MMA News: Jon Jones says he has new tricks up his sleeve going into the UFC 214 main event, and doesn’t think it’s possible Daniel Cormier will have his own.
Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC), who competes for the first time in 15 months and just the second time overall dating back to his UFC 182 victory over Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in January 2015, believes his inactivity somewhat plays to his benefit going into UFC 214, which takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FXX and UFC Fight Pass.
Cormier has fought four times in the same period in which Jones has competed once. He believes “D.C.” has put all his cards on the table during that time, and during an interview today on FS1’s “Undisputed,” he made it clear he’s not exactly impressed with what he’s seen out of his rival.
“My last fight against Ovince Saint Preux, a lot of people said it wasn’t very impressive after a year layoff, but I did enough to win the fight and I felt like I really didn’t show much,” Jones said. “He’s been extremely active and I see that he has made almost zero progression in the last two years. I’m glad he feels he has the upper hand in the striking division.
“(The layoff) given me time to just kind of reevaluate myself, my personal life and my career. I’ve been able to add things to my game that I didn’t have before. I feel totally rejuvenated and ready to go.”
Jones’ outside-the-octagon struggles in recent years have been well documented. From his hit-and-run to testing positive for cocaine to a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation, pretty much eventing that could go wrong for “Bones” has. He said he’s ready to push all of that to the wayside, though, and get back to work.
Returning from so much activity to fight an opponent of Cormier’s caliber is no easy task, though, even if Jones already owns a unanimous decision win over the current champ. Ring rust impacts every athlete differently, and Jones said he’s simply not worried about it.
“I’ve done it once before – my last fight I took a year off,” Jones said. “This time it’s one fight in two years. The reason I know why I’m going to win this fight is because I have an inner belief that this is my era, that this is what I was put on the earth to do. I feel like I’m gifted and talented and extremely hard working. It really stems from a really deep level of self belief.
“The people at home know who the real guy is in this division. I think Daniel looks for ways around trying to validate himself as a champion. I think to the true fight fans, they know whether Jon is an angel or a bad guy or whatever, he’s a badass. Until you beat (me), no one will really look at him as the baddest dude of his era.”
For Jones, putting the past behind him can only truly be accomplished by regaining what he’s lost, and that’s his position as UFC light heavyweight champion. The long layoffs have cost him both financially and in terms of legacy, but Jones doesn’t believe it’s derailed him too significantly.
Jones said he still considers himself to be the greatest fighter to ever grace the sport of MMA, and he looks forward to reminding people of that fact at UFC 214.
“I believe that I’m already the greatest fighter of all time,” Jones said. “My record speaks for itself. I’ve beaten six Hall of Famers already. My resume is incomparable to anybody in our sport. This fight, it’s huge for my legacy. Every fight is huge for my legacy. My legacy is the accumulation of what I do. It’s extremely important.
“I try not to look at one fight as more important than another one. It’s just another match. You just have to focus on what you can in training to prepare for that match. I try not to make things bigger than what it is.”
Category: Mixed Martial Arts