Greg Jackson and Jon Jones got to spend a week working with Ed Ruth. | Wilson Fox/Sherdog.com
As part of his training camp for UFC 182, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones spent a week working with three-time NCAA national champion wrestler Ed Ruth.
The time proved beneficial for Jones, who squares off with Daniel Cormier in Saturday’s headliner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Cormier, a 2004 Olympian and an All-American at Oklahoma State, has yet to be taken down in UFC and Strikeforce competition.
How Jones is able to combat his opponent’s greatest strength will play a major role in determining the winner of one the sport’s most anticipated bouts in recent memory. While Ruth’s visit to Albuquerque, N.M., was brief, his presence was appreciated.
“That guy is amazing,” Greg Jackson told Sherdog.com. “What a nice guy. He really helped out Jon; they trained so hard together. Just getting Jon’s timing down and his hips, little things. Ed was able to give him a lot of pointers here and there. It was a great week.”
As it turns out, Ruth’s trip to the desert had been in the works for quite some time. Eventually, the former Penn State University Nittany Lion’s team was able to touch base with Jones to set up a meeting.
“Ed Ruth called me about a year ago and talked to me about trying to get down and check out MMA,” Israel Martinez, Jones’ wrestling coach, said. “A couple of Ruth’s guys got a hold of Jon a couple months ago. When I got to camp, Jon talked to me about bringing Ed down. I was more than happy. Jon has become friends with Ed.”
In addition to forming a friendship, Jones, a junior college national champion wrestler, might have made an impression on Ruth when they went head-to-head on the mat.
“I think Ed Ruth found Jon’s style to be very creative, very funky and very, very solid fundamentally,” Martinez said. “I think that’s one thing where people are misunderstanding Jon and his wrestling. He’s creative and funky, but he has a solid fundamental skill set.”
While Jones is currently king of the mountain in MMA, Ruth has his sights set on a different goal: the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However, Ruth has apparently already expressed interest in eventually testing his mettle in the cage.
“Ed’s thinking about continuing his fighting career at [Jackson-Wink MMA], starting his fighting career, living in Albuquerque,” Martinez said. “It was a great inspiration for Jon to have him out for the week…. You get a guy like that in there and he found out real fast: Jon Jones can wrestle. It was great for Jonny. It was great for the camp. It was just a great experience because Jon could really put his wrestling to the test.”
Exactly when Ruth will put his MMA skills to the test is uncertain. If and when he does, he already has a landing spot waiting for him.
“I hope [he transitions to MMA], but he’s got his wrestling thing going on now,” Jackson said. “I let him know that he was more than welcome to come train with us. We were very impressed [with him] not just as a wrestler, but he’s a great guy. That’s even more important.”