Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be twice as exciting and twice the muscle as Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones coach opposite each other on the reality television show. The two great fighters will soon meet each other at the Octagon on April 27, 2013.
Jon Jones’ coach Mike Winkeljohn was partially involved in the decision to turn down Jones’ fight against Sonnen when UFC President Dana White scheduled a short notice fight. Jones was supposed to fight Dan Henderson but the later withdrew the fight because of an injury.
Winkeljohn was recently interviewed at the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” Show where the coach discussed the matchup, answered questions about Jones’ training and why they did not considered the fight in September.
Winkeljohn remarked when he was asked about their decision to turn down the fight against Sonnen: “I guess looking back at it; we didn’t know the whole card was getting cancelled. If we should have known the whole card would get cancelled, that might have changed the decision. I honestly thought Jon will beat Chael no matter what, but it was one of those decisions that, at the moment, fight him now and its 85, 90 percent. I’m that confident.” Winkeljohn added: “We hadn’t been working on that kind of guy, that kind of aggressive wrestler with a hard left hand. We had been working on Dan Henderson, who’s totally different. He throws a big overhand right. He’s great inside the clinch with his Greco. He’s kind of a different fighter, so it just didn’t make sense.”
When asked how their team finally made the decision to withdraw: “Things would have changed if we had more information, and I think Greg (Jackson) made his right decision, that he thought it was best just to wait… we all sat down and within 20 minutes we had that decision made.”
When asked about Jones’ training: “it’s time to develop new tools and that’s what Jon has done since he has come to camp. I’m real blessed that this young man listens. He went from being mostly a wrestler to now he’s turning over to become a great striker in the division. He’s almost there. He’s almost at that Anderson Silva place where he’s going to start getting those one-punch, one-kick knockouts.” The beaming coach even added: “Just wait. You haven’t seen anything yet.”
On Sonnen: “He’s relentless. Pressure. He’s always going to be on you… that pressure he comes to the table with.”