Bloody Elbow asked our man in New Mexico, Prickly Pair studio's Ari LeVaux, to speak to Jon Jones' striking coach Mike Winkeljohn about the decision to turn down a UFC 151 bout with Chael Sonnen after Dan Henderson was injured and pulled out of the fight.
Winkeljohn seems to insinuate that Sonnen was aware of Henderson's injury early and began training weeks ago to prepare for a possible bout against Jones. From Winkeljohn's perspective, Sonnen attempted to 'Pearl Harbor' the champ.
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Full transcript after the jump.
Winkeljohn: "Enough's enough. I can't sit back on the sidelines any longer. All I can say to everybody, don't put this on Jon. There are others to blame. This UFC 151 problem should have been resolved weeks ago. Chael Sonnen is a smart guy with cardio for days. He has relentless takedowns and is a much different fighter than Dan Henderson.
"How long has Chael been attacking Jon in the media? Hmm. He's a man known for moneymaking schemes and cheating by bending the rules. And he's done this in various arenas. I think Chael played almost everyone like a fiddle. But I believe like a coward he tried to train and strike Jon when Jon wasn't looking. But hey, Jon is a warrior, and he, actually we, saw it coming. All I can say to Chael is nice try.
"Jon vs Sonnen. With no surprise attacks like Pearl Harbor. That's a fight I want to see. Jon will win the war, and I think the UFC should capitalize on it."
BE: So, you're saying you want to see Jones vs Sonnen (just not on 8-slash-3 day's notice)?
Winkeljohn: "Oh yeah. There's nothing more that we want than that."
BE: To your knowledge was Jon Jones offered Chael Sonnen for UFC 152 in Toronto?
Winkeljohn: "To my knowledge he was not offered it. I'm not his manager. I do not know about that. I'm not sure why, or if there was some kind of contractual agreement elsewhere. But I know that Jon would be super-motivated to beat up on Chael in Toronto."