Chael Sonnen is undefeated, undisputed, and with a win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in August at UFC on FS1 1 he could conceivably earn all title shots from welterweight up to heavyweight. Last night on an episode of UFC Tonight: Fight Edition, Sonnen talked about his upcoming fight with Shogun, and said he knew of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira's injury well in advance, as was the case (according to him) when Dan Henderson hurt his knee prior to UFC 151: (via MMA Fighting)
However, on Sunday's episode of "UFC Tonight: Fight Edition" on FUEL TV, Sonnen, who is scheduled to fight Shogun Rua on Aug. 17, admitted he was tipped off about not only Henderson's injury but also Antonio Rogerio Nogueira's recent injury, which led to Sonnen getting matched up against Rua.
"You know, it really got put together through Little Nog's cowardice," Sonnen said. "I've been training for Shogun for a while. I knew this was going to happen. This kind of reminds me of the time me and Dan Henderson set up Jon Jones on eight days' notice."
Sonnen then turned to the camera and said, "he finally admitted it."
Sonnen memorably stepped up on a week's notice to fight Jones at UFC 151, but Jones turned it down and the event was canceled due to the puzzling lack of interest in a Jay Hieron/Jake Ellenberger PPV main event. Fans had speculated at the time that the Team Quest teammates effectively tried to pull a "bait and switch" on Jones.
Chael ended up getting the title shot anyway, as well as a coaching spot on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter. He soundly outcoached Jones on TUF but was easily stopped in the 1st round in the actual fight on April 27th.
This new claim by Sonnen contradicts statements made at the time by Henderson himself and Sonnen's manager Mike Roberts:
"Chael didn’t know anything about it," he said. "He had definitely not been training at all. My guys told me that Greg Jackson said in an interview that Chael was down training with me and getting ready for the fight and knew I was hurt. It was nothing like that at all. He wasn’t even down here. I asked him if he wanted to come down and help me train a couple months ago, but he didn’t come down."
Sonnen's manager Mike Roberts also echoed Henderson's claim.
"Everybody's saying that Chael knew about Dan being hurt, that's why he was talking about Jon (Jones). No, Chael was talking about Jon because Jon is the 205-pound champion and that is where Chael is shooting for; that's who he wants to fight."
It's entirely possible that Sonnen isn't telling the truth and he's just toying with the media and fans yet again. Otherwise, he's effectively confirmed prior suspicions that he knew of Hendo's injury in advance and thus was preparing to face Bones at UFC 151. What do you believe?