UFC 152 takes place Sept. 22 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. According to UFC President Dana White, Sonnen is anticipating another last-minute change to next week’s UFC 152 event. The two-time middleweight title challenger is expecting to replace Vitor Belfort and take his shot at Jones‘ light heavyweight belt.
“Chael Sonnen is in full training camp right now,” White told MMAjunkie.com. “He’s been training since he got offered the Jones fight. He said, ‘I’m in full camp right now because Vitor will get hurt and pull out, and it will be Jones vs. Sonnen, anyway.”
Jones was originally expected to face Dan Henderson in the main event matchup at UFC 151 until Henderson was forced to withdraw from the fight with a knee injury. Sonnen was offered up as a replacement opponent on just eight days’ notice. Jones and Greg Jackson declined the fight, and UFC officials decided to scratch the entire event.
Jones was then moved to UFC 152. He was originally expected to face Lyoto Machida, but Machida also turned down the fight, and Belfort stepped up to take the fight even though he has been currently fighting at 185 lbs. Belfort is fighting for the first time since a January win over Anthony Johnson in a 197-pound catchweight fight after “Rumble” failed to make weight. He was scheduled to fight fellow “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” coach Wanderlei Silva at June’s UFC 147 event, but a broken hand suffered in training led Belfort to withdraw from the fight. Sonnen is putting his money on a similar thing happening again and expecting to still get his fight with Jon Jones. Either way you look at it, at least Chael is always ready to fight for his company unlike some people.