Dan Henderson: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen Hurts MMA's Integrity

McKinley NobleCorrespondent INovember 1, 2012

Photo Credit: UFC/Zuffa
Photo Credit: UFC/Zuffa

Dan Henderson isn't pleased that Chael Sonnen has replaced him as the No. 1 contender to the UFC light heavyweight championship—but he understands the reasons behind it.

During Monday's UFC live chat hosted by Metro PCS via Ustream, Sonnen mentioned that he hadn't spoken to Henderson since being announced as a coach for The Ultimate Fighter opposite Jon Jones. Amid accusations that he talked his way into the fight, Sonnen simply said that the only word he used to get the title shot was "Yes."

On this week's broadcast of MMA Fighting's The MMA Hour, Henderson didn't mince words about the subject and how he felt:

[I was] in shock, probably like everyone else in the MMA world. It just doesn't seem right to me, to get that shot without earning it.

When asked about how it affected his friendship with Sonnen, though, Henderson was a bit more diplomatic, saying that he didn't blame Sonnen for the circumstances surrounding the news. Henderson also said he would've done the show if he'd been asked.

Henderson gave an update on his injured knee, hinting that he would've been ready to fight Jones in April. According to the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, he was in talks to face Jones on Super Bowl Weekend before the Ultimate Fighter announcement.

When asked about fighters getting fast-tracked to UFC title shots, Henderson expressed his disappointment in the precedent he feels it sets for MMA:

I absolutely think it was a bad decision for the sport. It just—it makes the sport lose a little bit of integrity... I absolutely felt that [Sonnen] wouldn't have been considered at this time... to never fight at that weight class, and in your last fight you get TKO-ed in a title fight. I think that kinda sets the standard.

I understand that [Dana White] does what he does for the UFC and he always has, first and foremost. He tries to accommodate the fighters as he can, but it's more about the business of saving the ratings on The Ultimate Fighter show, and I understand that. 

Henderson says UFC president Dana White asked him to be ready to fight next February, which is assumed to be a matchup with former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Per the terms of his contract, Henderson aims to fight three more times before next November.

Henderson further stated that he's no longer worried about fighting for the title, especially since White didn't guarantee him a title fight with a win over Machida. "Hendo" was last seen in action winning a close decision against Maricio Rua in a "Fight of the Year" performance at UFC 139.