At the age of just 23 Jon Jones has already marked himself out as one of the future stars of the sport. So far he’s been brought slowly up the ranks by the UFC, but next Saturday night we’ll finally find out just how good he is when he goes up against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua for the UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Jones stepped in to replace his team-mate Rashad Evans, who had to withdraw after a knee injury, at just six weeks notice. Some would say it’s a daunting prospect to face a legend of the sport without a full training camp, but it’s a challenge Jones is willing to meet head-on.
“There’s a quote that I love, it says “our biggest fears is not that we’re inadequate but that we’re powerfully beyond imaginary”,which means to me, the crazy things that happen – just go after it,” Jones tells UFC.com in his pre-fight interview for UFC 128.
He always admits that he’s putting a great deal of faith in both his trainers and training partners.
“Taking a fight on six weeks notice means it would be scary if I wasn’t training here at Jackson’s MMA. The focus on a new strategy, new tactics and you’re studying a different animal. So I’m excited. I have faith in the people who are training me, to fight one of the pound for pound best fighters in the whole world.”
Jones goes on to give his appraisal of his opponent’s skill-set.
“His strength is that he’s a well round mixed martial artist, he can do it all. His jiu-jitsu is solid, his take downs are solid, his striking is pretty solid.”
“Pretty solid” striking is certainly one way of describing the former PRIDE star who’s KO’d the likes of Lyoto Machida and Alistair Overeem, and TKO’d fighters such as Chuck Liddell and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson during his career.
While at this stage in his career ‘Bones’ doesn’t boast such an impressive resume, he believes he can still hang with the 29 year-old in all aspects of MMA.
“I just have to keep my hands up and go out there and have fun and flow and do what I do. I believe in myself and I believe in my coaches. I think we can strike with him. I think we can roll with him, we can wrestling with him.”
Not only that, but he feels that he can bring something into the Octagon that even a man of Shogun’s experience hasn’t faced before.
“I envision just being too big, too fast, too new school. I think I’m going to be a major breath of fresh air that he just can’t handle.”
Watch Jones full interview below.