Chuck Liddell: Jon Jones should have stepped up to fight Chael Sonnen at ill-fated UFC 151

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Just when you thought we were done talking about UFC 151, the event that never was, Chuck Liddell piles on.

A few days before Jon Jones defends his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore, Md., ghosts that "Bones" likely thought were just bad dreams are resurfacing again.

Jones was the recipient of major backlash from fans, fighters and media alike after he refused to step up and face Chael Sonnen on a few days notice at UFC 151 back in 2012 after his original opponent, Dan Henderson, was forced to withdraw because of an injury.

That forced the Zuffa-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion to scrap the event altogether, leaving plenty of people upset, and some, out of paychecks.

According to former 205-pound champion and UFC Hall of Famer, Chuck Liddell, had it been him in that situation, he would have taken the the late replacement fight, something "The Iceman" says "Bones" should have done.

Liddell broke it down during a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour" (via MMA Fighting):

"I would have done anything just to keep the fight. I'll fight anybody. I've already done all the training and I've already gotten ready for it. I'm in great shape and I'm the best light heavyweight in the world, I shouldn't be afraid to fight anybody."

Jones' decision to turn down the fight didn't sit well with most fans worldwide at first, which began a decline (albeit temporary) in the young champion's popularity.

According to Liddell, it's the excuses Jones made to reject the fight and the things he said after that has hurt him in the court of public opinion.

He explains:

"I think pulling out of [UFC 151] really fight really hurt him with the fans. That was, you're fighting a guy coming up from a weight class down, who, when you're given a chance, I heard an excuse about him being a southpaw, I mean, c'mon, you fought a [left hander] the fight before. And it's not like Chael is a slick southpaw, a slick striker, he's a brawler with the stance because he shoots that way. Pulling out of that probably hurt him with the fans, I mean, it's just I think some of the stuff he says they don't agree with. You can't have everything."

Jones eventually squared up against Sonnen one year later at UFC 159, defeating him rather convincingly in the very first round via technical knockout. Since then, the relationship between Jones and UFC president Dana White -- who was Jones' biggest critic for the UFC 151 drama -- seems to have been repaired.

And Jones seems to have recovered quite well, as far as his popularity goes, inking deals with Gatorade, as well as landing on the cover of the upcoming EA Sports: UFC video game.

Indeed, Jones can seemingly do most, but not all things like his biblical brand suggests.

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