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Chael the champion? It almost happened at UFC 159
NEWARK -- The man who used to call himself the champion and walk around with a championship belt without actually winning a title fight nearly earned the ability to rightfully call himself "champion."
Chael Sonnen was 27 seconds away from winning the light heavyweight title at UFC 159 on Saturday at the Prudential Center.
Not necessarily because he was dominating Jon Jones. The fight actually went the other way as Sonnen was manhandled rather easily by the 25-year-old champion Jones.
But Jones broke the big toe on his left foot somewhere late in the first round, a compound fracture where the bone broke through the skin.
The adrenaline flowing through Jones' body for the fight prevented him from even noticing the break during the fight.
But if Jones wasn't able to finish Sonnen, he presumably would have seen the break in between rounds and doctors would have had to stop the fight.
At that point. Sonnen would have won the fight by technical knockout and become the champion.
"That would have been horrible had that happened," UFC president Dana White said.
Jones said after the fight that his coaches wouldn't have left him stop fighting, adding that one of them would have "popped it back in" or something like that.
Admirable approach, sure, but likely not medically acceptable by the New Jersey Athletic Commission.
"When I get in there, I just want to know who’s better," Sonnen said. “If they would have called the fight right there, I wouldn’t have any illusions. I knew in the first five minutes who the better fighter was. . . . I got my questions answered tonight.”