Jones Wants To End The GOAT Debate By Winning The UFC Heavyweight Belt
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones wants to end the GOAT debate once and for all by getting his hands on the UFC heavyweight title.
Jones relinquished his 205lbs title in August, to pursuit the heavyweight title. The following month, Jan Blachowicz beat Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 via second round TKO to become the new champion.
Move To Heavyweight
With his light heavyweight days now in the rear view mirror, Jones is fully focused on the next stage of his career. Speaking to ESPN, the former champion expressed how serious he is about his move up to heavyweight.
“It’s a different feel for me,” Jones revealed. “I would never really train in between fights. I would allow myself to get fat. To train now with no fight scheduled, it’s different. It shows maturity and it shows how much I really want to do this.
“I’m trying to change my whole makeup. There are some guys that are way bigger than me up there. I’m just constantly pushing … I have to commit my whole life to this project. I’m committed.”
Despite his wrestling background, Jones believes the biggest improvement we will see from him moving up to heavyweight, will be his wrestling.
“When I was 205 [pounds], I always had a hard time getting down low,” Jones said. “Or hated getting low, with [single-leg takedowns] and stuff like that. Almost as if my knees were killing me to do it.
“Now that I’ve been working on my legs so much and they’ve gotten thicker … I think that’s going to translate into me shooting high-crotches and shooting double-legs. I think it’ll make those muscles a lot faster. I predict that my shooting ability and my wrestling is going to just be faster. There’s just more power, and my ass has gotten a lot bigger. I think my double-legs are going to be one of the biggest differences in my game that people are going to notice.”
“I Just Wasn’t Scared Of Those Guys Anymore”
Having been known for being one of the most exciting finishers in the game in his early days as the UFC champion, the 33 year old has only finished one of his last eight opponents. Jones said that this was because some of his recent opponents were not intimidating enough.
“The light heavyweight division was fun, but I just wasn’t scared of those guys anymore,” Jones said. “Like, none of them. And I think it showed in some of my performances. Obviously, I still trained hard. But there was no urgency in some of my last fights.
“With these next guys I’m going to be going up against, I respect these guys. These guys are intimidating — they’re intimidating as s***. It just gets me up in a whole different way.”
Ending The GOAT Debate
Ever since UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired after successfully defending his title at UFC 254, many critics and fans alike have placed him ahead of Jones in the greatest ever mixed martial artist argument. Not only is heavyweight in itself a major challenge for ‘Bones’, but it also gives him extra motivation to end the GOAT debate once and for all.
“I just want there to be no debate when I’m done,” Jones stated. “I do feel like I’ve had a great light heavyweight career. I’m by far the greatest light heavyweight. And in my heart, I do feel like I’m the best fighter in this sport’s history.
“But I just don’t want there to be any debate. And one way I can do that is by capturing this heavyweight crown, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
For Jones, getting a fight with heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic wouldn’t be much of a problem, but he is still exploring his options.
“I go back and forth,” Jones said. “Sometimes I think I should take like a top-ten guy [at heavyweight] and just get my feet wet, figure out what’s happening. And then the other times, I think, ‘F*** it. Let’s just go big or go home.’ I’m trying to get these big-money fights these days. I like taking care of everybody around me.”
Learning From Alexander Gustafsson’s Mistakes
Jones’ two-time opponent Alexander Gustafsson made his heavyweight debut at UFC Fight Island 3 against Fabricio Werdum, losing via submission in the first round. The Albuquerque native believes ‘The Mauler’ made mistakes in his approach to shifting up a weight class.
“I don’t think [Gustafsson] did it the right way,” Jones suggested. “Just because you gain some extra pounds doesn’t mean you’re ready to compete against these boys that were born that way. You’ve got to really take your time, find your body, find your feet, your new speed, your new rhythm. And then go up there and play the game.”
Do you think Jon Jones can end the GOAT debate by winning the UFC heavyweight title?