UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has changed his mind and decided to defend his belt against recent middleweight convert Chael Soonen April 27.
Initially, Jones rejected to fight Sonnen on eight days notice after Dan Henderson was forced off a Sept. 1 card because of a knee injury.
Zuff, the company that owns and operates UFC, decided to cancel UFC 151, which was a first in almost 12 years of business.
Jones went on to fight Victor Belfort on Sept. 22 in, where he preserved his title by a fourth-round submission. During the fight, Belfort hyerextended Jones’ right arm by locking in an armbar. Jones still has not fully recovered from the injury, thus the April date UFC president Dana White told the Los Angeles Times.
Sonnen is best known for giving Anderson Silva close fights in their two bouts. In 2010, he pushed Silva into the fifth round before surrendering to a triangle choke. In their recent bout in July, he suffered a second-round technical knockout.
Forrest Griffin and Sonnen were scheduled to fight at UFC 155, Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, before he was moved to face Jones. This would have been Sonnen’s first contest at the light heavyweight class with Griffin since he debuted in the UFC in 2005.
Sonnen has taken shots at Jones in the media and, especially, on Twitter, beginning in the weeks prior to the cancellation of UFC 151. Jones expressed disatisfaction for Sonnen by suggesting he did not deserve an opportunity to fight for the belt because it would “delegitimize” the championship. However, Jones has change his mind since that point in time.
“The more I realize how bad the fans want to see me fight Sonnen the more I’m beginning to disregard whether he deserves it or not,” Jones tweeted last Thursday.
Jones, 25, has a career record of 17-1 and Sonnen, 35, has a 27-12-1 record. To add to the hype they will both serve as coaches for the latest installment of “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX leading up to the fight. There has not been a location announced yet.