UFC star Jon Jones was handed a one-year suspension from the sport by USADA yesterday, but it seems he intends to stay active in the mean time, starting with a high-profile grappling match next month.
Soon after USADA’s ruling yesterday, Chael Sonnen announced on ‘The MMA Hour’ show that Jones will face the recently retired Dan Henderson in a submission grappling match at his ‘Submission Underground’ event in Portland, Oregon on December 11th.
“I don’t think that affects it,” Sonnen said of Jones’ USADA suspension. “… Grappling never has in the past, but the commission, if they ask for something, particularly if you’re making a deal, you want to do it their way. So I imagine there could be some red tape there.
“I don’t have a concern about it. But I suppose we have to go back to the other side and make sure there’s nothing missing there.”
If the match does go ahead it won’t be the first time Jones and Henderson have planned on locking horns with each other.
The two were previously booked to headline UFC 151 on September 1st of 2012, but the title fight was canceled after Henderson suffered an injury.
The event was then consigned to the scrapheap after Jones refused to fight Sonnen on short notice instead – the first time in the promotions history that they’d decided to bin a pay-per-view show.
Back in the present day, Sonnen told Ariel Helwani that it was actually Jones’ idea to rekindle that old match-up for the grappling show.
“The deal was pretty easy. Jon had come to the table pretty quick, and Jon suggested it,” Sonnen said. “He said, ‘why don’t we do Dan Henderson?’ We were in talks with Nick Diaz, Michael Bisping wanted the match, and we kind of took Jon’s advice. We thought, well, you know what, that does make some sense. That’s the match that never happened, and we might be the only promotion to ever get these two guys together. So there it is.”