Seasoned scrapper Dan Henderson has the utmost respect for Chael Sonnen. The two have worked closely together for years and spilled buckets of sweat alongside one another at the Team Quest training center. That being said Henderson is also a realist who has a good mind for MMA given his extensive experience with the sport and is rarely if ever afraid to offer up an honest opinion.
On that note, Henderson was recently asked about Sonnen’s chances against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones without a proper camp in place, as would have been the case this weekend had “Bones” accepted a proposed bout with Sonnen in place of the injured Henderson, and responded on the matter without a hint of bias involved.
“Chael might’ve done okay in the first round, maybe take Jon Jones down and then probably run out of gas pretty quickly,” said Henderson on The MMA Hour. “Being out of shape, for Chael to take Jon Jones down would require probably a little more energy than to bounce around the cage and exchange punches with him. So I think he definitely would’ve needed a little bit more gas than sitting on the couch for six weeks would give him.”
The former PRIDE/Strikeforce title-holder also dismissed the idea he’d informed Sonnen about the status of his injured knee weeks before telling the UFC as a way to let Sonnen start prepping for a potential go at Jones.
“My guys told me that (Jones’ coach) 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,”
Though sidelined for an undetermined amount of time while healing up from a torn MCL, Henderson has remained hopeful he’ll still get his shot at Jones – or potentially Vitor Belfort depending on how he fares against the champ in a few weeks – before the calendar rolls over into 2013.
“Whatever I need to do, I just want to fight,”
stated Henderson frankly. “I think myself and the fans would like to see me have that title fight, especially against Jon Jones, the fight everyone was kind of hoping to see. We’ll see what happens, but I just want to get back in there and fight.”