Chael Sonnen isn’t so sure there’s a necessity for Jon Jones at Heavyweight.
“Bones” vacated his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight title in early 2020 off the heels of an ultra-competitive Dominick Reyes unanimous decision victory (watch highlights). The idea for Jones was a long-anticipated run in the land of giants directly above him. However, midway through 2022 and fans are still waiting on the return and divisional debut of one of the sport’s all-time greats.
“Hey Jon, what are you weighing? What are you weighing? Because this whole Heavyweight thing, the whole Heavyweight thing was only contingent on us, the audience, believing with some kind of reasonable hope that you’re finally going to get your ass kicked,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Junkie). “That’s it. We don’t need to see you at Heavyweight. We don’t need to see your fat ass out there. We want to see you get beat. That’s it.”
During Jones’ lengthy reign over the 205-pound weight class from 2011 to 2020, Sonnen acted as one of Jones’ several challengers. Ultimately coming up short via first-round technical knockout thanks to some ground and pound blows (watch highlights), Sonnen was mere seconds away from toppling Jones via doctor’s stoppage thanks to a gruesome broken toe injury sustained by the champion.
A dominant champion through and through, Jones’ most memorable fights in terms of competitiveness can be highlighted as his first showdown with Alexander Gustafsson and recent battles with Thiago Santos and the aforementioned Reyes.
“Jon was ruining that division (Light Heavyweight),” Sonnen said. “He was ruining it through dominance. There was nobody that you could even imagine could deal with Jones. Jon had two or three split decisions … He won the decision but lost the fight [against Dominick Reyes], Jon vs. [Thiago] Santos was not supposed to go anywhere. Jon vs. [Anthony] ‘Lionheart’ [Smith] was not supposed to go five rounds.
“As fun as some of Jon’s matches turned out to be, nobody anticipated them,” he concluded. “This business does not survive without anticipation.”