Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 the fight to make if 'Hendo' is hurt

TUALATIN, OR - JUNE 26: Chael Sonnen rests after a workout at the Team Quest gym on June 26, 2012 in Tualatin, Oregon. Sonnen will fight Anderson Silva July 7, 2012 at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

UPDATE: UFC 151 canceled, Jon Jones refuses to fight Chael Sonnen with Dan Henderson hurt. Read full story here.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White recently told mixed martial arts (MMA) fans that former middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen won't be able to talk his way into a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones.

Turns out, he may not have to.

That's because White hastily assembled a UFC 151 conference call for later today (Aug. 23, 2012) to make a "major announcement" regarding, what we presume, is a change to the main event, where reigning 205-pound champion Jon Jones is expected to defend his strap against Dan Henderson.

But "Hendo," according to the rumor mill, may be forced to withdraw from the Sept. 1 pay-per-view (PPV) event scheduled for the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, due to an injury sustained in training camp.

Again, nothing has been confirmed or should be considered official at this time.

But if the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion does bow out, the next eligible contender is Lyoto Machida, who earned a second crack at the crown with a dominating win over Ryan Bader in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 4 earlier this month.

If that's not a fight that interests you, don't worry, it doesn't interest Jones, either.

"The Dragon," who fought admirably in the main event of UFC 140 late last year, was still finished convincingly in the second stanza. The mere appearance of first round success in the stand-up, however, was enough to sell White on the merits of a rematch, though we have "Bones" to blame for that. There's no one else in the division left for him to fight.

Except Sonnen.

"Jones vs. Sonnen" is the fight to make. In fact, it's a fight most MMA fans have already been talking about, thanks to Sonnen's unique ability to promote himself as a viable contender, despite his shortcomings against 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva in back-to-back "Spider" fights.

And a couple of rounds of shit talk certainly didn't hurt.

In addition, Sonnen is a longtime friend and training partner of Henderson, with ties to Team Quest and the original gangsters that many pundits consider the Mount Rushmore of MMA wrestling: Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Randy Couture and Matt Lindland.

It's a fight that sells itself.

Even if you strip away the chatter that doesn't matter, and put personal relationships on the back-burner, at the end of the day, Sonnen is one of the top fighters under the ZUFFA banner, and without sounding like a conspiracy theorist, it sure is convenient that he's suddenly a 205-pounder with nothing nice to say about Jones.


Maybe Henderson was hurt for a few weeks and Chael was making his move. Or, perhaps he just likes to start trouble and keep himself in the limelight. Either way, styles make fights, and I wouldn't mind seeing if one of MMA's best wrestlers can take down a fighter who's proven to be grappling kryptonite.

I can't possibly be the only one. Can I?

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