If Jon Jones is to succeed in the heavyweight division, he needs to be a completely new fighter.
That’s according to former UFC light heavyweight champion and former rival Rashad Evans who was commenting on how well Jones would do in the new division.
Given how Jones looked in his last few fights at 205 pounds, many felt he lost a step despite the victories. That is why it’s not guaranteed that Jones will find success moving up either.
Especially with new challenges like current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champion Ciryl Gane — both of whom will have advantages over Jones.
“Before, it was like, ‘okay, he’s going to move up to heavyweight and these guys, he’ll have the advantage because he moves really well, he has fight IQ, he has all these intangibles,'” Evans said on Morning Kombat. “But he’s giving away a lot of those intangibles. His reach, he’s giving away, his size advantage, power advantage — he’s giving up a lot of things that he didn’t need to worry about at light heavyweight.
“Now with a guy like Ciryl Gane, he may be giving up the movement advantage. Gane moves better than Jon Jones, he’s more creative with his movement than Jon Jones is.”
Evans: Jones Needs To Reinvent Himself
That is why Evans believes Jones needs to be a completely new fighter.
He even speculated that could be why Jones is taking his time with his preparations to eventually move up despite vacating his light heavyweight title late last year — because he is doing just that.
“He can’t be the same Jon Jones that he was at 205,” Evans added. “And I think maybe this is why it’s taking him so long to make this jump to heavyweight because he has to reinvent himself. Watching Jon Jones hit mitts recently as a heavyweight, he doesn’t look as fast as he used to. He actually looks like a legit heavyweight with his speed now. He doesn’t have that speed anymore as it seems.
“… So Jon Jones will have to come into the heavyweight division totally as a new fighter.”
You can watch the full segment below: