MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White said that it was Jon Jones' injury that led to their decision to arrange the light heavyweight champion’s title tiff against former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen.
White said he initially planned to pit Jones against Dan Henderson in February 2013 for the annual Super Bowl weekend.
But since Jones injured his arm during his recent title defense against Vitor Belfor, the light heavyweight champion won’t be able to fight until April 2013.
"This wasn't where I was going," White said in Yahoo! Sports of the Sonnen fight. "But when this happened and Jones was going to be out for so long, it made sense.” (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mma--jones-sonnen-may-be-a-financial-windfall--but-it-denigrates-the-ufc-light-heavyweight-belt.html)
White added that more fight fans are attracted to the prospect of pitting Jones against the trash-talking Sonnen.
However, he admitted that Sonnen, who fights as a middleweight, was virtually gifted with the shot at the light heavyweight title.
“I understand completely [about Sonnen not having won a fight at light heavyweight], but it's a fight people want to see," White said.
Jones and Sonnen have been tapped to coach opposing teams in the 17th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The show culminates with the UFC light heavyweight title bout between Jones and Sonnen on April 27 next year.