In the wake of the UFC’s decision to book Chael Sonnen in a bout with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, an infinite number of opinions have surfaced on the match-up with the overwhelming majority stating Sonnen has little chance at becoming the first foe to defeat the 25-year old phenom. Sonnen’s disadvantages entering the duel are well-documented, as is the notion he hasn’t looked particularly sharp at certain points in his career.
One man who isn’t willing to sell Sonnen short, however, is renowned coach Greg Jackson. The MMA mastermind spoke up about his star-pupil’s forthcoming scrap with Sonnen in an interview where he made it clear he’s been in the game too long to award “Bones” a victory before the two talented competitors have even stepped foot inside the Octagon to face off.
“Sonnen is a great fighter. I’ve been in the trenches against Sonnen several times and seen what he is capable of when he is on, and what he does well. I would never disrespect Sonnen by saying, ‘Jon will roll right over this guy. That’s a gimme fight.’ Those fights don’t exist,” explained Jackson in an interview with Sherdog Radio . “I’ve been a veteran of this sport for 20 years. I’ve done more corners than anybody, by far. I’ve seen examples of things that we should have 100-percent won – just walked over people – and it’s either a tough fight, or we lose.”
As far as what he feels Sonnen does well, Jackson pointed to skills rather than Sonnen’s ability to talk smack, stating, “Sonnen is a heavy pressure fighter. He gets inside your range really well.”
“People like Rashad are amazing fighters, but they play on the outside and then hit these wicked, very fast shots. Sonnen is a guy who is left-handed, and he brings a different kind of style than what Jon has faced before, which is exciting for both myself and Jon,” he continued. “His grinding, in-your-face style can be nullified. There’s no doubt we can nullify it, but it is a little bit different than everybody thinks it is. Losing to Anderson Silva twice doesn’t mean that he is washed up or that he’s not effective as a fighter. He’s actually a very good fighter, and he deserves a lot of respect.”
Jones-Sonnen are set to square off on April 27 after opposing each other as coaches on Ultimate Fighter 17.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC