Earlier this year, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones vacated his title to move up to the heavyweight division. As a result, a lot of people thought that the much-anticipated fight between him and current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya might never happen.
However, things have changed in the last couple of weeks. UFC President Dana White has revealed that Israel Adesanya will be moving up to light heavyweight to challenge the current champion Jan Blachowicz, who picked up the vacated title in September by defeating Dominick Reyes.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Jon Jones' coach Mike Winkeljohn talked about the potential Israel Adesanya fight and predicted the end result of the contest.
Jon Jones' coach has zero doubts about 'Bones' winning
Winkeljohn has seen Jon Jones from up close for a long time now, and he has also seen other light heavyweights and heavyweights train with him in the gym. He revealed that all of them are surprised by Jon Jones' skillset and reach inside the cage, and that Israel Adesanya will be no different.
"I’m not sure if Izzy’s fought a Jon Jones before as far as length goes. And definitely nobody has fought Jon Jones as far as skillset goes. I know everyone that comes to my gym. They’re big heavyweights, they come in, and I think they’re immediately surprised by how big Jon’s presence is in the cage when they start working out with him."
Winkeljohn is confident that Jon Jones can beat Israel Adesanya in any way he wants to. He believes that this can happen either on the feet or on the ground.
"If in Jon’s mind he says, I’m gonna beat him on the feet, that’s what he’s gonna do. But if Jon says, you know what, I’m gonna go home and just secure the win and show him what MMA is all about, welcome to my world, I’m sure he’ll take him down and bloody him up with elbows."
However, Jon Jones' team has ample respect for the UFC Middleweight Champion as well. Winkeljohn did not shy away from giving credit where it is due. He called Israel Adesanya a "hard guy to figure out" and said that he is very impressed with The Last Stylebender's performances inside the Octagon.
"I’m always amazed at some things he does. I think to myself, gosh, if he only does these things against him, and then Izzy makes a small correction and solves that problem. So, he’s a hard guy to figure out in that he has so many skills and such great timing, great speed and takedown defense. He’s so well-rounded and getting better. He’s getting better every fight. I’m watching it, I’m real impressed with what they’ve been able to do with the team down there in New Zealand."
Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones might happen at heavyweight
Even though everyone is expecting Jon Jones to return to his former division now that his arch nemesis is moving up to light heavyweight, his coach made it clear that Bones is not changing plans for anybody - not even Israel Adesanya.
Winkeljohn said that if the fight does happen, it will be at heavyweight.
"My first thought is heavyweight. Have Israel come up to heavyweight... Jon’s current mindset is to get to heavyweight. That makes sense. Once he puts all that mass on, there’s no reason to come back down. What’s the purpose of that? Go back down to chase Izzy? Absolutely not. Jon’s the man, that’s why he’s the greatest, and people need to chase him, and he’s a leader, he’s the leader of the sport."
Israel Adesanya has already said that he will move up to heavyweight to fight Jon Jones if that's what it takes. He predicted that he will be facing Jon Jones in June-July next year in what will be the "biggest fight in UFC history".
After all that went down between the two fighters on social media, it will not come as a surprise if either of them make certain adjustments to their plans to make this superfight happen in the near future.
H/t to MMA Fighting for the quotes.
Published 09 Nov 2020, 20:38 IST