Jones, Gomi Both With Something To Prove
As Jon "Bones" Jones and Takanori Gomi enter the cage on this Sunday night, they will have something in common, in spite of their careers seemingly headed in opposite directions.
They will both be trying to prove something.
For Gomi, he's trying to prove he belongs in the UFC and is still one of the top lightweights in the world. That he is the same fighter that reeled off 14 straight wins to start his professinal career. That he's still "The Fireball Kid."
Jones will be trying to hush critics that "The Janitor" is a bad matchup for him. That he likely will get bullied around the cage, something he is not by any means used to in his short, but electrifying UFC career.
Jones doesn't need anyone to tell him what Matyushenko brings to the table.
"I respect Vladimir a ton and I look at him as a huge step-up in competition and a huge test for me. I think he’s a great warrior and he’s everything when it comes to having a tough fight. He probably has some of the best wrestling credentials I ever fought against, he definitely has the best record I’ve ever gone against, and he’s the best fighter I ever fought. I think he’s better than Stephan Bonnar, better than Hamill, better than Brandon Vera. Technique wise and skill wise, I’m considering him the hardest fight I’ve had."
Matyushenko believes his time in the cage and fights under his belt, will be the difference in the fight.
"He's young, and he's dangerous," Matyushenko said of Jones. "He made himself a name pretty quick. But I think I'm his toughest opponent so far. I definitely have to use everything in my arsenal for this fight, and experience is one of the things I've got."
"The biggest thing is that when you are experienced, you can get kicked in the leg or hit in the face and you don't go back to your wrestling and forget about your game plan. You just keep doing what you came to do. That's an ability that comes with experience," he said. "My experience helps me not just in the fight, but preparing for the fight, choosing the right trainers and the right approach. When I was younger, I would just go bang all the time. Now I'm much more careful, trying to prevent injuries."
For the legendary Gomi, he will be another fighter on a growing list of those trying to keep from tarnishing their legacies with subpar performances late in their careers.
Welcome to the UFC.
The always tough, always game Tyson Griffin is ready for the chance to further raise questions about what happened to "The Fireball Kid."
"Even when I first heard Gomi signed with the UFC I had my manager get on the phone and tried to get that fight," said Griffin. "I tried to be the first guy to welcome him to the UFC and I didn't get it, so again, that was another reason I was easily willing to accept the fight when it was offered to me."
When talking about the short layoff from his loss to Evan Dunham, Griffin discounted having to prepare in advance for the matchup with Gomi.
“I don't really need much time to prepare,” he said. “It's not like Gomi's got anything spectacular about him. He's just a hard-nosed fighter and aggressive. I've dealt with that a lot. I think that's a perfect matchup for me.”
Either way, the full card looks to bring some great fights to a an otherwise uneventful Sunday night.
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