COMMENTARY | On April 27, MMA's number one trash talker, Chael Sonnen, will square up against a man many consider to be the future of mixed martial arts, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones.
For Jones (17-1-0, 8 KOs), it will be his fifth title defense when the two headline the UFC 159 fight card at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Wondering how a middleweight managed to secure a title shot in his first fight in the UFC's light-heavyweight division since 2006?
Well, Sonnen (27-12-1, 7 KOs) used his mouth as always.
After coming up short -- once again -- against middleweight champ Anderson Silva at UFC 148, Sonnen realized it was more practical to set his sights on attainable goals. He decided to give the light-heavyweight division a try. Chael's first opponent at 205 pounds was supposed to be former light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin -- who he matched up well with -- but opportunity came knocking.
While preparing for his scheduled UFC 151 fight against Jones, former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson, was forced to pull out eight days away from their bout due to a knee injury. Jon refused to accept a fight against Sonnen on short notice, and UFC president Dana White decided to punish him for his defiance, throwing the 25 year-old under the bus while explaining the situation to media members and fans.
Dana even blamed Jon for the cancellation of the UFC 151 fight card.
Sonnen jumped all over the opportunity, firing off on Jones every time he found a microphone in his face. His verbal assault eventually paid off. It earned him a title shot against Jon and a coaching spot on the recently concluded 17th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Now, the time for talking has come to an end and Sonnen will have to back his words up inside the Octagon on Saturday.
While Sonnen is a lot better at fighting than his critics give him credit for, he'll need a miracle to get past Jones at UFC 159. Jones is bigger, stronger, faster than Chael is, and he's also technically superior in the striking and grappling departments. Factor in the fact that Jones seems to be mentally tougher as well, and it's easy to see why many expect Sonnen to fall short at UFC 159.
Sonnen's mouth has surely taken him further in the MMA world than his skills alone would have, but it's also his words that have gotten him into his current predicament. He now has to defeat the only man in the UFC who is arguably as good as "The Spider," or watch his title fight record in the UFC drop to 0-3.
Chael seems to understand how serious the situation is.
"You can't retire without a world title. You can just quit," Sonnen said during a conversation with USA Today. "I've never thought about quitting. I've never thought past this fight. ... Everything's on the line."
If "The American Gangster" ends up losing to Jones -- which will probably be the case -- at UFC 159, his words might no longer be enough to secure undeserved title fights.
Fortunately for Chael, even though his days of relevancy in the UFC might be coming to an end, his future couldn't be any brighter. He's likable (when he wants to be), he's an excellent salesman, and he isn't too shabby as a broadcaster either.
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