Photo of UFC 151's Dan Henderson by Tracy Lee for via CombatLifestyle.com
Dan Henderson is an (almost) 42-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) "man" who has defeated 11 world champions in his storied career, while Jon Jones is a 25-year-old "kid" who bested four former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 13 months.
If you're looking for reasons to "Believe in 'Hendo'" at UFC 151 this upcoming Labor Day weekend at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Chael Sonnen has hopped on the campaign trail to help buoy the promotional push for his good friend and ancient Team Quest training partner.
"I believe in Hendo, and so should you," Sonnen said in a recent press release. "If you look at Jon Jones and think of a man who can beat him, you would think of someone with great KO power, the best chin in the sport because -- with his reach -- Jones is going to hit you, great wrestling and a relentlessly aggressive style. That man already exists -- and his name is Dan Henderson."
Sonnen, who recently announced his intentions to return to the Light Heavyweight division and is expected to take on Forrest Griffin at the promotion's annual year-end pay-per-view (PPV) event, has already bristled "Bones" with a few potshots from the "UFC Tonight" studio on FUEL TV. He branded Jones a "punk" and then revealed his desire to "play clean up" once Henderson wiped the floor with him in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jones "fired back" via Twitter.com, calling Sonnen a "cheater" and daring him to step to his face, but it's safe to say that the former two-time number one Middleweight contender was likely just setting up a distraction for his old pal, as well as looking to build a contrived beef that gets him a date with Jones sooner rather than later.
And Jones took the bait hook, line and sinker. So, never one to miss out on a potential marketing (and at this point, much needed boost), the UFC is doing its part to fuel the fire.
"This fight on September 1 is a fight to determine who is the greatest ever light heavyweight," said Sonnen. "I give Jon Jones his due as a great fighter. He's beaten some outstanding fighters already and looked impressive each time. He's already accomplished so much in the sport -- just not as much as Dan Henderson."
Indeed, Jones's name has already been mentioned in "Greatest of All Time" (G.O.A.T) conversations alongside UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, among others. It might be a bit premature, especially considering there are question marks as to whether or not he can stay focused and sustain his success, but the talent to one day be recognized as the best evah' certainly exists.
Henderson, while certainly not as flashy and definitely not as successful inside the Octagon, has been consistently impressive since Jones was just 10 years old.
"Dan beat the 170lbs champion in Carlos Newton, he's won the PRIDE 183-pound title, the PRIDE 205-pound title, the Strikeforce 205-pound title, and he's won the two great tournaments in our sport, the UFC tournament back in the day and the PRIDE Grand Prix," said Sonnen. "The man is the best of all time. That is who Jon Jones is facing."
In other words, don't be surprised if you witness a geriatric upset in "Sin City." In fact, you better "believe" it, baby.
"Jones is a talented kid, but he's taking on a man, and I'd bet on the man any day of the week," Sonnen concluded.