The UFC announced this week that Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones would be the coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, after which Sonnen would challenge Jones for his light heavyweight championship. While the show and the fight are both guaranteed to spark considerable fan interest, some have criticized the decision to give Sonnen a title shot since he has competed as a middleweight of late and has not earned a light heavyweight title shot in the traditional sense by defeating other top contenders in that weight class.
In fact, Sonnen was recently defeated by Anderson Silva in his quest to capture the middleweight belt, although Sonnen did come closer to defeating Silva than any other opponent in the UFC has done. However, Sonnen has no sympathy for those who feel he does not deserve to be in this situation.
During the UFC’s official conference call yesterday, Sonnen said,
“We don’t deserve things, we get what we get. And let’s understand, not one of those fighters said ‘Hey Dana, I’ll fight Chael. Let me prove that I’m the number one contender, let me fight that guy.’ Not one of them… And I’ve got no problem getting a tune up fight and slapping any one of these guys around, including the Karate Kid [Machida]. So not only do they not want to carry the heavy water and fight me, they don’t want to fight Jon Jones. Not one of them called out Jon. The only fighter to call Jones out is me. Nobody called me out.”
Although not all fans will agree with Sonnen’s assessment of the situation, of course, it cannot be denied that he poses a considerable threat to Jones’ reign. Whether you feel another fighter deserved the shot first or not, what is certain is that Sonnen – although he will be a decided underdog – has a very real chance of defeating Jones next April.