Jon Jones is a giant of the Octagon, a fighter respected for his all-around ability and fine record stretching back a decade.
He is ranked by UFC as the best fighter, pound for pound, still active today and was the youngest champion in the promotion’s history when he defeated Maurício Rua at age 23 in 2011. H
e is a two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, remaining undefeated in more than 11 years. He also held the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and has a professional record of 26-1, with one no-contest.
The one encounter he did lose against Matt Hamill in 2009 came through a very questionable disqualification.
Still only 33, Jones is a towering figure over the UFC promotion and his proposed bout with Israel Adesanya is rated by Bwin Sports as one of the most anticipated fights in MMA this year.
They have an intense rivalry, something Jones capitalized on earlier this year after Adesanya lost his first professional fight at UFC 259, taunting his potential adversary.
The New Zealand-born fighter may now need a victory again Jones to reignite his career especially if he cannot get past Marvin Vettori this weekend, having lost his proud unbeaten record, but how do you go about defeating a legend?
The answer is ‘with great difficulty’ because Jones is a fantastic well-rounded fighter who can grapple, strike and surprise.
Here are three core elements of Jones’ fighting style, which make him a formidable opponent, and someone Adesanya should approach with extreme caution should this mega fight ever happen.
Bones, as Jones is known, has an incredible 84.5” reach, and he is a master striker. The critical component in his arsenal is the jab, but his overall striking style is a cross between Muay Thai and boxing.
He doesn’t just use those arms though; he can produce devastating strikes with kicks, preferring a push kick to the knee in many instances. You never know what is coming next from Bones, nor what stance he might adopt in the Octagon, which makes him unpredictable and dangerous.
He is even known to use his elbows to devastating effect in bouts when the situation allows.
Whilst his strikes are a real threat, Bones can wrestle as well, and his credentials speak for themselves. He is a 2005 New York State Wrestling Champion, National Junior College Wrestling Champion, and a Greco-Roman All American.
In the space of a year, he faced accomplished wrestlers Ryan Bader, Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans, and he didn’t hit the canvas once.
He has excellent balance and is incredibly agile, which makes him difficult to get to the ground. And let’s not forget what he did to Daniel Cormier when they faced off.
On the Ground
If he gets an opponent to the ground, forget about it, the bout is over. He loves to drop elbows when an opponent is on the mat, and if he sees an opening, he will use his ground and pound until the referee steps in.
If the opening isn’t there to unleash strikes, he can turn to alternative means of getting a win using his BJJ to great effect.
He is a master of numerous chokeholds, and his preferred is the guillotine. Although not on the ground, one of his most famous technical submission victories was against Lyoto Machida in 2011, where he executed a perfect standing guillotine choke.