Jon Jones Looking to Prove Critics Wrong About “Being This Inferior Wrestler”
Says Sonnen Doesn’t “Damage Anyone” With Ground-And-Pound
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Chael Sonnen will be a massive underdog when he steps into the Octagon to fight Jon Jones at UFC 159, the pre-fight narrative has hung any chance he has of defeating the light-heavyweight champ on his renowned wrestling. Of course, a similar breakdown has been applied to most of Sonnen’s bouts, including his memorable fights with Anderson Silva.
While Sonnen has relayed in UFC promos for the bout that he’ll be able to take Jones down, and at “anytime” according to the outspoken fighter, it remains to be seen if he will. Unlike Silva, or notable middleweights that Sonnen has faced previously like Michael Bisping, Jones is an experienced, former collegiate wrestler. Then there’s also the matter of whether Sonnen will be able retain the top position if he takes the champion down.
“I wouldn’t say I’m concerned with his wrestling,” Jones said on a recent media call to promote Saturday’s bout. “I’ve worked on my bottom game a lot more than I have at any other camp, because where I’ve fought lots of other wrestlers in the past, I think I have been able to mesmerize them, and make them not use their wrestling, where Chael is a guy who doesn’t put much thought into it; he almost does it automatically.”
“He has great timing,” Jones furthered. “I’m comfortable with the idea of fighting off my back and I’m prepared to do so.”
Later on in the call, Jones also cast doubt on whether Sonnen will be able to inflict much damage, if he does take the Jackson’s MMA fighter down.
“He doesn’t really damage anyone with his ground-and-pound,” Jones said. “Anderson’s face was fine, all of his opponent’s faces were fine; I think Bryan Baker’s the only guy he’s made bleed with his ground-and-pound. Everyone I take down I cut them open right away.”
Although Jones says he’s confident in his abilities to negate Sonnen’s well documented top game, one that kept Silva on his back for nearly five rounds during their classic, 2010 fight, he believes the pundits are overlooking another possibility. What if it’s Sonnen, rather than Jones, who ends up getting taken to the ground?
“The story line is always ‘his wrestling, his wrestling, his wrestling,’ noted Jones. “It was that way with (Vladimir) Matyushenko, Ryan Bader and Rashad Evans. I don’t think anyone respects my wrestling; no one respects it all. I have a lot of pride going into this fight, and maybe I’ll take him down more than he’ll take me down. You never know.”
“I’m excited to go out there and prove my critics wrong again about me being this inferior wrestler,” the 25 year-old star added. “I don’t think people give my junior college accolades respect. I’m going to earn respect with this fight. I have great takedowns and I’m excited to see what he’s learned off his back.”
While Jones didn’t refrain from critiquing the abilities of his next opponent, Sonnen was extremely complimentary towards the champion during the call, and even credited the fighter as the best light-heavyweight of all time.
“I can’t afford to worry, or feel any type of feeling about him being kind or anything,” said Jones, when asked if he believes the compliments from Sonnen were genuine. “The thought of someone taking my nickname away from me, that nickname is “champ”, I take that very personally.”
UFC 159 will be hosted by the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.