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Greg Jackson, coach for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, talks about Chael Sonnen as the next challenger for the 205-pound title and why "The American Gangster" deserves respect as the new (but unlikely) number one contender.
Are there lemon laws in mixed martial arts (MMA)?
After a less than enthusiastic response to yesterday's news that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones would be fighting Chael Sonnen, following their assignment on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, coach Greg Jackson has surfaced to sell you on their April 27 title fight.
From his appearance on Sherdog's "Cheap Seats" radio show:
"Sonnen is a great fighter. I've been in the trenches against Sonnen several times and seen what he is capable of when he is on, and [I've seen] what he does well. I would never disrespect Sonnen by saying, ‘Jon will roll right over this guy. That's a gimme fight.' Those fights don't exist. I've been a veteran of this sport for 20 years. I've done more corners than anybody, by far. I've seen examples of things that we should have 100-percent won -- just walked over people -- and it's either a tough fight, or we lose. [Sonnen is] a heavy pressure fighter. He gets inside your range really well. Sonnen is a guy who is left-handed, and he brings a different kind of style than what Jon has faced before, which is exciting for both myself and Jon. [Sonnen's] grinding, in-your-face style can be nullified. There's no doubt we can nullify it, but it is a little bit different than everybody thinks it is. Losing to Anderson Silva twice doesn't mean that [Sonnen] is washed up or that he's not effective as a fighter. He's actually a very good fighter, and he deserves a lot of respect."
Sonnen deserves respect.
It's that 205-pound title shot that he doesn't deserve. Not yet, anyway. Short-notice fight to save a pay-per-view? Not the ideal choice, but you do what you gotta do. I think fans can live with that. But it wasn't that long ago when fans were also told the winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson, as well as the winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson, would be vying for the next shot at Jones.
Sorry, Mr. Jackson, but this is a "gimme fight." As in, "gimme ratings."