UFC – Mike Winkeljohn: Jon Jones Won’t Chase Israel Adesanya

A fight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya has been on the cards for over a year and a half, since the two started trading blows. Now with the UFC middleweight champion set to move up to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the title, the fight feels closer than ever.

Should Adesanya defeat Blachowicz to become the promotion’s latest two division champion, the question would be whether ‘The Last Stylebender’ would need to follow ‘Bones’ up to heavyweight, or whether Jones would return back to 205lbs for the fight.

Speaking to Submission Radio (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Jones’ striking coach Mike Winkeljohn shared his thoughts on the potential matchup with Adesanya and what terms it would need to be on.

“My first thought is heavyweight,” Winkeljohn said. “Have Israel come up to heavyweight. Here’s the deal, Jon Jones has always fought a who’s who, and it’s always been this guy, you have to go beat this guy to secure your legacy. And then he beats him. And then it’s, okay, you have to beat this guy to secure your legacy. And then he beats him. Jon doesn’t need to chase anybody, they need to chase him. That’s the way I look at it. That’s why he’s the best

“[So], probably heavyweight. Jon’s current mindset is to get to heavyweight. That makes sense. Once he puts all that mass on, there’s no reason to come back down. What’s the purpose of that? Go back down to chase Izzy? Absolutely not. Jon’s the man, that’s why he’s the greatest, and people need to chase him, and he’s a leader, he’s the leader of the sport.”

Despite not wanting Jones to chase Adesanya for a super fight, Winkeljohn has been very fascinated with the Nigerian born Kiwi, and gives him credit for what he has done so far in his UFC career.

“I’m always amazed at some things he does,” Winkeljohn said. “I think to myself, gosh, if he only does these things against him, and then Izzy makes a small correction and solves that problem. So, he’s a hard guy to figure out in that he has so many skills and such great timing, great speed and takedown defense. He’s so well-rounded and getting better. He’s getting better every fight. I’m watching it, I’m real impressed with what they’ve been able to do with the team down there in New Zealand (City Kickboxing).”

Winkeljohn believes the fact that Jones has fought many long fighters already, while Adesanya hasn’t fought anyone like his man before, would play a key factor in a fight between the two.

“Striking-wise, here’s the deal, Jon’s fought some big, tall, long guys before and he’s done well,” Winkeljohn said. “The first fight with Gustafsson wasn’t Jon’s great night by any means. Not all of Jon Jones was there for many reasons in that fight. But he’s already fought a lot of long guys. I’m not sure if Izzy’s fought a Jon Jones before as far as length goes. And definitely nobody has fought Jon Jones as far as skillset goes. I know everyone that comes to my gym. They’re big heavyweights, they come in, and I think they’re immediately surprised by how big Jon’s presence is in the cage when they start working out with him.”

So confident is Winkeljohn in Jones, the JacksonWink coach believes he could win this fight however he chooses, depending on his mindset on the night.

“If in Jon’s mind he says, I’m gonna beat him on the feet, that’s what he’s gonna do,” Winkeljohn said. “But if Jon says, you know what, I’m gonna go home and just secure the win and show him what MMA is all about, welcome to my world, I’m sure he’ll take him down and bloody him up with elbows.”

How do you think a fight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya plays out?

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