by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Sometimes it seems like Jon Jones almost has an unfair advantage heading into a fight.
Sure, he’s a gifted fighter with a load of natural ability, but add coaches Greg Jackson, Mike Winklejohn, and Trevor Wittman, along with a host of the some of the best training partners in all of MMA, and it’s like playing blackjack when you already know what card will be dealt next.
As Jones prepared for his Aug. 1 showdown with Vladdy Matyushenko at UFC on Versus 2, he worked with his regular cast of characters, but this time he had another advantage. One of Jones’ main places to train is the Grudge Training Center in Colorado, which also happens to be home to former UFC fighter Eliot Marshall.
Marshall happens to be the last fighter to face Matyushenko in the cage, just a few short months ago, and his training partners experienced déjà vu prepping Jones for this match-up.
“All the guys up there have been trying to emulate Matyushenko’s style, and they’ve been studying him a long time, but now I go up there and I get a whole playbook handed to me, his tendencies, his weaknesses, and strengths, it’s awesome,” Jones said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio. “It’s like starting the training camp ahead of the game already.”
The playbook will be masterfully crafted by Jackson and the other coaches in the camp. Under their tutelage Jones has looked virtually flawless in all of his fights.
In this fight, Matyushenko has an experience edge on Jones, having fought in three times as many fights. He’s also a world class wrestler with international experience under his belt.
This isn’t anything new to Jones though because he’s been told about these “bad match-ups” ever since he arrived in the UFC, and he seems to be doing okay so far.
“Vladimir’s not the first guy I’ve fought against that’s supposed to be a grinder,” Jones explained. “Jake O’Brien was supposed to be a bigger, stronger wrestler. He was going to take me down and hold me down and pound me out. It didn’t happen. Matt Hamill is another guy. It’s almost impossible to knock him out and he’s a grinder, and he was supposed to take me down, be bigger, stronger and tougher, and it didn’t happen.”
Jones is very excited about this fight though because of what Matyushenko does bring to the table. The New York native doesn’t run from challenges, he runs towards them, and it’s no different in this fight either.
“What I’m most excited about with this fight is Vladimir’s not really great at anything,” said Jones. “He’s a good wrestler, he’s a powerful puncher, he’s decent at jiu-jitsu, but he’s not known for being great at anything. This is going to be a fight where I can display how well rounded I am right now.”
Jones will look to display those skills when he faces Matyushenko in San Diego as a part of the UFC on Versus 2 show this weekend.