Making the Case – Five Reasons Why Chael Sonnen Will Walk Away With The UFC Light Heavyweight Title at UFC 159

To Read Scott Sawitz’s Five Reasons For Jon Jones, Click Here

Since the matchup was announced, Chael Sonnen has been a heavy underdog in his upcoming fight with UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones. Everybody outside of Sonnen and his camp (and probably a few people in his camp) believe Jones will win this fight. If Jones continues his streak of eliminating top-shelf competition, the results of UFC 159 will be no different. But Chael Sonnen was a guy who not too long ago was the equal, and at times the better of Anderson Silva, the clear #1 P4P fighter in the world and greatest of all time. He may be an underdog, but Sonnen certainly has a fighting chance to come out with that strap. So let’s take a look at a few reasons why Chael P. Sonnen, not Jon Jones, will win come fight night.

1. First and foremost, simple underestimation.  Jon Jones drastically underestimated Vitor Belfort and almost lost his title and an arm to him. He adjusted in a big way, but he was maybe a centimeter away from losing. So he won’t make that mistake again, right? Wrong. Sonnen is coming off of a KO loss and hasn’t even taken a fight at LHW before stepping in the Octagon with the champ. Jon Jones is expected to win this fight, and win it easily. There’s a lot of pressure there. Everybody is probably in his ear telling him how he’s going to defeat Sonnen, how Sonnen won’t present any true challenges. Jones is still very young and prone to a young man’s errors. At times he walks a line between confidence and arrogance. Jones has discussed what will follow after his almost assured victory, mentioning a superfight (Anderson Silva being the only possibility) or a fight at heavyweight. Sonnen has no such lofty goals at this point, his entire focus is on Jon Jones and Jon Jones only. You can bet Sonnen isn’t underestimating Jones at all, he even stated Jones is better than Anderson Silva. Sonnen has been underestimated before. The last time that happened, he almost became the new middleweight champion.

2. Testosterone replacement therapy.  Like it or not, TRT is a reality in MMA today and guys who probably would be retired without it are able to compete at a high level with it. Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson are three big name guys who are in their late 30’s/early 40’s that benefit from TRT. Realistically, the body goes through it’s natural phases for a reason and these guys probably shouldn’t be fighting anymore. Dan Henderson is 42 years old. 42. He’s got 13 years on me and my body aches from playing pickup basketball three times a week. Guys like Hendo and Sonnen train MMA for a living and they are fighting some of the best guys in the world. TRT is essentially a youth tonic, an artificial way to turn back the body’s clock, and that’s needed for a guy at Sonnen’s age, who fights at this weight class the way he does. If Sonnen wins come this Saturday, TRT will be a big reason why.

3. The Dolce Diet.  Famed “nutritionist to the MMA stars” Mike Dolce brought some attention to Sonnen’s weight and physique a few weeks back when he stated Sonnen is at 240 and in the best shape of his life. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact the diet has on Sonnen’s physique and overall physical ability. Cutting down from 240 to 205 is no easy task, but Dolce is renowned for getting fighters to make weight in a smart and healthy way. Many fighters have benefited from working with Dolce, and it’s only another positive for Sonnen and his training camp.

4. Wrestling.  Jones has been defensive about the perceived differential in the wrestling skills of both fighters. Jones’ wrestling acumen certainly deserves a lot of credit, but the fact remains: Sonnen has one of the best wrestling pedigrees (if not the best) of any fighter Jones has fought. It’s not just the wrestling that will help Sonnen win, but obviously how he uses it. Sonnen is very good at getting dirty in the trenches and that’s exactly what he needs to do to beat Jones. Jones is one of the best technical strikers in the game today, right up there with Anderson Silva. He’s also one of the most athletic and explosive fighters today. Giving Jones the time and space to get surgical is not the way to beat him. Sonnen has to stifle Jones, absolutely stifle him. Look for Sonnen to control this fight with his wrestling and clinching skills and make it an ugly affair against the cage and on the ground.

5. Desperation.  Let’s be honest. This is it for Sonnen. He’s already left the middleweight division after getting thrashed by the champion, and that was a rematch he got because he was winning the first fight. If Sonnen loses badly to Jones, he probably won’t sniff another title shot at LHW again. Realistically, where does Sonnen go with a loss here? Chances are it’s down, and only down. Sonnen’s best moment was pounding on Anderson Silva for four and a half rounds before having victory snatched from his grasp in the final minutes. The rematch was vintage Silva. Sonnen, somehow, lined up a TUF gig and a title shot in the LHW division without even taking a fight at LHW before Jones. That will be his third title shot and a loss in this one, especially a bad loss at the age of 36 and you’d have to wonder what would be next.

Sonnen didn’t earn this fight the hard way, he was given the fight because he sells, plain and simple. Recent UFC promos have Sonnen describing himself as the best fighter on the planet. We all know that to be far from the truth, but that’s what Sonnen does: promote. However, another loss here and it’s probably the last time we’ll see Sonnen fighting in a title fight, regardless of how well he can promote a fight. There comes a time when actions have to back up words, otherwise people will stop listening. Bottom line: if Sonnen wants to be a champion, this is likely his only shot now. That kind of desperation may lead him to fight with reckless abandon, and it just might win him a title.

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