It’s been a rough week for the now-former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, but perhaps his only solace is that whoever is crowned the new Light Heavyweight Champion on May 23 — especially if it’s Daniel Cormier, who Jones defeated this past January — UFC fans won’t look at them as the real champion, and they’ll be waiting for Jones to return to the Octagon and take back what he never really lost.
Chael Sonnen — who, like Jones, is currently serving a suspension — said on his podcast that he doesn’t agree with the UFC’s decision to strip Jones of the title. Sonnen also added that the UFC should have either cut Jones from the roster or they should have let him hang onto the title.
“Listen, if you want to come down on a guy, you release him. That’s it. You don’t keep him but take his belt away. Not even in professional wrestling would they do that. Take a guy’s belt without him being out due to an injury? Without him losing one, two, three? It doesn’t work that way.
“So let’s just make believe that it does. You’re going to punish Jon Jones for a legal action in Albuquerque, which has nothing to do with a fist fight taking place in Nevada, but let’s pretend. What the hell do you do with him then? Does he not fight main events anymore? If he’s not fighting for titles do we move him over to [Fox Sports 1]? Who does he fight? Does he fight the other No. 1 contenders?”
Anthony Johnson — who is the number one contender for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and was originally scheduled to face Jon Jones on May 23 — will now fight Daniel Cormier, with Cormier stepping into the fight on just about three-and-a-half weeks notice. Sonnen, like many UFC fans, believes that the winner of that fight shouldn’t accept the championship. If the winner does, then he’s “a punk.”
“If Jon Jones stays in the division and you accept a title while he’s still in the division and you didn’t beat him, you’re a punk. You’re a punk! I would never put a belt around my waist knowing the guy five feet away from me is the true owner of it.”
Back in 2013 at UFC 159, Chael Sonnen faced Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and Sonnen came within 27 seconds of winning the title, but not in a way that would make him proud. The fight ended in the very first round via TKO, but during the round, Jon Jones broke his toe, and the injury was so bad that if the first round would have concluded, the doctor would have stopped the fight, therefore Chael Sonnen would be crowned the new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, which may have been the most disappointing and unpopular finish to a title fight in UFC history.
Who knows when Jon Jones will be back in the Octagon, but one thing is for sure. Whoever wins the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 187 won’t be looked at as the true champion of the division until they’re able to fight and beat Jon Jones.
[Image via Ethan Miller / Getty Images]