‘Bones’ Learns Lessons in Dominant UFC Title Defense

By Mike Whitman Sep 24, 2011
Jon Jones was superior, but not flawless.

The 24-year-old from Endicott, N.Y., did what he wanted on Saturday night, dominating Quinton Jackson en route to a fourth-round submission finish in the main event of UFC 135.

Although the young champion showcased his superiority in impressive fashion at the Pepsi Center in Denver, he readily admitted his perceived mistakes following the bout and complimented the former champion’s punching power.

“[The fight taught] me a lot about my skill set and things I need to work on,” Jones said at the post-fight press conference. “Sometimes, instead of defending technically, I kind of ran like a little girl and turned my back. So, I need to work on my slipping and evading. But [Jackson] hits so hard, I just got out of the way like a smart man would.”

Jackson never found the power shot he was looking for in their UFC light heavyweight title bout, as Jones stayed on the outside, pumping straight punches and kicks into Jackson’s face, torso and legs, limiting Jackson’s mobility and preventing him from closing the distance.

“We worked a style we thought would beat ‘Rampage,’ and it worked, using my reach and my length,” Jones said. “Basically, the strategy was to fight long and make each shot count. I tried to use low kicks to set up high kicks and [throw] straight [techniques]. Rampage has knocked out some of the best, but it’s normally when he’s throwing hooks. I figured if I shot straight, we would be more successful. He does best when he’s rolling off hooks.”

Jones began the fight in bizarre fashion, crawling toward his opponent like a spider. Though it appeared a strange way to kick off the contest, Jones asserted that there was a reason behind his unorthodox approach.

“I figured he would be at his most powerful at the beginning of the fight, and I figured he couldn’t generate a lot of power aiming at such a low target,” said Jones. “I was trying to shoot a low, misdirection single-leg. It didn’t work too well, but it was worth a shot.”

After keeping Jackson at bay for over three rounds with his striking, Jones went for the kill in round four, taking his foe to the floor and sinking a fight-ending rear-naked choke.

“I think that, in each round, things were slowing down for both of us with the fatigue. I just felt that after the takedown, his explosiveness didn’t seem very strong,” said Jones. “I knew it was going to be hard for him to fight out of that. I just felt the moment was coming where anything devastating would be a major blow to his effort to come back, and I just took [the opportunity to finish the fight].”

Though the pre-fight hype carried with it much trash talk from both sides, Jones told the media following the bout that the pair buried the proverbial hatchet in a post-fight conversation in the cage.

“I told Quinton that I admire him and respect him,” said Jones. “I tried to play it off like we were two lions -- and we were -- but the truth is that I look up to him. I’ve been watching him a long time. I basically told him that I loved him and it was an honor to fight him. It was just 100 percent respect. I’m sure we’ll be cool from now on.”

Up next for the champion is a long-anticipated clash with former training partner Rashad Evans. Though Jones stated that he did not want to talk about his onetime friend following his successful outing against Jackson, Jones did offer a brief statement regarding his next opponent.

“I know what happened [most of the time] in sparring. He talks about one day [at Jackson’s MMA] where he held me down in practice, and he lives that day every day,” said Jones. “I will say this about Rashad: He does not have my number.”


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