For a skyrocketing 23-year-old superstar, Jon Jones is about as grounded and humble as they come. After hearing his next potential victory would come against Ryan Bader during Super Bowl weekend, it appears you can add blunt to the plethora of things used to describe the phenom.
This past Friday, MMA’s Next Coming appeared as a guest on Inside MMA and didn’t appear too thrilled with the prospects of facing the All-American wrestler. While he may have sidestepped dissing Bader’s game directly, Jones wasn’t as reserved after his manager Malki Kawa confirmed his February 5th date on Monday evening.
“I thought Bader was exposed,” Jones told MMAFighting.com. “At first, Bader had me a believer in his double-legs. I thought with his strength and his power, he could double-leg down anyone. But Nogueira exposed him in the wrestling department, big time. That was interesting to see.”
As if slighting Bader’s bread and butter wasn’t enough, Jones also noticed the chiseled Arizona State stud isn’t the best conditioned athlete in the game. While he was clearly sucking wind against Little Nog in the latter rounds, “Bones” had observed Bader’s breathing issues prior to his uneventful unanimous decision over the veteran.
“I think he gassed out and I think he’s been gassing out in his last few fights,” Jones said. “With his strength may come a lack of cardio. … Where he has the physical power, I think genetics don’t allow him to be able to go a vicious fifteen minutes like he needs to, especially when someone really puts the heat on him.”
It was reported prior to UFC 119 that the winner would be fed to the Greg Jackson trained fighter in their next outing. Now that Jones has been given his next assignment, he’s wasted no time in cracking the books.
“I was studying him and Nogueira, but now that I know it’s Bader I’m watching all his fights, all his interviews – I’m obsessed with the guy. It’s a great feeling,” Jones stated. “I want to get to know Ryan Bader as if I was his coach or his trainer. I want to know what his tendencies are, what punch he throws the most, what makes him want to shoot his double-leg, where is his mental security blanket is in the Octagon.
“You know, where does he like to shoot? Does he like to shoot in the middle of the cage or against the cage? Every time I watch a fight I pick up something different. I just like to study. There’s a quote that says, ‘If you know yourself and you know your opponent, you shouldn’t fear the results of 100 battles.’ Just really being prepared gives you a lot of confidence.”
Although Jones was quick to pick apart Bader’s game, he’s smart enough to understand “Darth” didn’t just stumble upon his perfect 12-0 resume.
“I think Bader’s a great fighter. I guess the only disappointment was that I’m fighting guys with the same style, and that’s wrestling/boxing,” Jones said. “I look at Ryan Bader’s style as being like a boxer that’s looking for the double-leg takedown the whole time. I’m just ready to fight different styles, like southpaws and strikers and jiu jitsu aces and stuff like that.”