UFC 128: Jon Jones’ Coach Says He Can Finish Shogun on the Feet

March 12, 2011
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Throughout Jon Jones’ young career as a fighter he’s faced some tough tests along the way.

He fought former “Ultimate Fighter” finalist Stephan Bonnar in only his second career fight with the UFC, dominating the bout. He then went on to bludgeon or submit every opponent he’s faced since that time, finishing everyone on the list, outside of a DQ loss to Matt Hamill in December of 2009.

Now he gets not only his biggest test facing UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but he also faces the best striker he’s ever competed against.

Jones has fought some of the best grapplers in the UFC, but Rua brings a whole new toolbox into the Octagon with him. Known for deadly punches, knees, and kicks, the Brazilian champion will present a new problem for the prodigal UFC fighter to figure out.

Jones’ striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn, respects what Shogun brings to the table, but he’s also seen what his fighter is capable of. If all the pieces fall together at UFC 128, he could see Jones putting Shogun away on the feet.

“His length, his speed, he’s hurting people now in the gym with his stand-up, he’s not even having to wrestle. I think people are going to be real impressed. Honestly, I think he can beat Shogun standing up,” Winkeljohn told MMAWeekly Radio.

“Shogun’s incredible and dangerous and there’s a lot of things we’re going to have to worry about, but I think Jon could edge him if he wanted to. I’m not saying that’s our gameplan by any means.”

Jones comes from a wrestling background and his throws and ground control are his bread and butter, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Winkeljohn has been working with Jones ever since he became a full-time team member at Jackson/Winkeljohn in New Mexico. If the contest stays standing, his striking coach is confident in Jones’ abilty to end the fight there.

“I really would,” Winkeljohn answered when questioned if he believes Jones could defeat Shogun in a fight on the feet. “If Jon does the proper things and puts himself in the right place, at the right time, I would definitely be really happy with what he does.”

Winkeljohn not only has confidence in what Jones is doing now, but what he’s capable of doing in the future. At only 23 years of age, Jones is already becoming one of the sport’s most popular athletes. If he can become the UFC light heavyweight champion, the sky’s the limit.

His coach believes that when the book is closed on Jon Jones, he won’t be the Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan of MMA. He’ll be the Jon Jones that everyone else compares themselves to.

“I believe Jon Jones is going to be the legend,” Winkeljohn said. “It’s not going to be the Muhammad Ali of that division, he’s just going to be the Jon Jones of that division. Kids are going to want to be Jon Jones when they grow up.

“Jon and I, this is something we talk about constantly, ‘who do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I want those kids to say Jon Jones.”

Jones will close up camp this week before heading to New Jersey to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC 128.

Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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  • Frye557

    No. If he couldn’t finish the like of Bonner and Bader standing up (even though they are tough), there is no way in hell he could finish Shogun in the stand up.

  • MrAdidas

    Frye557: 1st of all: Jones Vs Bonnar, Jones was 21 yrs old – 21 YRS OLD & only his 2nd UFC fight…… @ 21 YRS OLD! If you put Bonnar Vs Jones now, I guarantee you Jones KTFO of Bonnar. And the fact Jones didnt finish Bader on the feet doesnt mean he couldnt dude, its b/c he wanted to finish the fight on the ground & by submission. He brought/put Bader were noone was even close of doing & that was putting Bader on his back. Not only was Jones the 1st man to put Bader on his back, but Jones over powered Bader from start to finish (Jones made Bader look like a 12 yr old boy was fighting a grown man).

    So Y not be the 1st man to make Bader look like a “child”/noob, while everyone who fought Bader couldnt come close to matching his power &/or strength? I’m 100% certain Jones could have finished Bader on the feet, but its ALOT more impressive to over power a man/Bader with ease & sub’ing him.

    • Frye557

      Agreed to a point. I don’t recall Jones ever saying “I want to finish Bader on the ground”, so I’m not sure where your getting that from. His age means nothing. His fight with Bonnar was around 1.5 to 2 years ago. He hasn’t become a striking machine since then. Shogun is so far past anyone he has fought, especially in striking. For a guy who has good wresting, and interesting ground skills, people are wildly over hyping his stand up. Just because he throws flashing elbows/punches doesn’t make him accurate or a knock out artist. If he chooses to stand with Shogun, he will be met with aggression and striking skill that he has never encountered (not even close). Give his past fights, and the past fights of Shogun, I’m not sure how anyone can say that he will beat shogun on the feet. Being flashy and young doesn’t make you a champ. For what Jones has done, he is WAY to over hyped.

  • MrAdidas

    Frye557: If you watch Jones interview after the fight about what & why he did what he did, you will see he says he wanted to make Bader feel uncomfortable on the ground b/c hes a wrestler & b/c he was never put on his back in his MMA/UFC career. Maybe you should od a lil more research b4 posting! Just sayin!

  • MrAdidas

    People arent saying hes going to beat or finish Rua on the feet, his trainer is saying dont be surprised if he does. He gave the reasons why he could pose a big problem for Rua on the feet. Jones is very very fast, strong & accurate with a HUGE reach advantage. I agree Jones hasnt fought anyone close to Rua & Rua has fought the whos who over his career, but Rua is an “older” style fighter, compared to Jones whos the “new” breed.

    I love both fighters, but I’m not sure if anyone can get close enough to Jones to make him fight/feel desperate, which would prevent him from using his weapons/strengths. If anyone can beat Jones its Rua & if theres anyone who could give Rua trouble & possibly beat him, its Jones. This fight is going to be sick – cant wait!

    As for you saying his age means nothing?!? HUH are you serious dude?!? So a 21 yr old whos fighting in his 2nd ever UFC fight Vs a true vet in Bonnar doesnt mean anything?!? wow dude, you really need to stop commenting b4 you think. Being 21 yrs old is a HUGE disadvantage, # of fights, experience, skill, type of competition etc. play’s a huge factor in MMA, so being 21 yrs old doesnt give you any advantage but it gives you ALOT of disavantages. I guess thats y most Champs & top fighters are late twentys/early 30’s, but I guess thats all coincidence right?!? LMFAO! WOW

    • Frye557

      Belfort was a champ when he was 20. Tito was a champ by his very early 20s. GSP became a champ in his early 20s. Wanderlei Silva became a champ in his early 20s. The list goes on and on. Lack of experience might factor in, but like I said. Age means nothing.

    • Frye557

      I would like to know, in what sport, including mma, does being young become a negative thing? In mma a typical career is over by the late 30s, sometimes much earlier. Jones had 7 fights going into the UFC, which is more than many current top fighters (ie,Cain,Brock,etc). So, with some relatively good experience, how is it so amazing that a naturally gifted (huge reach) 21 year old beats a below average light heavyweight? It’s not like Jones has been tearing through top competition, he has been fed opponents who are either past their prime, are have weaker wrestling than him (Except Bader perhaps).

      Being 21 is just another piece of his hype train. I’m not saying he’s not talented, but in no way does his age factor against him, esspecially against a slow, average at best light heavy weight such as Bonner, The Janitor, Verra, and Hamill.

    • Frye557

      p.s “you really need to stop commenting b4 i think.”

      Yeah good one. You sure showed me there. I might suggest the same thing to you. Perhaps proofread before you completely contradict yourself.

      • MrAdidas

        BAHAHAHA – are you serious? How did I get you good? I was proving ur an idiot, maybe you should not comment/type b4 you decide to pretend you know what ur talking about. 4 example: the whole Jones couldnt finish Bonnar on the feet so he wouldnt be able to do it Vs Rua – lol good logic, I guess since Rua lost to Forrest, Jones would lose to forrest right?!? Also, b/c you didnt read or see that Jones wanted to finish Badder on the ground/sub must mean he never said that, even though I gave you the example of when he did say that.

        WOW u got me…… what was I thinking not proofreading what I wrote on MMA.com, on the internet. Thanks for the advice, I’ll make sure to use dictionary & thesaurus for people like who, whom apparently cant understand if the words arent spelt WORD 4 WORD – oops I mean word for word!

        FRYE557: LMFAO – GSP was 24 yrs old when he won for the title the 1st time, he was also 24 yrs old when he lost it. GSP was 26 yrs old when he won it the 2nd time. Last time I checked 24-26 yrs old is mid 20’s not early 20’s. As for Anderson Silva he won the MW title @ 30 yrs of age, where do you get your info from IDIOTkipedia? As for Wanderlei, Tito & Vitor, they all won the tiel when they were in their 20’s b/c that was the avg age for the majority of the fighters back then genius, since it was a “new” sport. You keep talking about the past, why dont we talk about NOW, how old are the UFC Champs today?!? Maybe you should worry less about my proofreading & focus more on getting your facts straight professor.

        The Avg age for the 7 UFC Champs is 29-30 yrs of age, so I guess age does matter. I have more people on this site who concur with me/the statement about age does matter, than ur moronic comment about age not mattering.

        mma24069 & Big Guy: I agree with you, AGE & EXPERIENCE DOES MATTER (to a certain degree) Rua has fought in wars/championship rounds, Jones hasnt. But I guess that doesnt mean anything right FRYE557?

        armendo420: If age doesnt mean anything, then why dont we see more younger fighters in the UFC and/or younger Champs? It must be a coincidence! wink wink!


  • mma24069

    not only is age huge when he fought bonnar he had been training for 9 months look how much hes improved in less than 3 years.

  • armendo420

    shogun is gunna get killed 2nd round tko!not gunna say weather it will be standup or on the ground!! but all the ppl that say age is a factor!! ur rong think b4 u speak!! age means faster sharper!!!! but it really means nothing!! BONES JONES ALL THE WAY FUCK ALL THE HATERS!!!

    • Frye557

      Absolutely. I of course disagree with you in regards to Jones winning. But I think your completely right in commenting on his age. Being young is only an advantage for him and I’m glad someone else pointed it out.

  • BigGuy

    Age=experience. That doesn’t mean he won’t beat Shogun, because I think Jones will be the next champ. Having said that, experience and age DO MATTER for something in life. Lack of experience doesn’t mean he can’t win, it just means that he will have to deal with things that he possibly hasn’t before.

    Again, I think Jones will win over Shogun.

    And I still think Forest Griffin is a bitch!