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Chael Sonnen argues Jon Jones has been surpassed by Israel Adesanya: ‘You’re not one of the greats’

Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones may have settled their feud, but Chael Sonnen believes the arms race between the two UFC champions is still raging and Adesanya is winning.

“Jon Jones and Izzy, they have this weird thing going back and forth,” Sonam mused recently MMA time. “They don’t fight. They’re not split by one weight class, they’re split by two weight classes. Well, wrong – the fight goes on. They both want to claim to be the best, and a lot of them say they are. That’s how history will settle. It will be resolved by the will of the people.

“Izzy is beating him. What Izzy did (at UFC 290) and the attention that Izzy could control, the hype that Izzy could control, the checks he got, the money and the dollars he brought in — he’s following (Conor) McGregor’s position, and I’m telling you right now, he’s left Jon Jones in the dust. You don’t say Jon Jones. You say Adesanya.”

Adesanya and Jones are currently the two most honored UFC champions. Adesanya is a two-time middleweight champion, defending his title five times during his two defenses, while Jones is the most accomplished light heavyweight in UFC history. Jones, who defended his light heavyweight title 11 times, then moved up a notch to capture the heavyweight title with a first-round victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 in March.

Jones has dabbled in mixed martial arts promotion at various points in his career, most notably during his multi-year rivalry with Daniel Cormier, but not in the same way as Adesanya. From his strikes to his post-fight performances and everything in between, The Last Stylebender embraces the dramatic nature of fighting games. He did so again at UFC 290, when he engaged next title challenger Dricus Du Plessis in an intense post-fight encounter that became one of the event’s most discussed storylines.

For better or worse, Adesanya has been working hard to make the biggest fight possible during his time in the UFC. Sonam couldn’t say the same about Jones.

“Look, there’s a sport going on here, and Jon Jones, he’s very good at it. But then there’s the fight business, and it’s a game that not many people play,” Sonnen said. “Izzy plays, Connor plays. Jon doesn’t play the game. So it’s just, it’s a different level, it’s a different thing that’s going on with these guys. Like, if Jon reads this now, he won’t know what I’m talking about.

“These guys don’t even have to be in the game to perform. That’s where Adesanya is. Jon Jones missed the match with (Francis) Naganu because they screwed up that position. There’s a way to do that, you can make this fight happen. … Suddenly one of them is out of contract and Jon is mad and he wants to fight him. Well, you would have had a chance, but you were too busy with the sport to focus on business.”

“You could have fought this battle,” Sonam continued. “You want to go around and say you’re the greatest in the sport? Can’t you make a damn fight happen? Can’t you make a fight happen that the promoters want to happen? Then you’re not one of the greatest in the sport. You’re not good at it at all. You kind of hate it. That’s where he’s at, in business. He can punch and kick. So what? Try to pay the bills with these.”

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