UFC 247: Jon Jones On GOAT Talk, Eye Pokes And Bad Referees
Jon Jones will be looking to build on his legacy at UFC 247, when he defends his UFC light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes in the main event. But not content with his legacy at 205lbs, ‘Bones’ is looking to move up to heavyweight, where he intends to cement his position as the GOAT.
“In order to put a lot of this pound-for-pound, who’s the greatest to rest, I am going to have to maybe obtain a second belt in a second weight class. I think that will really set me apart from a lot of the guys. So the move is inevitable.
“I am only getting better as a professional. I think I’m at a place, and I got the team around me that can get me to that weight class in a safe and healthy way. I’m excited or when it does happen. I see nothing but good things. I’ve been competing against my brothers my whole life, who are both bigger than me, both super world champions. I feel like I’m ready for that weight.”
And although he could potentially give up a lot of weight at heavyweight, Jones believes that fighting in ‘the most dangerous weight class’ his whole career will put him in good stead, when he does move up.
“Light heavyweight fighters, we are truly the most versatile; while being strong and fast and athletic, it’s the most dangerous weight class in my opinion.
“Guys are big enough to knock you out, but still athletic enough and agile enough to do some really extraordinary things. It’s a tough weight class. So in a way, me moving up to heavyweight could be easier for me because I’m just used to a faster paced of fighting.”
Before any move to heavyweight however, Jones must first overcome Reyes this weekend. Ahead of the clash, Reyes has stated that he will speak to the officials about the champion’s eye pokes. During the UFC 247 conference call (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), the 32 year old was asked whether he has made any requests to the officials himself.
“I have not [made any requests], but I’ve had some (expletive) situations happen in there. I felt like I’ve had guys that were very obviously not on my side in that ring, and I’m not going to say their names because I don’t want to give them attention. But even with that happening, I still found a way to not only win those two fights, but finish those fights.”
Despite saying he wouldn’t mention their names, Jones then stated that he was referring to John McCarthy in his fight with Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 and his second fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, which saw Mike Beltran as the third man inside the Octagon.
“John McCarthy, I felt like his energy was way off when I fought Vitor Belfort, and I found a way to finish the fight. I also felt the energy coming from – I won’t say his name – I feel like the energy in the second Alexander Gustafsson fight, I felt like that referee (Mike Beltran) was sending me some funny-ass energy backstage and in the cage, and I finished the Gustafsson fight, too.
“At the end of the day, I feel like if it’s in God’s plans for me to do what I’ve been doing, it won’t matter which coaches I have, which coaches Dominick has, who’s the referee – none of that stuff matters. God’s will is God’s will, and so it won’t matter who’s the referee.”
And despite Reyes’ concerns about eye pokes, Jones defended his techniques and insisted he will continue to fight the way he fights.
“I fight how I fight. I grab hands a lot, and over the years I’ve coincidentally landed a few eye pokes. But if you guys think I trained poking people in the eyes, I mean – think about how ridiculous that is.
“In my last Gustafsson fight, when that referee kept saying, ‘Watch your fingers, Jon. Watch your fingers, Jon,’ like, my fingers weren’t even out at the time, and he kept yelling that to me, which was a major distraction, you know? I know Dominick has a problem with the finger stuff, too, and I know he’s talking about talking to the referee before the fight. None of that stuff is going to matter. None of that stuff is going to matter.”
Meanwhile, going into UFC 247, UFC commentator Joe Rogan has stated that Reyes will be Jones’ toughest test since he faced Daniel Cormier.
“I believe that Dominick Reyes is the most dangerous fighter Jon Jones has faced since Daniel Cormier. I think Dominick Reyes presents a very unique set of challenges. First of all the length. The undefeated record, he is 12-0. There is confidence that comes with undefeated records and Dominick is extremely confident. He’s a believer in himself and that belief has lead him to stop guys like Chris Weidman, knock out OSP with one second to go. He’s got belief in his power and legit one-punch knockout power. He has great footwork and movement. He just had the opportunity to see Jon struggle with Thiago Santos, he has a style, he can mimic that kind of success, the chopping off the legs,” Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience Podcast (as transcribed by The Mac Life).
“I think this is a dangerous fight for Jon. But, I also believe Jon knows it is a dangerous fight for Jon and Jon is a champion, a real champion, the greatest champion the light heavyweight division has ever known unquestionably. I think he is going to rise to the occasion, I think we are going to see the best Jon Jones. I think Jon Jones needs a real threat to scare him and work him up. And, I don’t know if Thiago Santos was that for him. Thiago Santos was a title defence and a chance for him to fight.
“I don’t think that is what he gets scared of. Jon needs someone like Dominick Reyes a real threat so we see who he was in the second fight with Daniel Cormier when he head kicked him and knocked him out. The second fight with Alexander Gustafsson when he smashed him. That is the real Jon Jones, Jon Jones when he’s pressed. And, I think Dominick Reyes presents that kind of and we will see a killer Jon Jones.”
Jon Jones defends his UFC light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC 247, which goes down this Saturday night at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Do you think Jones has to move up to heavyweight to cement his status as the GOAT?