. McQuary feels Sonnen deserves this opportunity for a variety of reasons.
"I think Chael deserves this opportunity because he's the best there is out there," McQuary stated. "He (Sonnen) puts butts in the seats. It has to be a combination of putting the two best people together who actually draw the biggest crowd."
A lot of people had been pegging Jones for a superfight with Silva in 2013, with that fight being the biggest fight out there with Sonnen-Jones and Silva-Georges St-Pierre in the conversation as well. Now, with Sonnen-Jones to happen in April, it could be the biggest fight in UFC history.
"I think with the buildup, The Ultimate Fighter and everything that goes with what I've seen with TUF, I think this will be promoted in such a way," McQuary stated. "The UFC has a long time to get this promoted and built up. I think this will be the biggest fight in history."
Before we get to the fight, though, a season of The Ultimate Fighter will take place. Sonnen and Jones will have to be around each other for six weeks. People are already speculating this could be the best rated season of the TUF franchise.
"I anticipate that it will be (best TUF season)," McQuary stated. "I think you are going to get more people watching than ever, that's for sure. I mean you have two of the biggest personalities in MMA, well at least one of them, who is definitely going to speak what's on his mind."
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