Heading into the UFC 159 main event at the Prudential Center, in Newark, N.J., on Saturday night, the big question was: Could Chael Sonnen pull a Buster Douglas-like upset over Jon Jones and shock the MMA world into a fisticuff frenzy?
For anyone expecting an upset, however, this wasn’t Tokyo and is a completely different sport. Jon Jones easily dispatched of the “Gangster from West Linn” in the first round with a brutal barrage of ground and pound.
The youngest champion in UFC light heavyweight history, Jones started the fight off with an immediate power takedown.
As he ripped Sonnen to the mat and began pummeling him with elbows and postured punches, it was obvious to those watching that Jones was out to make a point.
Making a statement was the narrative of this particular fight, something Jones was quick to point out in his post-fight comments.
“I really wanted to ‘Chael Sonnen’ Chael Sonnen, and I think I did that,” Jones said in reference to the workmanlike, grinder style Sonnen is known for.
With the end coming at 4:33 of the first round, and as a victorious Jones lined up for his post-fight interview with UFC announcer Joe Rogan, viewers witnessed a grotesquely memorable moment as Rogan noticed blood pooling around Jones’ foot.
At that moment, both men realized that Jones had broken his big toe.
“Aw, man!” exclaimed Jones as he looked down at his mangled foot.
The Endicott, N.Y., native limped away in a brief moment of disgust, but returned for his post-fight interview in a moment of unbridled professionalism.
As Jones hobbled over, the magnitude of the broken foot began to sink in.
“Well, I wasn’t planning on breaking my big toe,” Jones said with more than a hint of displeasure. “It’s all nasty, man. I was supposed to go to Jamaica, man. “
In a bit of shock, Jones went on to credit his opponent for a worthy match.
“I’m just happy to get past Sonnen. He’s an awesome opponent. We went though a lot of drama.”
A dejected Sonnen followed Jones on the microphone, and apologized to those in attendance, explaining that he had every intention of dethroning the world’s greatest light heavyweight.
“I just wanted to beat him. I really wanted to beat him,” Sonnen proclaimed solemnly. “I thought I had more for him. He beat me, he’s a better man.”
Having previously lost twice to middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva, and now failing against Jones, Sonnen fell short of making a decision on his career, but was brutally honest about the prospects of him ever getting another title shot.
“I believe this was probably my last opportunity.”
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