UFC 159: In Hindsight, Was Jones vs Sonnen the Right Fight to Make ?
When a fighter's big toe is the main storyline emerging from a title match, you know the fight was a dud. That was the case on Saturday as Jon Jones retained his UFC light heavyweight belt by dispatching Chael Sonnen in the first round.
Much was made about the decision to bump Sonnen to the head of the line for a title shot. When looking back on how everything went down, was it the right move for Sonnen to be main eventing UFC 159?
The answer depends on what aspect of MMA you want to look at.
The answer is undoubtedly no if you're looking at the context of the sport of MMA. Sonnen was embarrassed by Anderson Silva in their rematch. There should never be a case where a fighter loses and receives a title shot unless it's to step in on extremely short notice.
Even then, that type of move is questionable.
Not only did Sonnen receive the title shot after being TKO'd by Silva at UFC 148, he received it without even having to fight a top contender at 205 pounds.
With names like Lyoto Machida and Alexander Gustafsson ready to take on Jones, it's very clear that there were more deserving fighters on the UFC's roster than Sonnen.
But, as we know, MMA is much more than just a sport. It's also entertainment.
Sonnen is one of the company's biggest draws and one of its best hype men. When the fight was announced, fans were eagerly anticipating some great trash talking between the two opponents. Instead, Jones opted to avoid promoting the fight and Sonnen was left on his own.
He did his best to sell the fight despite the obvious mismatch. Their combined interview at The Ultimate Fighter Finale was either incredibly awkward or hilarious depending on how you saw it. Sonnen was in full hype mode while Jones responded with few words and stared at the floor like a bored child.
Despite the mismatch, the buy-rates for UFC 159 are likely to be solid due to the fact Jones always draws interest and Sonnen can sell people on oceanfront property in Idaho.
Sonnen both was and wasn't the right man for UFC 159. There were obviously more deserving competitors but none of them would've created the interest that Sonnen was able to muster.
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