(Clearly, Jones needs to start training with Chael Sonnen. / Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)
By Elias Cepeda
On Saturday before UFC 165, a friend who is relatively new to watching MMA asked me a simple question that I would have felt like a jerk answering honestly. “What are Jon Jones’ weaknesses?,” she asked.
Given his near flawless career, even MMA neophytes had gotten the feeling that Jones was supposed to be something, well, what’s the term…“not quite human”? Yeah, that’s the phrase I was looking for.
So, if “Bones” was such a great fighter, did he have any weaknesses? That’s what our buddy wanted to know. I ducked the question then but won’t today. Call me a coward twice; it was and is the easy thing to do.
Of course Jones was never a perfect fighter. Perfect doesn’t exist. Certainly not in fighting.
Still, saying a guy is over-reliant on his one-strike power, speed and wrestling, and opts to fight flat footed too often sounds like nit-picking as long as said fighter’s one-strike power, speed and wrestling have proved dominant. Up until his meeting with Alexander Gustafsson, they had been for Jon Jones.
Before Gustafsson, Jones never had to fear anyone having quicker feet or hands than him, taking him down or surviving the power of his nasty elbows, kicks and knees. So, as he usually does, Jones fought flat-footed and mostly threw one strike at a time in quick bursts at UFC 165.
Sure, Jones got the decision win (thanks in part to a ludicrous 49-46 score in his favor from one judge) but he was far from dominant, and even the greatest light heavyweight of all time can take a few lessons away from his performance.
He got booed big time by the Toronto crowd Saturday when the decision in his favor was announced but I stand by my previous assertion that Jon Jones deserves none of our hate. So, as a documented and steadfast non-hater of Jones, here are a few unsolicited tips for the champ…
1) Stop assuming that you are the fastest, most dynamic fighter in the division. Heading into the fight, you laughed off the idea that Gustafsson had better foot work and hand speed than you. Guess what? Alexander Gustafsson has better foot work and hand speed than you.