With the scheduled UFC 152 fight between Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort less than a week away, Chael Sonnen remains hopeful that he'll be the man fighting the Ultimate Fighting Championship's light-heavyweight champion on Saturday.
UFC 152 will take place on Sept. 22, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
According to UFC president Dana White, Sonnen is currently training like a man set to fight in a week.
"Chael Sonnen is in full training camp right now," White said during a conversation with MMAJunkie.com. "He's been training since he got offered the Jones fight. He said, 'I'm in full camp right now because Vitor will get hurt and pull out, and it will be Jones vs. Sonnen, anyway."
Sonnen displayed his marketing prowess after Jones refused to fight him as a replacement for Dan Henderson, in a last minute attempt by the Ultimate Fighting Championship to save the cancelled UFC 151 fight card. The "American Gangster" immediately went on a media tour, and he rounded up his loyal legion of fans, securing a shot at the UFC's light-heavyweight champion without a single fight in the division. At this point, it's only a matter of time before he gets to fight Jones.
Given the fact the UFC's brass seems more interested in bringing in casual fans than legitimizing their brand, Sonnen would probably be the first one White called if Belfort ended up pulling out due to injury.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if Jones refused to fight him again.
Regardless of how one feels about Sonnen, he does deserve a lot of credit for his ability to connect with his fans. "The American Gangster" knows how to give them what they want to hear, and he's managed to propel himself to the top of the UFC's food chain with his oratory skills. Not bad for a guy with a 27-12-1 professional MMA record.
John Morgan, "Chael Sonnen still preparing to face Jon Jones at UFC 152"
Fight and fighter information from Sherdog.com
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- Vitor Belfort
- Dana White