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Monday, 04/22/2013, 01:30 pm

UFC 159 Conference Call Highlights: Sonnen Wins Battle Of Words, Bisping / Belcher Trade Jabs

Instead of firing off multiple barbs, Chael Sonnen showered compliments onto Jon Jones during Monday’s UFC 159 media conference call, proclaiming the current UFC champ as – among other things – the greatest light heavyweight in history.

The often-verbose Sonnen was the opposite, heaping praise by bushels.
“(Jones) was talking about Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson earlier… Jon could beat the both of them up in the same day,” Sonnen said.

“He’s the best the weight class has ever seen.”

Saturday’s UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen will be held at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Many are expecting a one-sided affair in the UFC light heavyweight title fight between Jones (17-1) and Sonnen (27-12-1).

“The thought of going home without my belt makes me angry,” Jones said. ““I’ve studied Chael a lot, his interviews, I’ve familiarized myself. It’s just another situation. I’m calm, relaxed, and composed.”

Sonnen was asked to compare Jones with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who Sonnen had one epic fight and a super-hyped rematch with.

“I stomped (Silva) for 30 minutes and he got the jump on me in less than 30 seconds. Then he didn’t knock me down, I fell down,” Sonnen said. “I think Jon is considerably better than Anderson. Anderson is not pound for pound, he’s not round for round.”

During the call, Jones said his future plans include establishing the most wins in the light heavyweight division (a win over Sonnen will time him with Tito Ortiz) sometime in November then entertaining super fights or a move to heavyweight.

As far as some fans feeling that Sonnen, a perennial middleweight for years, didn’t earn his chance at the title, he cracked.

“I don’t earn title shots, they earn me,” he said. “I don’t earn main events, they earn me. I’m a Republican. I take what I want.”
Sonnen’s vaunted wrestling game has been deemed his only way of winning on Saturday. Jones seemed perturbed that many think the grappling edge unquestionably goes to the Gangster from West Linn. When asked if Sonnen’s wrestling prowess was a concern, Jones said he has worked his bottom game more than ever before.

“I’ve mesmerized other wrestlers I have fought,” Jones said. “Chael’s shots are automatic. Like there are no thoughts. He has great timing but all I hear about is his wrestling, and his ground and pound. No one respects my wrestling at all. I don’t think my junior college accolades get any respect. Chael doesn’t do any damage with his ground and pound. Anderson’s face was fine after. Everyone I takedown, I cut them right away.”

Jones will be fighting near his home state of New York.

“It’s the Mecca of fighting,” Jones said. “Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson. I’m honored just to be having open workouts at (Madison Square) Garden.”

In addition to Jones vs. Sonnen, UFC 159 showcases a middleweight bout between Alan Belcher (18-7) and Michael Bisping (23-5) and a heavyweight fight between Cheick Kongo (18-7-2) and Roy Nelson (18-7).

Bisping was the only fighter to get overly aggressive with his verbiage.

“A win over my will be the biggest win in his pathetic career,” Bisping said. “No one gives a f**k about Alan Belcher. It’s going to be nothing more than a formality. All I have to do is slap your little face and take my check.”

Belcher seemed little impressed with the exchange.

“I am able to separate my emotions,” Belcher said. “This is the most nervous I have ever been. In all of the fights I’ve lost, I wasn’t excited. I want this fight more than anything.”

Sonnen did comment on a recent run-in with a Brazilian UFC fan.

“I don’t know a ton about it,” Sonnen said. “I was focused on five different locations and (when it happened) I didn’t miss a beat.”

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