A week out from UFC 151, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones declined to fight Chael Sonnen as a replacement for the injured Dan Henderson based on the lack of preparation time. When the smoke cleared, the card was cancelled and Jones ended up defeating Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, having explained he didn’t feel Sonnen deserved a fight with him. All that has changed now as the two 205ers have been selected to coach the Ultimate Fighter 17 with a match-up scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.
The two will lead teams of middleweights on the upcoming run of episodes before squaring off against each other on April 27.
“This should be a good one,” said UFC President Dana White after telling the LA Times about the development. “Jon has accepted the fight. He knows the fans want to see that fight.”
In Jones’ bout against Belfort, the veteran Brazilian came close to submitting him via Armbar, though “Bones” toughed the hold out and eventually escaped. After the fight, Jones said he thought he may be injured, though he has since learned he won’t need surgery on the limb but rather extended time to do physical therapy. White noted that this was part of the reason Jones was booked for TUF.
White also revealed the change in plans means Sonnen will NOT fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 155 as originally expected. No replacement has been announced. The king of trash-talk is coming off his UFC 148 loss to Anderson Silva, opting to move up to light heavyweight where new challenges await.
The show is set to start filming in the coming weeks with a January debut planned. The UFC will hold a conference call with Jones/Sonnen on Wednesday (and Five Ounces of Pain will be on the line, relaying highlights back to readers as it goes down).
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC