• UFC 151

Jon Jones: I would have fought Rashad at UFC 151

ESPN staff
September 4, 2012

Jon Jones has put forward a forthright argument for why Chael Sonnen was denied a UFC title shot on eight days' notice, despite the consequential cancellation of the UFC 151 event.

Jones was widely castigated for his refusal to fight Sonnen after original opponent Dan Henderson pulled out with a knee injury. The UFC had to cancel the UFC 151 fight card, costing the company, fans and fellow fighters significant amounts of money.

The light-heavyweight champion will now meet Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, and he insists Belfort's morals and ethics make him worthy of a title shot, even if his recent record does not.

"[Chael] has a 5-6 record in the UFC and lost his last two fights. Why would I put a world championship on the line against a very dangerous opponent but one who hasn't even remotely earned the right to consider himself to be in the position to fight for the world title," Jones told The MMA [After] Hour.

"That's like winning the jackpot and I refuse to be anybody's jackpot… I clearly said that I would not allow Chael Sonnen to jump the line by using his mouth. And what was he doing? Jumping the line by using his mouth.

"It's like, why would I contradict myself when I clearly just said that I think Chael Sonnen is a racist? The way he treats Brazilians is totally uncalled for; I have zero respect for him.

"I am honoured to fight Vitor Belfort - he is a Christian like I am, a respectable man, a good classy clean-cut guy. Chael Sonnen is a punk, he's a thug.

"He calls himself the American Gangster but he ratted out all his friends in that money laundering situation? That's not gangster. He's a straight punk. He won't be remembered… Chael's words hold no substance."

Jones insists the eight-day period made it difficult for him to accept any fight, due to the lack of time to prepare tactically. Only one man, Rashad Evans, would have been given the green light.

"The only person I would have fought would have been Rashad Evans because he is very similar to Dan Henderson… Rashad Evans, stylistically, would be the only match similar enough to what we had trained for," Jones said.

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