UFC champion Jon Jones may not think that Chael Sonnen deserves a shot at his light heavyweight title, but his own head trainer doesn't completely agree.
During a short interview with FightHub TV, Greg Jackson actually had nothing but praise for the former middleweight title contender, noting that Sonnen is much bigger challenge than people think:
The match-ups don't really matter to me because it's not my job to pick them. I just have to solve the puzzle that's in front of us. It's a tough puzzle. It's actually going to be a tougher fight than people think. I don't take it lightly.
It's not surprising that Jones' coach is wary of Sonnen, especially given that Sonnen has previously defeated two of his most high-profile fighters already.
Despite Jackson's usual gameplans, Sonnen was able to beat both Brian Stann at UFC 136 and Nate Marquardt at UFC 109, finishing the former by a rare submission via arm triangle choke. That puts Sonnen at 2-0 against Greg Jackson's team, and a win over Jones would be quite a hat trick.
That's likely why Jackson thinks so highly of Sonnen's skills, as he praised various examples of the Oregon native's athletic qualities that make him a threat to other fighters. Somewhat surprisingly, Jackson even claimed that he thought Sonnen deserved to fight Jones despite coming off a loss:
He earned it in some ways. [Just] because he fought and basically lost to Anderson [Silva] twice, you can't fault anybody for that—Anderson's amazing. I think [Sonnen]'s got legitimate credentials. You'd have to talk to rest of the division more than the coach to figure out if he talked his way into it or not.
Regardless of whether or not he deserves it, Sonnen will face Jones at a future date for the UFC light heavyweight title—his third title fight in just five fights. But first, MMA fans will get to see how both men interacted as opposing coaches on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, premiering in its new Tuesday night slot, Jan. 22 on FX.