Two-time UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen returns to the light heavyweight division next month to face champion Jon Jones.
"The American Gangster" is a massive underdog in the fight (6-to-1, according to BestFightOdds.com), which isn't surprising given the fact that he hasn't fought at 205 pounds since Oct. 2005.
However, at least one member of Sonnen's camp legitimately believes that the challenger is going to pull off the upset: nutritionist Mike Dolce.
Speaking on the BJPenn.com Radio Show, Dolce gave a shocking prediction for the UFC 159 title fight set for April 27 in Newark, N.J.
Chael’s been beating up guys like Jon Jones his whole life, his whole career, and that’s the mentality we have going into it. He’s going to beat the piss out of Jon Jones for 25 minutes no matter what.
Dolce referenced his client's fights against Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt, definitive unanimous decision victories, as the type of performance that fans should expect against "Bones."
The famed MMA dietician/strength and conditioning coach, who noted that Sonnen's natural weight is now around 230 to 240 pounds, believes that "Uncle Chael's" wrestling will be too much for Jones to handle.
Chael is a much more accredited wrestler than Jon Jones and that was Jon’s strength; he would use his wrestling to allow his striking to come through. Well Jon can’t use his wrestling effectively against Chael. Jon’s going to be really on the defensive when it comes to wrestling, and how is Jon going to be with his striking when he’s constantly worried about Chael getting close, getting on his hips, getting his hands locked on him? That’s an issue.”
While Sonnen was a two-time All-American wrestler at the University of Oregon and an Olympic alternate for the U.S. Greco-Roman wrestling team, Jones has never been taken down in his UFC career.
He has also did not face much of a challenge from fellow decorated wrestlers in Rashad Evans and Ryan Bader, soundly defeating both competitors.
Nevertheless, Dolce believes that the type of training camp that Sonnen is enduring is going to make him ready for whatever Jones throws at him at the Prudential Center next month.
It’s going to be a nasty machine, and we’re training Chael for 25 minutes of non-stop aggression; no matter what gets broken, no matter what gets ripped open, no matter what part of his body gets torn off, no matter how much blood is there, no matter how many bones crack. We are pushing him and training him to power through that, and I don’t think Jon is prepared to power through that.
Dolce also brought up two occasions where he felt that Jones was in trouble: when Lyoto Machida landed combinations in the first round of their UFC 145 bout, and when Vitor Belfort had him in an armbar early on in their UFC 152 encounter.
The reason being was that both times, he saw instances where Jones was vulnerable, but his opponents didn't capitalize, as both Machida and Belfort ended up being submitted.
If Sonnen is given an opportunity in this title fight, he is going to seize it, at least as far as Dolce is concerned.