Chael Sonnen received more than his fair share of criticism after he was placed in the next UFC light heavyweight title fight despite not competing in the weight class in more than seven years.
Sonnen is currently filming the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite UFC champion Jon Jones, and once the show is completed he will face him in the Octagon with the 205-pound title on the line.
One person that Sonnen probably didn’t expect to criticize him for receiving the shot at the belt was longtime friend and training partner Dan Henderson.
Henderson was originally slated to face Jones at UFC 151 in September before suffering a knee injury that forced him out of the bout. When the news about Jones vs. Sonnen was first announced, Henderson sounded none too pleased and voiced his opinion on Twitter saying, “I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to (expletive) talking school.”
He later stated that he had nothing against Sonnen, but that him receiving the title shot “degrades the sport of MMA.”
Sonnen apparently hasn’t had a chance to catch up with Henderson since the comments were made, and didn’t have a lot to say about his old teammate when the subject came up on Tuesday.
“I haven’t spoke to him. I haven’t spoke to Dan. I’ll leave it at that,” Sonnen stated.
The question about Sonnen “talking his way” into a title shot has become the standard for criticism about the former middleweight title contender getting a crack at Jones without a single fight since losing to Anderson Silva at UFC 148.
Sonnen has no problem with anyone who says he talked his way into the fight, because it’s absolutely true, but it only took one word for him to get the shot.
“I keep hearing that I talked my way into the fight, and guys, it’s true; but the word that I used was ‘yes.’ When the chance came and they said do you want to fight? I said yes,” Sonnen stated.
“Contrary to what it may look like on TV, this guy’s pretty darn good, and there’s not a lot of guys that want to fight him. Contrary to what the oddsmakers may say, (I’m) pretty good too and there’s not a lot of guys that want to fight me. A lot of guys complaining about me getting the fight with Jon, but not one of those guys said, ‘I want to fight Jon,’ not one of them.”
No matter what is said now, Sonnen did get the fight and the chance to coach on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Jones. The end result is expected to be higher ratings for the reality show and probably one of the biggest pay-per-view draws for all of 2013.