Jon Jones will have no problems emulating his success at light heavyweight once he moves up to heavyweight according to his coaches.
Jones vacated his 205-pound title earlier this year in preparation for his long-awaited move up to the heavyweight division.
He has since taken time off from competing to bulk up and get his body ready for a new weight class where he will be competing with much bigger fighters who pack fight-ending power.
But even with the size difference, Jones’ coaches believe he has the fight IQ and overall skills to succeed in a new division. Not to mention, the fact that he’s already trained with some of the best heavyweights in the world already.
“Heavyweight’s a different animal, but Jon’s spent a lot of his career training with some of the best heavyweights in the world,” Jones’ coach Brandon Gibson told MMA Fighting. “I’ve seen Jon do hundreds of rounds with guys like [Alistair] Overeem and [Andrei] Arlovski and Travis Browne. We’ve had a plethora of great heavyweights come through Jackson’s, and Jon has been Jon Jones with all of them.
“Jon’s skill level is so high, his fight IQ is so high, that I don’t think somebody having a 20-pound advantage over Jon is going to make that much of a difference. He’s just such a skilled martial artist. I think the weight class intrigues Jon.”
Winkeljohn: Jones Will Dominate Heavyweight Division
Longtime coach of Jones, Mike Winkeljohn is in agreement as he expects his pupil to present the same problems that he did to the rest of the light heavyweights he already conquered.
“Jon has always done very well [against heavyweights],” Winkeljohn said. “He’s always had the ability to change up things and as far as fight IQ, Jon’s that guy. If he’s fighting a guy like Andrei Arlovski with a big overhand, he knows how to nullify it. If he’s fighting a guy like Alistair Overeem, who throws a big hook into a knee to the body, he knows how to avoid that.
“He’s very good at reading a fighter and knowing what the fighter’s going to do, sometimes before the fighter even knows himself.”
In the end, Winkeljohn also expects Jones to become a champion again and dominate the division much like he did at 205. After all, the light heavyweight division was more or less wiped out in his view.
“He’s wiped out a division, so it makes sense [to go to heavyweight],” Winkeljohn added. “I put money on Jon going to heavyweight and dominating there, too.”
Jones is expected to make his official heavyweight debut next year. However, he will not be skipping Francis Ngannou to get an immediate shot at Stipe Miocic’s title as per UFC president Dana White.
If he does plan on competing before then, it will be interesting to see who he is matched up against.