Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sonnen: Jones Is Doing The Longest Training Camp In History

Chael Sonnen has branded former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones‘ ongoing transition to heavyweight as the “longest training camp ever.”

In February 2020, Jones, the then-205-pound king, went the distance with Dominick Reyes in the UFC 247 main event. After being awarded the debated nod on the scorecards, many expected Jones to meet Reyes in a rematch later in the year.

Instead, that tight contest was to be the last fans would see of “Bones” in the Octagon for over two years, and counting. After relinquishing the gold, Jones announced his intention to challenge for championship glory in a new weight class, heavyweight.

Through the end of 2020, an inactive 2021, and the first quarter of 2022, Jones has continued to provide video and image updates of the transition to his new division on social media.

Despite previously suggesting an early 2022 appearance was likely, Jones is now targeting his divisional debut for the summer.

During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Sonnen, a long-time rival and critic of the former titleholder, spoke about Jones’ layoff, branding it worthy of a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Jon Jones said, ‘I’m in training camp, I wanna be in peak performance by June or July, absolutely no discussions have gone on yet by the UFC…’ He doesn’t have a fight and he went a step further to tell us that those conversations and dialogue have not even started,” noted Sonnen.

“Now, he’s in training camp  — the guy’s in training camp for however the hell long he says he is. That’s how training camp works… Jon’s been in training camp for two years! This is like, Guinness Book-style stuff. Nobody has ever been in training camp for this long.”

Sonnen Defends Jones’ Lengthy Layoff

Of those who have spoken out about Jones’ antics outside the cage and frequent run-ins with the law, not many have done so as notably as Sonnen. With that in mind, it was no surprise when the 34-year-old returned the favor following the fighter-turned-analyst’s own recent arrest.

But despite the animosity between them, Sonnen actually defended Jones’ long period on the sidelines, describing it as a necessary timeframe for the tough weight adjustment he’s going through.

“This isn’t where I’m taking my usual opportunity to kick Jon Jones. It’s very legitimate. Jon had to do about nine months just to bulk up. And that’s extremely relevant… This hasn’t been done before,” added Sonnen. “Jon did this willingly, post 30 years old, and was so serious about it that he walked away from a world championship and the contract that comes with said championship… He wants to get to 240 (pounds). That is the magic number.

“Very few people will ever be tasked with this… It is a very difficult thing to do. It is particularly hard for an athlete like Jon Jones (to gain weight)… It’s a very hard process. It just takes time, which explains why Jon Jones has been in the longest training camp ever, which is two years, and now he’s talking about another half-a-year until he gets in there. He wants to be in peak shape. I maintain, I’m into this experiment,” concluded Sonnen.

The scene at the top of the heavyweight division is unclear right now. With Francis Ngannou facing nine months on the sidelines following knee surgery, it stands to reason an interim belt will be created in the coming months.

Should Jones follow through on his June/July claims, perhaps he’ll fill one side of a potential interim matchup. As for his opponent, the likes of Stipe Miocic, Curtis Blaydes, and Tai Tuivasa all have strong arguments for a title shot this year.

Are you excited to see Jon Jones return to the Octagon this year?

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