Striking coach for Jon Jones, Brandon Gibson saw the growth in his student at UFC 285.
The UFC 285 event saw a brand new heavyweight champion be crowned. Former longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defeated Ciryl Gane in the main event to become the newest “Baddest Man on the Planet.” Many people had Jones winning the bout coming in but due to his time away from the sport and the move up in weight, there were lingering questions. Jones looked good in his heavyweight debut and finished the bout on the ground in the very first round.
Prior to his return, Jones made quite a bit of change in his life. He took three years away from the UFC to bulk up and work on himself. During his time away he left his longtime gym of Jackson/Wink in New Mexico and linked up with Henry Cejudo and company in Arizona. Jones’ striking coach Brandon Gibson has stuck with him throughout the transition and sees a whole new Jones.
Brandon Gibson saw Jon Jones becoming a great team leader during his time away from the sport
Anyone who follows the UFC knows that Jones is one of the best ever. They may also know that he has had some trouble throughout his career. He tested positive for banned substances in the past and has found himself in trouble with the law. During the week leading up to UFC 285, Jones spoke about the changes he made within himself and Gibson saw them as well. He spoke about this on The MMA Hour.
“This was the one I probably saw the most gratitude. He was very kind to his training partners and the coaching staff and everybody that helped get him here because it was such a long road. I think there were a lot of doubters and naysayers not just from the fight fans in the fight community, but even here in Albuquerque, and he knew that the guys that stuck with him, always believed in this goal, and always believed in him as a man,” he said. “It’s not just about the wins and losses in sport. It’s about all of us becoming better humans every day.”
Gibson spoke about all the changes that came during this training camp. With the absence of longtime coach Mike Winkeljohn, Jones needed to find new coaches and training partners. Gibson saw Jones step up as a leader in the last three years.
“I think he’s going to have a quick turnaround. And you know, a lot of these guys that have helped us over the course of this training camp, have upcoming fights. And Jon wants to get in and help those guys. So he’s a true team leader,” he said. “A true captain and true brother to these guys. So I know he wants to get right back in and start helping.”
Gibson says that a return in July against Stipe Miocic makes the most sense. Miocic has mentioned that this is his plan as well. July will be the International Fight Week event that always showcases the biggest fights. This fight between Jones and Miocic may be the biggest heavyweight fight the UFC has ever seen.