Can Jon Jones’ striking rise to the level of Anderson Silva’s? Tell us below.
Jon Jones may have lost the first round against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140, but he stormed back in the second to choke him unconscious.
After the fight, Jones’ trainer Mike Winkeljohn joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” to discuss their strategy, the finish and more.
On Jones’ struggles early in the fight: “He maybe overthought it a little bit, actually, and stood in that space where we knew Machida was going to throw to after he punched and kicked a couple of times. He got hit for it. Lesson learned. It’s something he will never do again in the future. That being said, other than that one thing that he kept doing over and over at first, he overcame getting hit. He started pulling his head off to the side when he was striking and he beat Machida with everything he did from that point on.”
On the strategy: “[Jones] was sticking to the game plan for the most part, except for failing to move his head off that line that we knew Machida was going to be striking on. Machida’s very linear with what he does, and so we don’t want to be there. [Jones] was not doing that, and it’s my fault for not, I guess, instilling the confidence in him to do that at first. It did take to the second round for us to get him to do that, but the game plan was to pick him apart a little bit from the outside. I figured we would catch him with the standup and hurt him and then when he goes down, we’d be able to finish him.”
On whether he thought Jones could win by submission: “I definitely thought that was a possibility just because I figured, as we did with Rampage and with Shogun, you break them down so much that their want to defend these positions will be lessened. I thought a submission was definitely a possibility with Machida. I figured it would be more of a ground-and-pound and maybe get him to turn, maybe take his back and choke him more traditional than a guillotine, especially standing. But Jon does that. He’s able to impose his will when he turns it up, and people kind of fade.”
On Jones’ ability to get better: “He’s constantly wanting to learn and evolve. He’s much better than people have even seen at this point. He’s capable of so many more things that he does in the gym quite often. He has knockout power in both hands when he wants to throw them. He’s just at that point where he doesn’t have enough experience yet to trust his motion and his distancing as Anderson Silva does now. But soon, he’ll be Anderson Silva-like with his standup. And of course he’s at a whole different level when it comes to the ground game.”
On Jones’ striking: “The sky’s the limit for the kid. People don’t understand. He does have knockout power in both hands, and his feet are getting to the point where people don’t want to be taking those kicks. They will be at the highest K-1 kickboxing level here soon. It’s just a matter of time through repetition and confidence to get there. People haven’t seen how explosive his knees are. We’ve seen him drop elbows on people, but he can do that standing up as well. I know one buzzed by Machida early in the fight. He’s capable of becoming so much better than he is right now. He’s just scary. I don’t know what people are going to do with him. Really. He’s getting faster. I think he’s going to have a jab that’s going to be comparable to a Muhammad Ali jab as far as dominating his opponent when he wants to use it.”
On the perception of Jones some critics hold versus who he really is: “I guess I don’t pay enough attention to how he’s perceived on the Internet and stuff, but there’s always those people that are haters. I think a lot of it’s just jealousy of the fact that he’s come up so fast. Maybe fear that somebody’s going to dominate, but he’s not that bad guy. He’s a good kid. He’s giving and caring and he tries to help other people in the gym. He’s kind of become a leader in the gym in a small way, even though [he’s] a young guy.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:28:48).