Jones v. Sonnen may be a financial windfall, but it denigrates the UFC Light-Heavyweight belt. Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports.
Sonnen was knocked out in devastating fashion by Silva in the second round at UFC 148. That dropped him to 0-2 in his two bouts with Silva. Whether or not he won five of the seven rounds against Silva, he didn't win the fights. He lost.
One of the things that White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta did in taking control of the company in 2001 was to try to structure the titles in a way that they meant something.
There has been a path to a championship that is transparent and understandable. No one was given title shots just because of their name or who their manager happened to be, as has been the case far too long in boxing.
As Iole mentions, the UFC roster has been devastated by injuries of late. It becomes very hard to sell a pay-per-view full of lightly fought rookies, last minute replacements, or the ton of MMA fighters on roster that aren't household names. There's a limit to the number of "Superfights" any fighting sport can realistically have. Boxing has Pacquiao-Mayweather now, and in the future they might have something with Andre Ward vs. Canelo Alvarez but there's only ever going to be two or three big names out there in adjacent weight classes that anyone really wants to see.
The UFC is in the same boat. Anderson Silva vs. George St. Pierre would be a GREAT fight, as would Silva vs. John Jones, but in each case one fighter is going to be giving up significant size to step in against a man who's at the top of a bigger division. The fans want those fights, but they rarely live up to the hype.
The biggest problem is that the casual fight fan is terribly uneducated and only knows a handful of fighters, most of whom headline credible cards against lesser known foes. While the hard-core fight fan realizes that Silva v. Weidman is a great fight, it's not going to have the juice of Silva v. Jones no matter how hard the UFC promotes it.
During it's early heyday the UFC had a roster full of star-caliber fighters who, unfortunately, were nearing the downside of their careers just as viewers were tuning in. Fighters like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Rich Franklin and Quinton Jackson generated viewer interest on the downsides of their career. Today's fans never got to see Bas Rutten fight, and that's a shame. He was a better striker in his prime than anyone fighting today.
The real shame is that, in many cases, most of the young up-and-coming fighters are more well-rounded and better fighters than many of the "stars" of the past. The casual fight fan doesn't see that however, clamoring for fights with the names they know. This leaves Dana White & Zuffa in the unenviable position of trying to cobble together profitable fight cards with a roster of healthy fighters with little buzz.
Remind you any of boxing? (Minus the corruption that is.)