Former UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen is confident Jon Jones will make a successful move up to heavyweight based on the reports he received about his training sessions.
Jones, former UFC light heavyweight king, is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. After a near decade of dominance, Jones seemed to have taken a step back in his last two outings against Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes. Although he came out on top of both close-fought battles, Jones looked far less convincing than his usual self.
Following the two razor-think victories, Jones decided to move up a weight class and has been in preparations for his highly-anticipated heavyweight debut for over two and a half years.
In an appearance on “Morning Kombat” with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell, Sonnen was asked to share his thoughts on Jones’ move up to heavyweight. Considering how close his last two outings were at light heavyweight, the host doubted Jones could replicate the same success at the higher weight class.
Sonnen backed his former rival to rule the heavyweight division based on what he learned from former two-division champion Henry Cejudo about Jones’ training with the reigning UFC 205-pound king Jiri Prochazka, and other elite athletes.
“Yes, doggone it he does and probably two,” Sonnen said. “He probably wins the interim and then the undisputed. I’m largely going off of rumors in the practice rooms, but campfire is real important. Henry Cejudo sees him. He’s in the practice room. He saw him with Prochazka, he saw him with these top guys, and Henry says he’s better now. That’s what he says.”
Sonnen Thinks Jones Wants To Be Questioned
The announcement of Jones leaving the light heavyweight division left many puzzled. Sonnen, who took to the octagon opposite Jones in Apr. 2013 and got handily defeated by TKO in the first round, argued that ‘Bones’ would like a challenge and wants to prove his doubters wrong.
“If Jon Jones hears you say that, he’s going to love it. He wants to be questioned, he wants to be challenged,” Sonnen said. “I really think he left 205-lb because it had been exhausted.
“I think he’s looking around and going, ‘yeah man, close fight with Reyes, close fight with Santos,’ but he was better than that. He wasn’t getting the training, he wasn’t getting the pull out of them, the audience was expecting too much from him. I think he wants to be in a position where he really is questioned.”
Sonnen Does Not Want Jones vs. Stipe Miocic
Jones was initially expected to line up with the current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. But contractual disputes, as well as injuries, kept the matchup away. Former champion Stipe Miocic emerged as the frontrunner to welcome Jones to the division in a debut for the interim title.
Sonnen does not believe a fight between Jones and Miocic would deliver as expected.
“He’s got a matchup problem. We took the last two years to move Jon into heavyweight in a way that he’s comfortable but also to tell the story to the audience. Can Jon Jones overcome a deficit? That deficit is simply going to be a size disadvantage.
“But now they are talking about putting him with Stipe,” Sonnen continued. “Jon’s going to weigh in heavier than Stipe and that whole two-year experiment is going to go up in smoke when they get to the scales. I think the right opponent is really important and I’m not sure I buy this Jones-Stipe match.”