The Half-Guarded Truth
By: Mike Coughlin
A column where I tell you nothing you don’t already know about Saturday’s UFC
So, here’s where I say (write) that Chael Sonnen isn’t going to beat Jon Jones on Saturday. He’s smaller than Jones, older than Jones, less skilled than Jones, and his primary tool – wrestle the other guy a lot – is the one skill above and beyond all others that Jones has shown a prodigious ability to easily defeat (See: Bader, Vera, Hamill, Matyushenko, O’Brien, Evans). This is a recipe for disaster.
Now, here’s where I say (write) that Chael could beat Jones. Yes, mostly because anyone can beat anyone in MMA, and Sonnen has actually proven himself to be a pretty darn good fighter over the years. After all, Anderson Silva was looked at (still is) in the same way as Jones prior to fighting Sonnen and Sonnen dominated to the point of coming within a whisper of beating Silva. I don’t care if you’re a middleweight or light heavyweight or Rumbleweight, you can’t be anything besides awesome to do that to Silva.
Given that upsets in these situations happen generally because one fighter severely underestimates the other one, Jones could easily be forgiven for super duper uber severly underestimating Sonnen because: it’s Chael Sonnen fighting Jon Jones. Hell, I’m pretty sure Sonnen is underestimating Sonnen. Jones has done this before, when he probably underestimated Vitor Belfort and almost had his arm ripped off as a result. Throw in rumors (Reports? Imaginings?) that Jon randomly took three days off mid-camp to propose to his girlfriend and, well, maybe he didn’t learn his lesson and actually is looking past Sonnen. Hey, it’s the punch you don’t see coming that knocks you out.
That said, Jones might be able to beat Sonnen while blindfolded. However, Chael is a tough dude. Behind all of his bluster and promotional over-the-top-ness (a real term, trust me) is a guy who presses the fight at every chance. Sonnen doesn’t give his opponents a chance to breathe and find a rhythm. He walks right up to them, throws punches, and brings them to the ground and then punches them some more. If you beat Sonnen, it’s because you’re better than he is; not because he gives you the chance to do so. You earn victories over Chael.
But again: Sonnen is smaller, older, less talented, and his style is tailor made for Jones to walk through. Chael is going to lose and Jones will make it look easy. I don’t know if it will look like Jones’s easiest win - because the overwhelming majority of his fights have looked like a man beating a child - but it will be swift and decisive. There will not be a judging controversy following Saturday’s main-event.
Still if Sonnen does win? That sure would be something. If you can (almost) shock the world once, why not twice? Past is prologue; Sonnen beating Jones is one hell of a story.
Mike Coughlin shocked the world by writing this. Or, he didn’t.