Remember when you first heard the story of the three little pigs? If you’re anything like me you might have questioned the mental capacity of pigs one and two in regards to their choice of building material. In a roundabout way the same could be said of UFC light heavyweight Chael P. Sonnen.
The former middleweight turned light heavyweight contender will face UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones this Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. This fight has turned into one of the most highly anticipated bouts of 2013, but for the wrong reasons.
Sonnen is known around the mixed martial arts world as the greatest trash talker to ever grace the octagon. His brand of sarcasm, wit and WWF-esque persona has given the 36-year-old the ability to market himself like no one before him. While many find him abrasive, cocky, and let’s be honest, annoying, it’s clear that Sonnen always seems to get the last laugh — no matter what.
However, looking toward Saturday’s showdown with Jones I’m not so sure that we’ll be laughing after it’s all said and done. While Sonnen may prove to be a formidable opponent (one that will last three or more rounds) many have questioned the validity of this match. In other words, Sonnen didn’t earn a shot at the title, he talked his way to the title. So I have to ask: Who should we be mad at?
Personally I’m not so sure there’s any blame to be placed. Let’s be honest for a moment and realize that Sonnen is selling more than his shot at the title. He’s selling a rivalry, fight card and the fact that he’s a legitimate threat to the Jon Jones title reign. While many may not buy into all those conclusions wholeheartedly we’re still left with the possibility that Chael might actually pull this off.
If you harken back to the buildup for UFC 117, Chael talked so much trash to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva he had to have his own personal garbage man available 24/7. Fortunately for Sonnen, he backed up his talk with one of the greatest performances/matches we’ve seen. Will lightning strike twice for Sonnen?
Much like his match with Anderson Silva, the majority within the MMA community are not giving Sonnen much of a chance against Jones. Frankly, Chael hasn’t earned it either. However, the three little pigs eventually got their stuff together and defeated the big bad wolf. On Saturday will Sonnen do the same or will be known as the one who always cried wolf?
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.