After last week’s antics ensued between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at the UFC 135 press conference, where Jackson accused Jones of, among other things, beating a Mauricio “Shogun” Rua that was “rusty as hell,” HDNet’s Inside MMA caught up with the champion for an interview about his upcoming title defense.
After noting the importance of Denver in the history of the UFC, where the city hosted the first event made notorious by BJJ-pioneer Royce Gracie, Jones went on to discuss his strategy for keeping the 205-pound title around his waist.
“I have a lot of pride in my standup, but Rampage thinks that’s the only way I can beat him is by taking him down, so maybe I should take him down,” said the 24-year old champion Jones. “He’s giving me a blueprint. They say if you want to know a man’s thoughts, you listen to his words, and he shows me where he’s insecure. So I’ll take that into consideration with my training.”
Jones’ comments are not surprising, as he will likely look to gain dominant position on the challenger, as Jackson’s greatest asset is often considered to be his grueling knockout power in both hands. “Bones” has shown an almost disturbing ability to manhandle opponents considered even to be great wrestlers in MMA, such as Ryan “Darth” Bader and Matt “The Hammer” Hamill. Not only has his defensive grappling been top notch thus far, but offensively, the man uses trips and throws that dazzle the MMA world to gain position.
Once an opponent finds himself beneath the champion, things only typically get worse. Jones uses his UFC-record wingspan, which soars out to near 85 inches, to generate torque and power necessary to brutalize opponents with savage ground-and-pound, with his “hellbows” already becoming legendary in the sport. Jones has also shown an aptitude for applying submissions when grappling, finishing TUF 8-winner Ryan Bader with a choke in the second round of their February fight.
On the other side of the Octagon, Quinton Jackson has displayed a very unique style of grappling throughout his storied MMA career. Something for which “Rampage” will likely always be remembered, at Pride Critical Countdown 2004, Jackson powerbombed Ricardo Arona for a vicious knockout that will likely grace highlight reels for decades to come. And while Jackson has lost via submission early in his career, since coming to the UFC, the Memphis-born fighter has shown a solid ability to avoid damage and submissions if the fight hits the ground. In his most recent fight, Jackson showed great takedown defense against powerful wrestler, Matt Hamill, a skill he had obviously spend a great deal of time trying to improve.
While Jones will look at the blueprint set by former-training partner Rashad Evans, who himself earned a decision victory over Jackson in May 2010 with superior speed and wrestling, “Rampage” will look to prove a return to form, when he challenges the champion at UFC 135: Jones vs Rampage, on September 24, from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
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