Chael Sonnen: 4 Big Improvements He Has to Make to Beat Jon Jones

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIINovember 29, 2012

Chael Sonnen: 4 Big Improvements He Has to Make to Beat Jon Jones

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    Whether you feel like he deserves it, Chael Sonnen will be next in line for UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones

    Sonnen will actually be the first fighter that Jones has face since 2010 who is not a former champion. 

    Although Sonnen has fought in title fights in both the WEC and UFC, those fights took place in the middleweight division. 

    Sonnen will no doubt have trash talk at an all-time high when he faces off with Jones on the Ultimate Fighter. 

    But while he may win the war of words, here are the things he will have to improve on to defeat Jones in their title fight. 


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    Wrestling is Sonnen's bread and butter. 

    It is the one thing that you can always count on him being good at. 

    Sonnen was a D-1 All-American champion at the University of Oregon and is arguably one of the best wrestlers in MMA history. 

    So why would wrestling, specifically his takedowns, need to big one major improvement for Sonnen? 

    Because Jon Jones has never been taken down inside the Octagon. 

    Jones has faced other top-notch wrestlers before including Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader and Vladimir Matyushenko and none of them were able to put him in a dominating position. 

    Sonnen will have to find a way to put Jones on his back if he wants to do what he does best. 

Submission Defense

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    It's no secret that Sonnen does not have the best track record against submission artists. 

    Eight of Sonnen's 12 losses have come by submission, most of which have been triangle chokes or armbars. 

    Although Sonnen will have to worry about Jones' size and striking, Jones has won four of his last six fights by submission. 

    Jones has a deceptive ground game which Sonnen will have to watch out for. 


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    Chael Sonnen is not know for his knockout power, but he did hit Anderson Silva with some hard shots in their first fight. 

    Sonnen will have to find a way to do the same against Jones. 

    Jones has a diverse, sometimes awkward striking game that sometimes leaves the champ open. 

    Sonnen will somehow have to take advantage of these openings and put the champ down with strikes. 

    If Sonnen can get into a groove boxing, it could perhaps open up his wrestling game. 


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    Usually when Chael Sonnen is on top of somebody, he isn't going to get up.

    The same can be said about Jon Jones though

    Sonnen is used to fighting at 185 lbs and was known for being a big middleweight. 

    Despite having some light heavyweight experience, Sonnen will have to come into this bout stronger than ever thanks to facing a fighter like Jones, who has made most of his opponents seem a weight class smaller. 

    Sonnen has been working with diet guru Mike Dolce and has already bulked up to 240 lbs. 

    Thanks to Jones' size, Sonnen will need to utilize all of his strength to match up with Jones.