The coaching assignments, as well as an April 27 fight date, have now been confirmed, and due to his coaching duties, Sonnen no longer will fight Forrest Griffin (19-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) at UFC 155 in December.
“TUF 17” filming begins on October 29 and the show then debuts on FX in January. The 17th edition of the UFC’s long-running reality series is expected to feature middleweight and light-heavyweight fighters. Open tryouts for the tournament-based competition and show recently drew more than 120 UFC hopefuls.
Jones and Sonnen will serve as head coaches of opposing teams. As with past seasons of “TUF,” their coach-versus-coach fight will headline a pay-per-view event soon after the series’ 12-week run.
Sonnen, who suffered a second loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva in his most recent bout, was targeted for a late-notice light-heavyweight fight with Jones at UFC 151.
However, when Jones declined to take the fight on eight days’ notice following an injury to original opponent Dan Henderson, UFC officials ultimately cancelled the September 1 show outright.
Although Jones said he offered to fight Sonnen a few weeks later at UFC 152, officials instead paired him up with Lyoto Machida and then ultimately Vitor Belfort, whom he submitted in the fourth round.
But since the UFC 151 cancellation, Sonnen hasn’t missed an opportunity to call out Jones. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jones recently tweeted that he was warming up to the idea of fighting Sonnen.
“The more I realize how bad the fans want to see me fight Sonnen the more I am beginning to disregard whether he deserves it or not,” Jones recently tweeted. “A part of me wants to do it for the fans. The other part of me feels as if it delegitimizes the importance of (the) championship.”
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