No ‘Bones’ about it: Jones stands by rejection of Sonnen bout
New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones stood by his decision to reject a fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 151, stressing he had everything to lose in that situation.
Jones was scheduled to fight Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC 151 in Las Vegas Sept. 1 but the fight fell through when the latter suffered a knee injury.
In a quick fix, UFC tried to book Sonnen as replacement but Jones rejected him, forcing president Dana White to cancel an event for the first time in his 11 years at the helm.
Jones will face Vitor Belfort this weekend in Toronto at UFC 152.
“I don’t regret the decision,” Jones said in an ESPN interview. “I pretty much had everything to lose in that situation. Chael Sonnen is a guy whose record is, I think, 6-5, which isn’t a very good record to even fight for a world title.”
Jones added that it would be a bad decision to give Sonnen an “opportunity of a lifetime like that”.
Saying he’s not afraid of Sonnen, the UFC champion clarified that he is ready to face him anytime when he “rightfully earns the shot”.
Sonnen has a 6-5 mark in the UFC with an overall professional record of 27-12-1. He fought for the UFC middleweight title twice, losing both times to Anderson Silva.
Jones also revealed that Sonnen knew of Henderson’s injury before it was announced Aug. 23 and had secretly been preparing for the bout.
“It all seemed too suspicious that he was calling me out way before I had a clue my opponent was hurt,” Jones said. “People don’t realize Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson are actually best friends.
“Chael Sonnen knew his teammate was hurt, he obviously knew his teammate his was hurt. He had prepared up to three weeks for me. That would give me eight days, when he had three weeks,” he added.
Henderson and Sonnen both denied Jones’ accusation.
Meanwhile, Jones said he looks forward to meeting with White in Toronto for the first time since the fallout.
“I’m excited to talk to Dana,” Jones said. “Me and Dana are both what I consider great ambassadors for the sport of mixed martial arts, and us not being on the same page — it makes no sense. It gets us nowhere. We’ll squash it.”