Coach Says Jon Jones Beats Francis Ngannou And Stipe Miocic
After moving up to heavyweight, former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will likely fight heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou or former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in his entry to the division. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Brandon Gibson discussed Jones’s future at heavyweight. Gibson is one of Jones’ coaches, and he is also a coach for Jackson Wink MMA Academy, one of the best gyms in the world.
“But Jon Jones has the skill set to get his hand raised in both of those bouts. There’s no doubt in my mind about it. There’s nobody like Jon at heavyweight. Nobody as dynamic, as fast, as gifted in all the disciplines like Jon is. And his IQ is off the chart. Not to say that these other guys aren’t smart, brilliant fighters, but Jon Jones’ IQ and comprehension of his game is unlike anybody else’s in the world.”Quote via MMA Fighting
Gibson’s assessment of Jones’ fighting style and its translation to heavyweight holds weight. Gibson is an experienced MMA coach that has worked with all-time great heavyweights.
“I’ve trained a lot of amazing heavyweights,” Gibson said. “I’ve trained [Andrei] Arlovski and [Alistair] Overeem and Frank Mir and Travis Browne, and Jon Jones is more powerful, explosive, creative, dynamic than all of them. So I can’t wait to see Jon make that walk at heavyweight. It’s gonna be something truly, truly special, and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”Quote via MMA Fighting
Gibson is not the first person to speak about Jones’ potential in the heavyweight division. Former double champion and Jones’ biggest rival, Daniel Cormier, said Jones was the biggest threat to Ciryl Gane. Jones himself has even noted that he has not been impressed by Ngannou.
Jones has not fought since February of 2020 when he edged out a close decision against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. Since this bout, Jones has spent a significant amount of time putting on weight to ensure that he will be prepared for the jump to heavyweight.
“You think of fighters going up in a weight class and they always put on size and mass and power,” Gibson said. “You look at Conor [McGregor] from his 145 days, going up to lightweight, going up to welterweight and that’s a 25-pound difference. Jon Jones, his weight is up there right now and it’s much more than 25 pounds. So he is hitting extremely hard and extremely accurate and technical and fast.Quote via MMA Fighting
Fans have been clamoring for the return of Jones. Fights against Ngannou and Miocic were both bouts that fans wanted to see in 2021. Thankfully for fans, it seems like Jones is close to a UFC return. From an outside perspective, it seems like he has cleared up his issues with the UFC. Previously, he asked the UFC to cut him. It is a massive change to see Jones and his camp solely discuss fighting.
It is unclear when Jones could return. It was believed that he could fight Miocic for the interim heavyweight belt while Ngannou recovered from knee surgery. However, Ngannou has been recovering for several months. The UFC could instead wait for Ngannou to be healthy and have him defend his belt against Jones. The only thing that we know for certain is that the UFC pay-per-view schedule has headliners booked until December. This means Jones will fight no sooner than this winter.