UFC Champ Jon Jones Slams 'Weak' Chael Sonnen: 'He Has No Championship Soul'

McKinley Noble@KenTheGreat1Correspondent IApril 1, 2013

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

Light heavyweight phenom Jon Jones seems to think that he's figured out exactly why Chael Sonnen is unable to win MMA titles—it's apparently a matter of soul.

That's what "Bones" stated in a recent UFC 159 pre-fight interview for his upcoming title defense, bluntly breaking down the shortcomings of the "American Gangster" while referring to him as "beautiful" and "weak" at the same time:

The beautiful thing about Chael is that he uses his words and that's about all he has, really. He's just a gang of quotes that no one's going to remember.

He's weak in every way, shape or form. He taps before submissions are even sunk in. I could put one hand around his throat and he's probably going to tap.

Brash statements aside, the record books do show a correlation between Jones' critiques and Sonnen's career fighting record.

In 12 losses out of 40 professional bouts, Sonnen has lost eight of them by way of submission.

Most commonly, the former middleweight has dropped matches by triangle choke, armbar or a combination of the two, which marked his first loss to UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.

Against Jones, Sonnen may face similar trouble, as the evolving champion has submitted two elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black bets in Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort—a feat that Sonnen himself has never accomplished.

Moreover, Jones has proven himself difficult to tap out, as he gritted through an extremely tight armbar attempt from Belfort at UFC 152 before turning the tables.

As the "Bones" puts it, that kind of championship mentality is what separates men like himself and boxing legend Muhammad Ali from guys like Sonnen, whose lack of faith consistently causes him to come up short in title fights:

Guys like Muhammad Ali said a lot of things that were bold statements. The difference between guys like Muhammad Ali and Chael is that guys like Muhammad Ali actually believed. No matter how much [Sonnen] tries to convince himself that he's going to win this fight or that he's a champion without a belt, he just doesn't believe. And that's why he comes up short in every opportunity he gets to be a champion.

He doesn't have a championship soul, work ethic, nothing. I'm not going to quit in front of all these people. I'm not going to quit on my dreams. I'm not going to tap on my dreams. You're going to have to take them from me.

Sonnen has stirred quite a bit of controversy in the build-up to this fight, with many MMA fans and pundits stating that the UFC Tonight host only got this match (and a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter) due to his silver tongue.

Still, it's hard to say that Sonnen's ability to hype a fight has hurt his career. In the last three years alone, he's headlined two UFC pay-per-views against his former nemesis Silva while setting himself up for a third main-event role against Jones on April 27 in New Jersey's Prudential Center.

While Sonnen is a longshot to win, Jones is the clear favorite, aiming to break the UFC record for consecutive light heavyweight title defenses set by Tito Ortiz (five).

But if the young champion somehow loses, the potential fallout could wreak havoc in the 205-pound division for years to come. Not only would it damage Jones' long-term plans for a dominant legacy, but it could also create a new rush of contenders looking to take Sonnen's belt.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionPC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania & The LA Times.