Exclusive: Chael Sonnen Says Dan Henderson Was Bothered By Collusion Rumors

Chael Sonnen says Dan Henderson wasn't happy about his conspiracy talk about Jon "Bones" Jones.

Weeks before the ill-fated UFC 151 pay-per-view, then-light heavyweight title challenger Dan Henderson was injured. Henderson didn't notify the UFC immediately that he'd be unable to compete against Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Around the same time, Henderson's friend, Chael Sonnen began taking shows and angling for a fight with Jones. When Henderson's injury was later revealed, Sonnen was in place, and offered the bout, which Jones declined.

The situation led many to suspect, and Sonnen to later confirm, that he and Henderson colluded to position Sonnen for the fight. Sonnen told Fightful.com that he now denies those claims, and Dan Henderson wasn't happy about the accusations.

β€œI did not know that Dan was hurt," Sonnen told Fightful. "I wanted to fight Jon Jones, and it had nothing to do with the title. I thought he was an entitled brat who was overrated and fighting bums. After I got in there with him, I don't have that opinion anymore. I was going after Jon Jones, I wasn't going after the title, that was just a byproduct of his success. Dan and I are very close, and we've trained together since 1999. When that came out and I'd been posturing it looked like I knew. There have even been times that I said I knew to get under Jon's skin. Dan didn't like that. I said that one time and Dan got pissed and called me and thought that it made him look like he was a part of a conspiracy. I still don't get why Dan was bothered by that, because I thought it was all in good fun. Because Dan did say that, and he's an older member and someone I look up to and admire, I can't run the shtick anymore, I did not know.”

Henderson, who faces Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping for the title Saturday at UFC 204, never got his Light Heavyweight title shot. According to Sonnen, Henderson would have caused Jones trouble.

β€œHe would have given Jon more problems than people think. One thing about Dan that was at least true at the time – he had never lost a fight where he was the underdog. That was the spot that he liked, where he performed, whether it was Fedor or Noguiera. In the rematch, he was the favorite and lost. The underdog is the spot for that guy. It's what could have been. He beat Fedor and Nogueira, so don't act like Jon Jones was out of the realm of possibility," said Sonnen.

You can hear Fightful.com's exclusive interview with Sonnen above. We'll have full, live coverage of UFC 204 Saturday, including a post-show podcast right after the PPV.

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