MANILA – The title bout between ruling light heavyweight Jon “Bones” Jones and former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has effectively degraded the value of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight crown, according to a fight analyst.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Wagenheim said that although Sonnen is a marketable fighter, the Oregon native has yet to prove himself in the light heavyweight division.
“He hasn't fought in the 205-pound division in seven years, lost his only UFC bout at that weight and is coming off a loss in his chosen division. That's not a championship contender's résumé,” said Wagenheim.
“So if Chael is being handed a chance at the belt, we can only conclude that said belt is meaningless,” he added.
UFC President Dana White has tapped Sonnen and Jones to coach opposing teams in the 17th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
After their coaching stint, they will fight in April next year.
Wagenheim added that White may have granted Sonnen the fight to punish the light heavyweight contenders who refused to fight Jones when White was desperately trying to save UFC 151.
“It's also a convenient way to reward Sonnen while punishing those contenders (Machida and Mauricio Rua) who declined to fight Jones at 151 or 152,” said the analyst.