MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: Jon Jones

Jon Jones’s Striking Coach Mike Winkeljohn Explains Why Greg Jackson Was Kicked Out of Corner at UFC 165


(Winkeljohn says that Jackson’s absence didn’t affect their fighter’s performance too much, but “it could have ended up a lot worse.” / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

video emerged this week showing a controversial moment during Jon Jones‘s title-defense against Alexander Gustafsson, but it was what could be heard in the video, not seen, that raised some eyebrows. In the background, the voice of what would seem to be an athletic commission official asks another man what his name is.

That man answered, “Greg Jackson.” Jackson, of course, is well known as Jones’s head coach, but he was promptly told that his name was not on the list of approved cornermen and forced to leave the area.

CagePotato spoke with Jones’s striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn — who was also in the champ’s corner that night in Toronto, but was able to stay there for the duration of the fight — and asked him what, exactly, happened.

“Normally for title fights a fighter gets four cornermen except for in Ontario where they have always just allowed three for some reason,” Winkeljohn explained. ”Heading into the fight, though, we were told that we had gotten permission to have four corners for Jon. We were all allowed to walk out and get in the corner with him and stayed there during the first round, but heading into the second round I could hear a commission inspector talking to Greg.

“I was trying to focus on the fight, on Jon, because it was a stand-up fight and I’m constantly speaking to him in code so it’s important not to have that communication disrupted. After the round, I find out that Greg was told to leave. We had permission from someone back there, but a different person — the inspector — for some reason didn’t let us. He was just doing his job as he thought he should, and you can’t blame him.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Targeted for February 2014 in New Jersey


(Don’t feel bad, Jon. There are insane, misguided women who would pay a lot of money for lips like those. / Photo via Getty)

No, there won’t be an immediate rematch of 2013′s Fight of the Year. UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN yesterday that Jon Jones‘s next light-heavyweight title defense will come against Brazilian contender Glover Teixeira. “That’s what the champ wants,” White said. “We’ll probably have that fight on the Super Bowl card in New Jersey.”

With Super Bowl XLVIII scheduled for February 2nd in East Rutherford, the Jones vs. Teixeira bout would go down the night before on February 1st, as per UFC tradition. Though White didn’t name a venue, it seems likely that the fight would take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, where Jones originally won his title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back in March 2011, and made his fifth title defense against Chael Sonnen earlier this year. (Hey, remember when we thought this event might happen at Madison Square Garden? That was pretty sweet. Let’s cross our fingers for 2015, guys.)

Undefeated for eight years and carrying a perfect 5-0 record in the UFC, Teixeira is clearly next in line on the light-heavyweight title ladder. The 33-year-old most recently TKO’d Ryan Bader in just under three minutes at UFC Fight Night 28, overwhelming Bader with strikes after being briefly staggered by the TUF 8 winner.

So where does this leave Alexander Gustafsson? Funny you should ask…

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Jon Jones Opens as -400 Favorite in Future Rematch With Alexander Gustafsson


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

Three months before their title fight at UFC 165, Jon Jones opened up as a massive -800 favorite against Alexander Gustafsson, who was slated as a +500 underdog. In other words, the oddsmakers felt that Jones/Gustafsson would be an even bigger squash match than Jones/Sonnen. Of course, this was back when everybody assumed that Bones could walk through the Swedish challenger with no trouble whatsoever. As it turned out, Gustafsson was the toughest test of Jones’s career, and might have stolen the belt if he hadn’t started to fade in the championship rounds.

We’re still not certain when Jones and Gustafsson will meet up for an encore performance, but that shouldn’t stop you from betting on the hypothetical fight. The opening line for Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 was recently released, establishing Jones as a still-hefty -400 favorite, compared to a +300 mark for Gustafsson. Since then, the line has slightly widened out, suggesting that the early money is coming in on Jones. (i.e., the oddsmakers are making Jones less profitable and Gustafsson more profitable, in an attempt to lure more wagers in Gustafsson’s direction.)

And why wouldn’t people be betting on Jones? Gustafsson may have made the champ look vulnerable during their five-round war, but the reality is that Gustafsson still wasn’t able to come away with a victory, despite putting in the greatest performance of his career. So if you were thinking of laying some cash on Gus in the rematch, here’s what you need to ask yourself: Does it really makes sense to wager on Gustafsson now that he’s significantly less profitable than he was for the first fight? Do you expect Gustafsson to do even better against Jones the second time? Really? Why?

In my opinion, the only logical reason for betting on Gustafsson in the rematch is that the fight could easily turn into another evenly-matched five-round war of attrition — and when a fight like that goes to the judges, you might as well be flipping a coin.

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UFC 165 Medical Suspensions: Jones, Gustafsson Somehow Come Out of Their War Relatively Unscathed


(Something something Jon Jones looks like a California Raisin in this photo. Via @AlexTheMauler.) 

The Ontario Athletic Commission released their official list of medical suspensions for UFC 165 earlier today, and in direct defiance of everything we know about the human body’s ability to absorb damage, neither Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson suffered major injuries in their five round war at UFC 165. Yes, despite early reports that Jones was fighting through “a shattered foot” on Saturday night, both the champ and his Swedish counterpart received just two month suspensions pending a CT or MRI scan. Jones will additionally require an x-ray of said foot before it can be broken off in Phil Davis’ insolent ass.

The full list of medical suspensions is below. There aren’t many surprises other than the main eventers, but what the hell else am I going to write about: The Gracie Breakdown of Brendan Schaub’s D’arce choke that takes place on a hotel room bed? Bob Arum would not approve, you guys.

-Jon Jones: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI, plus x-ray before return.
-Alexander Gustafsson: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI before return.
-Eddie Wineland: Suspended 60 days. Additionally, needs CT scan or MRI before return.

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Five Lessons for Jon Jones in the Wake of UFC 165


(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.

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Edition


(Photo of the Year. Hands Down. Via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.) 

Like our esteemed colleague George Shunick, I have never been happier to admit that I was completely wrong in all but writing off Alexander Gustafsson in the weeks leading up to his battle with Jon Jones at UFC 165. And like most of you, I’m still reeling from what was one of the greatest light heavyweight title fights in MMA History and quite possibly the fight of the year, which makes this Armchair Matchmaker piece all the more difficult to construct.

Did Gustafsson get screwed, like Phil Davis would have you believe? Should an immediate rematch be booked between the Swede and the champ? Follow us below to find out what lies in store for Jon Jones and the rest of UFC 165′s biggest winners.

Jon Jones: I might be in the minority here, but I’m going to suggest that the UFC should hold off on booking an immediate Jones/Gustafsson rematch. Here’s why:

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Jones vs. Gustafsson Fight-Picking Contest: And the Winner Is…


(FTF’s Jiu-Jitsu tee. Check out the rest of their Combat Line shirts here.)

Thanks to everybody who entered last week’s UFC 165 fight-picking contest! Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson was a fight that blew up our expectations, and while it became an instant classic for that reason, it also means that most of your predictions were dead wrong. Only three of you predicted that Jones would defeat Gustafsson by decision, and Canadian reader Michael Walach was the only one who correctly guessed two out of the three judges’ scores, making him this week’s winner of a Combat Line t-shirt from Fear the Fighter.

Congrats, Michael! We’ll be sending you a message on Facebook about how to claim your prize, so be sure to check the “Other” folder of your FB messages today. As for everybody else, stay tuned this week for another chance to win a Fear the Fighter tee.

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Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson: The Positive Side of Hype


(Gustafsson was indeed taller, but that’s not what made UFC 165′s main event so memorable. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images.)

By Matt Saccaro

MMA history is awash with hundreds of “prospects” and “next big things” who never panned out, who fell flat on their faces and were either mocked constantly or worse, forgotten. Names like Denis Kang, Ulysses Gomez, Rameau Sokoudjou, Hector Lombard and Uriah Hall evoke thoughts like “failure.” But are these men at fault for being considered wastes of talent, or is it the fault of the fans and the media who took flesh and bone and sculpted it into something divine? Who took men and, through words, made them into gods?

That’s the dark side of hype, a topic I’ve written about in the past. Fans and the media ascribe almost superhuman abilities to certain fighters, abilities that they can’t consistently live up to, if they can live up to them at all. Denis Kang, for example, was this mythical creature from outside the UFC and one of many Guys to Beat Anderson Silva™, yet he went 1-2 in the UFC, only beating Xavier Foupa-Pokam. Silva, himself, was another fighter who had an ungodly amount of hype. Silva’s was, in part, deserved because he was able to make some of the most dangerous men in the world look like nerdy high school kids. But the hype got too far. When he fought Chris Weidman, people thought Anderson Silva was a real-life Neo who would dispose of Weidman with no effort. Then Weidman humiliated Silva. Suddenly, Silva was “done,” “too old” and “needed to retire” because he lost to a guy that everyone had just said was no threat to him at all.

The lesson? Hype cometh before the fall. Too much hype can ruin a fighter. If a hyped fighter loses, the derailment of their hype-train looks like something out of Back to the Future III. They go from a stellar talent to a bum who got lucky a few times.

But there’s also a positive side, and we saw it at UFC 165.

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‘UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson’ Aftermath — We Were Wrong


(A torn-up Jon Jones spins for an elbow during his title-fight war against Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto. / Photo via Esther Lin, MMAFighting.com)

By George Shunick

Let’s be honest here. No one saw last night coming. No one. That’s not to say that nobody believed Alexander Gustafsson was capable of beating or challenging Jon Jones, although those people were probably Swedish, rabid Jones-haters, or height aficionados. But no one predicted that Gustafsson would take the fight to Jones in such a complete manner that in addition to being the first man consistently hurt the champion, he would become the only man to ever land a takedown on Jones in the UFC. And if there was some visionary out there who managed to foresee this twist of fate, he didn’t expect the next wrinkle; that Jones, bent but unbroken, would rise to this challenge in the final two rounds with an onslaught that the challenger seemed to persevere through with only sheer will holding him up. When all was said and done, UFC 165 saw the best light-heavyweight title fight in history, possibly the fight of the year and most significantly, the birth of a rivalry between two young fighters in the sport’s marquee division.

So, first things first…I might have been a little hasty in dismissing Alexander Gustafsson. If there’s some small solace to take in being so incredibly wrong, it’s that there was plenty of company in that regard. The UFC focused on the challenger’s height as opposed to any of his actual skills — although to hear Dana White tell it, that’s because “he’s so tall” was considered a better selling point for UFC fans than constructing an intricate narrative contextualizing Gustafsson and his abilities within the history of Swedish combat sports. (In other words, the UFC thinks its fans are stupid. They’re not entirely wrong.) Others focused on Gustafsson’s relative lack of competition, or his performances relative to those of Jones’s. Almost every pundit came away with the same conclusion; this was Jones’s fight to lose.

That was completely incorrect. In the first round, Gustafsson got in his face, pressured Jones backwards as he landed punches. He took the fight to Jones. It was a smart strategy; Jones likes to keep his distance while he’s standing up through kicks, and moving in takes away the range required to successfully land those kicks. However, this normally comes with a caveat; moving in puts a fighter in danger of being taken down by Jones, which is the last thing they want. But Gustafsson didn’t let that deter him; in fact, he landed the first takedown attempt of the fight, the first in UFC history against Jones. It turned out there was a reason for his confidence. Throughout the fight, try as he might, Jones could not take Gustafsson down. For all the talk you hear about how fighter X is “in the best shape of his life” or “has shown massive improvements,” it rarely rings true. But Gustafsson was the exception to the rule last night.

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UFC 165 Video Party: Highlights of Jones vs. Gustafsson, Barao vs. Wineland & Post Event Press Conference


(Jon Jones defends his UFC light heavyweight title against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165)

UFC 165 wasn’t just better than most folks thought it would be, it featured one of the gutsiest, most grueling, surprising and just downright best main event that we’ve seen in awhile. The decision may be controversial, but Jon Jones managed to pull off a unanimous decision win over challenger Alexander Gustafsson despite being beaten up, taken down and out worked for most of the fight.

Jones refused to stop swinging despite apparent exhaustion and battered the Swede in the fourth and fifth rounds en route to his sixth successful title defense. For his part, Gustafsson pulled off a great strategy in almost flawless fashion, scoring early and often to the body and head of the champ with punches, stopping his take downs and becoming the first fighter to ever take Jones down himself.

Check out highlights of the fight above. After the break, see highlights of Renan Barao‘s exciting knockout interim bantamweight title defense against Eddie Wineland as well as the post-event press conference.

Spoiler alert – Dana White and many fighters made the presser but Jones and Gustafsson did not because they were both at hospitals. They truly left it in the ring Saturday night.

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