Although Jon Jones thinks a rematch with Lyoto Machida will do a poor pay-per-view buy rate, the UFC light heavyweight champion says he holds no such concerns about his UFC 151 matchup with Dan Henderson.
Jones recently came out and said a rematch with Machida — who is next in line for a UFC light heavyweight title shot — doesn’t interest him because the first fight with Machida at UFC 140 drew the lowest PPV buy rate of any of Jones’ previous title fights (it did 485,000 buys). Compare that to his fights with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 (490,000), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 (520,000) and Rashad Evans at UFC 145 (700,000), and you can see why Jones isn’t interested in fighting “The Dragon” again.
However, he believes next week’s fight with Henderson is going to be a hot seller.
“I think it’s going to do really well,” Jones told theScore.com on today’s UFC 151 media call in regards to how he expects the PPV event to do financially. “Dan Henderosn has a very strong and loyal fan base and I’m starting to develop a pretty strong fan base. I think this fight will do very well.”
His boss, UFC president Dana White, agrees with Jones that UFC 151 is going to be great numbers, and while he hopes it is as successful as UFC 145 was, he knows the back-story between Jones and Evans helped to sell their fight because fans believed Evans might have known the secrets to dethrone Jones since they used to train together at Team Jackson – Winkeljohn (unfortunately for Evans, he did not).
In contrast, White thinks Jones vs. Henderson will do well because it’s just a great fight for the fans, and says it’s not a mismatch at all despite what the betting odds might indicate.
“Obviously the animosity between Evans and Jones was a big deal, former training partners and whatever, but I think the real fact of the matter was that people thought Rasahd had Jones’ number,” White said.
“(But) anyone who thinks Dan Henderson can’t win this fight is out of their minds. I heard ‘Hendo’ is a 7-to-1 underdog [actually 4-to-1]. The guy’s been around forever and has knocked out a who’s who from 170 to heavyweight. Fans who really know the sport know ‘Hendo’ is a true threat to Jon Jones in this fight and I think that’s what makes it interesting and why people will buy it.”