Prior to UFC 151 being canceled Chael Sonnen offered to fight Jon Jones on eight days notice to prevent the event from being canceled. Of course we now know that Jon Jones and camp declined the fight with Sonnen.
There seemed to be some genuine interest in a Chael Sonnen/Jon Jones showdown even though Sonnen hadn’t fought as a light heavyweight in almost a decade. Some people wondered why the fight wasn’t just pushed back to UFC 152 when it was announced that Jon Jones would then face Vitor Belfort once Lyoto Machida turned down the opportunity to fight Jones. White provided the following quote from today’s UFC 152 conference call in regards to why Chael Sonnen didn’t fight Jon Jones at UFC 152 and how Belfort got the title shot:
Well, I can tell you this. People talk a lot of [expletive], but nobody is too excited to jump around and fight Jon Jones right now. Ya know, guys were out there saying I want the title shot next, I want the title shot next and when it came time for the to get the title shot they turned it down. Vitor Belfort is the only guy that called, he was blowing up Lorenzo [Fertitta] up, called him and said I want this fight with Jon Jones so bad. We respect that, we like that, so Vitor got the fight.
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Chael Sonnen didn’t have enough time to train for that fight [against Jon Jones at UFC 152]. Ya know, Chael stepped up last minute and accepted the fight and everything else and I have nothing but respect for him for doing it. But Vitor Belfort was already in camp, Vitor was already in training, Vitor begged for the fight and it made more sense.
It still seems odd that Belfort would be given the fight even though he was already in training camp. Belfort hasn’t fought as a light heavyweight since 2007. Sonnen would have had roughly four or five weeks to train for a fight with Jones. Sonnen had already announced that his next fight would be against Forrest Griffin as a light heavyweight. Dana White responded with the following quote for those that are not interested in a Vitor Belfort/Jon Jones fight at UFC 152:
Don’t watch it. If you don’t like this fight and you don’t think this is going to be a great fight, don’t watch it.
UFC 152 will take place on September 22nd in Toronto, Canada, at the Air Canada Centre with the main card airing on PPV with preliminary bouts airing on FX and Facebook.
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