The shockwave from UFC 151 has yet to leave the minds of MMA fans, as a new story about the situation seems to surface each passing day. Most of the storylines have focused around Jon Jones and his refusal to face Chael Sonnen.
Jones seemingly didn’t want to face a fighter the caliber of Sonnen on only eight days’ notice, but later it seemed as if the decision was based around the possibility of a humiliating loss for the champion. The champ was right that a loss to Sonnen would be absolutely devastating, but it has done little to prevent fans from getting on Jones’ case.
Further complicating the situation was the fact that Jones had stated earlier that he had no interest in facing Lyoto Machida a second time despite the Brazilian earning a rematch after dropping Ryan Bader on national television. Jones’ reasoning was based on the fact their first encounter was Jones’ worst-selling pay-per-view headlined by the champion.
Now, after refusing a fight with Sonnen, and with Machida wanting more time, Jones will face Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. You know, the same Belfort that last fought at 205 pounds in 2007. Yet, Jones seems pleased with the outcome, evident from a recent tweet.
“Another former world champion, now this is what I’m here for…,” Jones said.
I’m not sure this is why Jones is excited about facing Belfort. Not that his legacy means much to fans nowadays, but a win against Belfort at 205 means nothing in present terms or in the future.
After complaining about possibly facing Machida and his outright refusal to fight Sonnen, there have been a number of fans that believe Jones is simply looking for an easier fight. I don’t believe a fight against Belfort is any easier than facing an out-of-shape Sonnen or an unprepared Machida, but it’s certainly a better stylistic fight for the champion.
He will enjoy a massive reach advantage as he always does, and will now only need to worry about the one-punch knockout power of Belfort. He’s yet to face a high-level grappler since ascending to the top and has been able to get past opponents by utilizing his reach advantage.
Whether or not you believe Jones is picking easier fights is up for debate, but the only clear thing is Jones’ business sense is nonexistent. He didn’t want to fight Machida because of low PPV buys, but a bout against Belfort will likely lead to just as few buys as UFC 141, if not less. But of course, UFC 152 should sell well due to the stacked nature of the card, though I fail to see how a bout against Belfort would be any more fruitful in financial terms for Jones.
In a matter of hours, Sonnen had every MMA fan wild with anticipation for a possible showdown with Jones. Sonnen didn’t deserve a title shot after the loss to Anderson Silva, but there’s no doubt fans would’ve tuned in to watch.
Now, instead of taking perhaps the easiest fight of his career for possibly the biggest payday, Jones will face the same high-risk/low-reward fight for less money against Belfort.
Photo: Jon Jones (James Law/Heavy MMA)