Many pundits are still bewildered over that fact that two-time UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen will get a crack at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones this April.
"Bones" supported the point of view that Sonnen was undeserving of a third crack at UFC gold...until now.
In an interview with New York's WFAN radio (via SportsRadioInterviews.com), the young title holder changed his stance and said "The American Gangster" deserves to be next in line:
I’m going to change my response and for the first time I’m going to say yes. I think Chael does deserve a shot at my title because he asked for it and he begged for it. He made it happen and I’ve definitely beaten pretty much everybody in my weight class and Chael said "let me give this guy a run" so I’m going to say yes, Chael you deserve it.
When answering the same question of whether or not he deserved another title opportunity, Sonnen indicated that no one else wanted to fight Jones, a position that UFC president Dana White has backed up:
I never want to vouch for myself, it’s an incredible weight class and there are a lot of guys that I thought were deserving but they didn’t agree. Nobody wanted to fight Jon Jones. They were all offered the fight so here we are. It was a bit of a dream fight because we were from two different weight classes and it was a match that nobody thought would happen, including myself but Dana made it work.
The UFC 159 main event marks Sonnen's second consecutive title bout inside the Octagon, despite the fact his last matchup at light heavyweight was at UFC 55 in Oct. 2005.
In his last fight, Sonnen suffered a TKO loss at the hands of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in July.
Jones and Sonnen are currently coaching opposite one another on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on FX.