At UFC 159 Saturday, Chael Sonnen came remarkably close to winning the UFC light heavyweight title.
The fight itself was an absolute blowout that Sonnen was on the wrong end of, but an injury to champion Jon Jones nearly produced an unlikely outcome to a very unlikely matchup.
After stopping Sonnen in the first round, Jones noticed he had fractured a toe. Once he sighted his gnarled foot, he seemed rather shocked and had to sit down for his post-fight victory speech.
Had Sonnen survived the first frame Jones likely would have been forced to concede the match, which would have made Sonnen the new UFC light heavyweight titleholder.
While its every fighters dream to become champion, being handed a title for sheer luck is not considered the ideal way to become one—a sentiment many fighters have echoed in the past. But of course, Sonnen has never been one to follow the pack.
When questioned by MMA Mania about nearly becoming champ via injury, the challenger stated:
Diplomatically, you don't ever want to win that way. The ones that hurt are those you are supposed to win and then blow it—you do something, work against yourself and open that window for your opponent. When you're getting beat up, and you don't get a 'gimme,' that's not going to keep me up at night. That's my diplomatic answer. In reality, I would have grabbed that belt, snatched the microphone and told the crowd, 'he with the gold rules' and I would have walked out to the boos and never looked back.
Both humorous and candid, the answer is actually somewhat refreshing. Because while I'm sure any fighter would rather win a title by dominating their opponent, few would rather be beaten to a pulp than be gifted a fluky win.
Of course, few aside from Sonnen would probably act like they did dominate the fight afterward.
Luckily for Jones, he was able to finish within the first frame. Had he allowed Sonnen to survive, he may very well have lost his title and been subjected to a great deal of trash talk from his opponent about the one-sided beating he had just received.