While the trash talking hasn’t been overwhelming during the build to Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen’s UFC Light Heavyweight Championship battle at UFC 159, the banter from the defending champion has added a sense of realism in this verbal war.
The way the two fighters interacted on The Ultimate Fighter 17 was not the way most MMA fans expected it to happen; even letting a very vocal minority down.
As much as trash talking adds intrigue to this title fight, Jones told Forbes.com how Sonnen's ever-increasing chatter does not bother him leading into their fight:
He’s a guy who has a good takedown ability with pretty good boxing. The one thing I know for sure is that he loves to promote a good fight. After being on the show together, I have a better understanding of Chael and it’s going to help me in this fight. With this fight, I learned ‘don’t get emotions involved.’ Chael likes to try to draw emotions out of his opponents.
Sonnen loves to cut pro-wrestling style promos on his opponent and has no problem dragging their name through the mud in order to get inside someone’s head. Not only does this technique typically frustrate his foes, it builds serious hype around his fights.
More hype equals more pay-per-view buys, and that’s what the UFC wants from its top fighters.
If Jones is the new face of the UFC, Sonnen was brought in to be the bad guy in this well-publicized battle, just as he was for his fight against Anderson Silva. Dana White knows what Sonnen can do in and out of the Octagon, and that's make money.
While Jones will claim that he isn’t talking trash, the confidence that he carries and the way he speaks to the media oozes with self-assurance. The defending champion may not say he believes he will win at UFC 159, but his tone and mannerisms scream it for him.
That is the type of real chatter that makes trash talking so exciting. Sonnen is loud and aggressive with his words, but just like Teddy Roosevelt said, Jones speaks softly and carries a big stick.
Sonnen is in for a serious battle, but he already knows that; he learned from his loss to Silva and will do his best to avoid making the same mistakes in the Octagon this time around.
Jones has the size and skill advantage, but in the sport of MMA, no ending is too far-fetched.