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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Though Dan Henderson doesn't agree with the UFC's decision to book Chael Sonnen against Jon Jones, it's not going to affect his relationship with his longtime friend and sometime training partner. Indeed, Sonnen revealed on Thursday that Henderson will serve as one of his assistant coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 17. Not only that, but he hinted at something more to the recent comments from Henderson.
"Henderson and I are obviously up to something," Sonnen said in an interview with TSN's On The Record. "We're in cahoots. Henderson will be one of the coaches on this show with me and he will be cornering me on April 27 when I take what is rightfully mine, which is the Light Heavyweight Championship."
"So Dan and I are up to something. The question is: what?"
Sonnen then addressed getting his title shot in the division, one in which he's leapfrogged everyone else in the weight class he hasn't fought in since 2006, and gave a very Sonnen-esque answer.
"If you want to walk around and call yourself a champion, then you've got to fight everybody. That's where I come in to this picture," he said. "The light heavyweight division and the middleweight division aren't even comparable. As a matter of fact, we had our champion, a guy named Anderson Silva, [who] went up to their division and took on their former champion, a guy named Forrest Griffin. That fight lasted for 93 seconds. To compare the middleweight division where I was king for five years, to the light heavyweight division where Jon is the reigning king isn't even close."
"This is apples to oranges. When Randy Couture left that division, so did the toughness and integrity that was with it. So I am coming from a much tougher weight class - and granted I was a silver medalist - but I'm moving into a much easier spot. Those are the facts, and if you don't like it, I don't care. It doesn't bother me at all."
Penick's Analysis: Of course a lot of this is gimmicky responses from Sonnen towards Michael Landsberg on OTR, and he's said similar things on that show in the past. Still, it's not entirely surprising he'd plug Henderson into the mix after the fact. The two would probably fight each other if there was a belt on the line, but Sonnen would have to get past Jones in order to do that, and that's not something anyone outside of him and his most ardent supporters believe will happen. It will be interesting to see the reaction to Henderson's involvement on TUF after the backlash Sonnen's booking received.
[Chael Sonnen art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
UPDATE: It's not a done deal yet. Henderson commented on the prospect of joining Sonnen on TUF and being in his corner via text message to MMAFighting.com. On TUF, he said "Possibly. If I can get away." On cornering Sonnen, he said "Not sure. If he wants me there, I'm sure I would be there."
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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