Chael Sonnen challenges critics to a ‘tune-up’ fight
Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E Sports) – Former top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen is willing to take on fighters criticizing UFC president Dana White’s decision to give him a title shot against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
“I have no problem getting a tune-up fight and slapping anyone of those guys around, including the karate kid,” said Sonnen, referring to former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyodo Machida.
Machida was one of the fighters who criticized White’s decision to give Sonnen a title shot against Jones.
“With all respect, but for me, Chael does not deserve the title shot,” Machida said on Twitter. “I would like to know what he has done in the light heavyweight division (to) deserve (it)!”
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson shared Machida’s sentiment, taking to Twitter that “I guess I should just quit training to win fights and be exciting for the fans and just go to trash talking school”
Henderson was scheduled to face Jones Sept. 1 at UFC 151 in Las Vegas but he suffered a partial MCL tear that forced him to withdraw from the bout.
White then offered the bout to Machida, who declined to take the fight on short notice.
Sonnen (17-12-1) then stepped up, saying he’s ready to face Jones. But the champion decided against fighting Sonnen on eight days’ notice and UFC 151 was canceled.
Now, Jones and Sonnen are scheduled to fight April 27 probably in New Jersey, according to White.
To hype up the fight, White has decided to assign Jones and Sonnen as coaches of opposing teams in the UFC reality show “Ultimate Fighter”.
“Welcome to life. We don’t deserve things, you get what you get,” said Sonnen during a media call for “The Ultimate Fighter”.
For his part, Jones said he views the pairing as an opportunity to put all criticisms behind for turning down the earlier offer to fight Sonnen.
Jones (17-1) is recovering from an elbow injury he suffered during his victory over Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto.
“I’m injured,” Jones said. “I have nothing to do but to try to heal, be in Vegas working with some of the best physical therapists I can, put Chael Sonnen behind me and to give the fans what they want. All in one go.”