One teammate publically backing another to win a big title fight is probably to be expected, but nevertheless Chael Sonnen’s characteristically bombastic declaration that Dan Henderson will defeat UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 151 on September 1 has people talking.
Sonnen and “Hendo” have known each other a long time, both being signature members of the famed Team Quest since the 1990s. And “the American Gangster” – who last week announced his own move up to the light heavyweight division – believes his friend will blast his way to yet another big fight victory.
“I believe in Hendo – and so should you,” Sonnen said. “If you look at Jon Jones and think of a man who can beat him, you would think of someone with great KO power, the best chin in the sport because – with his reach – Jones is going to hit you, great wrestling and a relentlessly aggressive style. That man already exists – and his name is Dan Henderson.”
The two-time UFC middleweight title challenger went on to state the main event of UFC 151 is nothing less than a fight to determine the identity of the greatest light heavyweight of all time.
Sonnen said: “Here’s the thing people are missing about this fight at UFC 151. Yes, the UFC light heavyweight championship is on the line, but this is about more than who currently holds the UFC 205lbs gold.
“This fight on September 1 is a fight to determine who is the greatest ever light heavyweight. I give Jon Jones his due as a great fighter. He’s beaten some outstanding fighters already and looked impressive each time. He’s already accomplished so much in the sport – just not as much as Dan Henderson.
“Everyone talks about pound-for-pound champions and pound-for-pound achievements. But if you look at what pound-for-pound should mean – who has the ability to beat small fast guys, the ability to knockout big, strong guys, to move through the divisions with your skill-set and win – the only conclusion a rational person would make is Dan Henderson is the pound-for-pound greatest of all time.
“Dan beat the 170lbs champion in Carlos Newton, he’s won the PRIDE 183lbs title, the PRIDE 205lbs title, the STRIKEFORCE 205lbs title, and he’s won the two great tournaments in our sport, the UFC tournament back in the day and the PRIDE Grand Prix. All in all he’s beaten 11 world champions in his career. The man is the best of all time. That is who Jon Jones is facing.
“Jones is a talented kid but he’s taking on a man, and I’d bet on the man any day of the week.”