Chael Sonnen isn't fooling Jon Jones. Usually, Sonnen is the master of trash talk leading up to his fights, but he has been especially complimentary of Jones.
He said Jones would beat Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. He claimed that Jones was already the best fighter the weight class has ever seen, blah, blah, blah.
I see it all as a clever Jedi mind trick Sonnen is playing to throw Jones off his game. But it won't work.
This started as both men coached teams during the Ultimate Fighter 17. During a few interactions, it actually seemed like the two men were friendly toward each other.
Sonnen is smart. He knows that if he can get Jones to lose an edge, he has a shot at beating him. Newsflash, Chael: Jones is smart, too.
As the show came to an end, Jones became colder and colder towards Sonnen. During the TUF 17 finale, Jones refused to engage in any back-and-forth as Joe Rogan interviewed the two men.
Check out Jones' demeanor in this video:
Why did he give Sonnen the silent treatment? Because he had flipped the switch.
If Sonnen loses, should he retire?
He'd gone from fellow coach on a reality show to defending champion in preparation. Jones will not be caught off guard. If by some stretch he loses to Sonnen on Saturday night, it will be because Sonnen was the better man.
Logic says that won't happen.
Jones is too big, too strong and too well-balanced in his disciplines to be knocked off by Sonnen. The challenger is a premier wrestler, but Jones is exceptional in almost every aspect of MMA.
His size and speed will overcome Sonnen, and I predict a second-round KO.
Once the fight is over, Sonnen should seriously consider going into the announcing or promotional business full-time. At 36, he has what it takes to beat many of the fighters at middleweight and light heavyweight.
But not the Anderson Silvas and Jon Jones of the world. At this point in his career, if you can't be champion, what's the point?
Sonnen is good for the sport. He brings personality that most of the fighters don't have. After he loses on Saturday, however, it'll be time for him to make his points in a suit holding a microphone exclusively.
Follow me, because Royce Gracie started me on this MMA path, and now I'm out of control.