Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen: Title Fight Will Fail to Live Up to the Hype

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2013

Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jon Jones before fighting Rashad Evans in the main event and light heavyweight title bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

As poets laureate Public Enemy espoused back in the 1980s, don't believe the hype.

The Light Heavyweight Title fight between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 is going to be nothing more than a one-sided pummeling. Jones is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and Sonnen is an overmatched challenger who's used his mouth to get to the top.

If you haven't read Tim Marchman's wonderful takedown of Sonnen, do yourself a favor and check it out.

There's nothing admirable about the way Sonnen has gotten to the top. He's won fights, but without his mouth, Sonnen wouldn't be anywhere near the title picture. Sure, he's played the pro wrestling heel and managed to create a reaction. That doesn't give him a free pass to say whatever he wants.

Sonnen has almost turned into a caricature of the kind of boxers Muhammad Ali would face off against back in the 60s and 70s. They would make disparaging, often racist remarks toward Ali in an effort to try and throw the champ off his game.

All of Sonnen's talk belies his actual talent in the Octagon, especially compared to his opponent. The champion summed up the situation perfectly back in November (h/t John Morgan of USA Today):

"Chael definitely doesn't deserve to fight me, and everybody sees that," Jones told USA TODAY Sports. "As long as people see that at the end of the day, I'm happy with that. But at the same time, a lot of people have said, 'Why not be the guy to shut him up once and for all? Why not be the guy to make his words very irrelevant once and for all—put a stamp on what Anderson did to him.' That's what I'm going to try to do."

While vastly overrated by his die-hard fans, Sonnen is a fighter with skill. He took Anderson Silva to the limit in their first fight, and that can't be discounted.

But look at what happened in the rematch.

Silva took some blows, but none of them seemed to have much of an impact. The champion waited for an opportunity and found it with a knee that ended the fight in the second round.

Sonnen is a good fighter, but he's simply nowhere near Jones' quality. Jones is one of the best fighters in the world and may turn out to become one of the best light heavyweights in UFC history. There's something staggering about the almost effortless way in which he's won some of his fights.

The fans who will tune into UFC 159 for Sonnen vs. Jones likely fall into one of two categories. There's the Sonnen fans who want and expect to see him beat the champion. Then there's the other side, which—rather than being pro-Jones—is anti-Sonnen and want to see him knocked out or submitted, thus revealing him as the fraud he is.

Fans expecting the former are in for a big disappointment.