Daniel Cormier Reveals The Game-Changing ‘X-Factor’ That Could Decide The Fate of Jones vs. Gane

Daniel Cormier believes Jon Jones will need to rely on other skills to make up for his lack of punching power in the UFC's heavyweight division

Jon Jones
Courtesy of @ufc on Instagram

Daniel Cormier believes Jon Jones’ punching power, or lack thereof, will play a role in his return to the Octagon on Saturday night.

After more than three years removed from his last appearance inside the Octagon, Jon Jones will not only make a memorable return, but he’ll also be making his heavyweight debut as he meets No. 1 ranked contender Ciryl Gane for the vacant UFC heavyweight championship. 

Just days away from the highly anticipated matchup, Jones’ longtime rival and UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier shared his thoughts on the obstacles ‘Bones’ will likely face against an elite striker such as Ciryl Gane. Speaking on his ESPN program DC & RC, Cormier believes Jones’ biggest Achilles heel in his move to heavyweight will be a lack of punching power. Looking back at their historic matchups in the light heavyweight division, Cormier revealed that Jones’ lack of punching power surprised him.

“I think he’s going to have to use his skill because Jones did not punch very hard. That was one of the things that stood out about him. Now, he kneed hard, he kicked hard, he elbowed hard. He did a lot of things very well, but in terms of his punching ability, he didn’t have jarring power. Gaining 30 pounds, maybe he gets a little bit of a heavier punch, but he will never match Ciryl Gane in terms of the punching power. He’s gonna need his skill in order to do this.

“Here’s the issue; Ciryl Gane possesses a lot of those same skills. He can stand on the outside and fight. He can potshot you from the outside and he does possess jarring power when he does land. Jon Jones always had a bit of a size advantage over a lot of the guys he fought at 205 too. That’s going to be missing. When you look at Jones, he looks bigger, but a lot of the weight is up top. His bottom half still looks pretty slim. You look at Ciryl Gane, it looks like somebody stuck an air pump in that dude’s mouth and just started pumping. He looks huge.”

Daniel Cormier Discusses Jon Jones’ ‘X Factor’ Against Ciryl Gane

Jon Jones is not known for his heavy-handed approach to fights or his knockout power. Instead, ‘Bones’ is often celebrated for his well-rounded skill set. Being able to hold his own on the feet with a variety of weapons reminiscent of a great Muay Thai fighter is just one of his many abilities. However, against a masterful striker like Gane, Jones will likely need to fall back on his wrestling skills to get Gane to the ground where the Frenchman has struggled in the past.

For Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones’ ability to get Gane to the mat will be the X factor on Saturday night. More specifically, what does ‘Bones’ do if he can’t wrestle Gane’s 250-pound frame to the canvas? 

“I think the X factor becomes, how does Jones handle those moments where he cannot secure takedowns. How does Jones handle being stuck on the outside with Ciryl Gane? From everything that’s happened in the past, you believe that Jones will be okay. You’ve seen him handle those guys and he did win against Anthony Smith. He did win against Thiago Santos and he did win against Alexander Gustafsson in the first fight. We have seen him handle big guys before so all things would point to him being okay, but you don’t know with Ciryl Gane. Ciryl Gane showed me something in the fight against Tai Tuivasa that I want not sure that he had.

“He got a little bit of dog in him. He got dropped and he got up and just beat the crap out of Tai. As much as I love Tai, once Ciryl got dropped, it’s like something changed. It’s like he goes, ‘Not here. Not in France. Not in Paris. This ain’t happening to me.’ That’s when I saw him have a little bit of that dog that I wasn’t sure that he had because before, it had to be a bit pretty for Ciryl Gane to be effective and when it wasn’t pretty, dude elevated and I think that is going to play a factor into the fight this weekend.”

Published on March 1, 2023 at 4:13 pm
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