It was widely believed prior to UFC 119 that the winner of the light heavyweight bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ryan Bader would be the next person to challenge uncrowned light heavyweight heir Jon “Bones” Jones. Proving again the adage, “Where there is smoke there is fire,” it was recently announced that Jones and Bader (who defeated Nogeuira via unanimous decision) will be squaring off at UFC 127 this February. “Bones” spoke with MMAFighting.com about the match up recently and displayed his eagerness to capitalize on weaknesses that he believes he has found in Bader’s game.
“I thought Bader was exposed,” Jones said of the Arizonan’s bout with Nogueira. “At first, Bader had me a believer in his double-legs. I thought with his strength and his power, he could double-leg down anyone. But Nogueira exposed him in the wrestling department, big time. That was interesting to see.”
Jones also pointed to Bader’s impressive physical appearance as a possible hindrance come fight night.
“I think he gassed out and I think he’s been gassing out in his last few fights,” Jones said. “With his strength may come a lack of cardio. … Where he has the physical power, I think genetics don’t allow him to be able to go a vicious fifteen minutes like he needs to, especially when someone really puts the heat on him.”
The Greg Jackson-trained fighter revealed that he was expecting to fight the winner of the Bader-Nogueira fight all along and now that he knows it’s Bader, he is putting all of his focus on breaking the fighter down.
“I was studying him and Nogueira, but now that I know it’s Bader I’m watching all his fights, all his interviews – I’m obsessed with the guy,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.”
“I want to get to know Ryan Bader as if I was his coach or his trainer,” Jones added. “I want to know what his tendencies are, what punch he throws the most, what makes him want to shoot his double-leg, where is his mental security blanket in the Octagon. You know, where does he like to shoot? Does he like to shoot in the middle of the cage or against the cage? Every time I watch a fight I pick up something different. I just like to study. There’s a quote that says, ‘If you know yourself and you know your opponent, you shouldn’t fear the results of 100 battles.’ Just really being prepared gives you a lot of confidence.”
As excited as Jones is to apply his analytical style to breaking down Bader, he also expressed a desire to try his hand at breaking down a new style as he sees Bader fitting into the same role as many of his past opponents.
“I think Bader’s a great fighter. I guess the only disappointment was that I’m fighting guys with the same style, and that’s wrestling/boxing,” Jones said. “I look at Ryan Bader’s style as being like a boxer that’s looking for the double-leg takedown the whole time. I’m just ready to fight different styles, like southpaws and strikers and jiu-jitsu aces and stuff like that.”
Jones and Bader have verbally agreed to face off at UFC 127, which is expected to take place this February 5th in Las Vegas, Nevada at an as-yet-undisclosed venue.