Last week UFC President Dana White announced that Dan Henderson needed to pull out of his fight with Jon “Bones” Jones due to a knee injury. White was left scrambling for a replacement and was hoping he wouldn’t have to cancel the card on such short notice. When White called Chael Sonnen, who is coming off a loss against Anderson Silva, Sonnen accepted and was ready for a shot at the light heavyweight title. However, it takes two guys to make a fight and when Jones was presented with the opportunity to keep the card alive and fight Sonnen on short notice, he declined. For the first time ever, White was forced to call off an entire card and UFC 151 will not happen.
Chael Sonnen joined ESPN Radio in Los Angeles with Max and Marcellusto talk about why he was willing to accept the fight with Jones on short notice, whether he thinks it would be more ideal for his career to position himself for a better fight, when he is scheduled to fight next and why he thinks Jones was unwilling to take the fight with him.
On why he thinks Dana White called him:
“I think Dana just knew that he called the right guy. It’s just a matter of that. It was a situation where we could help each other. (Host: Dana called you, you didn’t volunteer?) No I didn’t know about it. Dan Henderson is a personal friend, very close and he did not say a word to me. I learned about this when everyone else did. Dana called up and said ‘hey do you want to fight next Saturday?’ My very first word to him was ‘who?’ I couldn’t think. ‘What do you need me for? You have this full card, you have Jones and Henderson and it just never crossed my mind.’ I didn’t know. Then he said ‘Jon Jones’ and I said ‘I’m your guy.”
Why were you so eager to take that fight?
“You have to. These opportunities come around very seldom and I don’t care who the guy is. I have never gotten into that. I hear all this crazy talk and game plans and watching footage and all this crap. These guys sit around with their coaches, gold teeth and eight grade education talking about fighting, I don’t even know what it means. If you want to fight me then I want to fight you. Great, let’s plan a venue and get it on. The bottom line is this is a world title fight. I’m in this to be world champion. I had an opportunity five weeks ago and I fell down.”
Wouldn’t it be more ideal to position yourself for a better fight?
“I think you’re asking me about what would be more ideal. We can play that game all day but that’s what stops people is the starting. People go on diet and exercise routines, they just never start them. I don’t care about those things. I don’t care about an ideal situation. I don’t care about moving up in weight or losing. I come from a wrestling background and I used to take on five and six guys in one day. Often times I would lose but I still got to come back an hour later and take on somebody else so I think from a boxing standpoint it’s a little bit different but from a wrestlers mentality you take on anybody at any time. I lost eight straight matches one time and my ninth match was against a world champion and I beat him coming off eight losses. That’s just the way it goes. You have to roll with it. I don’t sit around and feel sorry for myself ever.”
Who he thinks he will fight next:
“I’ve got an agreement to fight a gentleman named Forrest Griffin on December 29th but I don’t know. Jon Jones has a date on September 22nd and right now he’s fighting Vitor Belfort. Vitor never shows up, Vitor has pulled out of way more fights than he has ever shown up for so if I had to guess you’ll be seeing me fight Jon Jones on September 22nd”
What he makes of Jones not fighting him:
“I don’t know. I hear what their side said and it was just mindboggling for me because it has never happened. He was within his rights to do it. Let’s not forget Jones had an agreement and he was ready to honor his side of the agreement but the agreement changed. The new deal he was presented with he didn’t agree to. That was still a surprise though. That’s just simply never happened, especially when you’re the champion. This whole short notice routine, that doesn’t apply to a guy that is coming off a ten week training camp. The short notice routine is for the guy that was sitting at home or had no idea there was a fight coming up. The change in opponent doesn’t count, it’s the change in the fight. If you don’t know there’s a fight then they notice. It didn’t make sense. Nothing added up that he pulled out. I don’t know. He doesn’t need to be scared of anybody.”
What he would say to Jones:
“If I was to tell Jon Jones something, I would tell him I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. Good news Jon the first punch that I throw at you might not land. The bad news is there are going to be five more coming right after it.