Coach Winklejohn Predicts Jones-Cormier, Talks Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey


Coach Mike Winklejohn recently spoke to the folks at Submission Radio about a number of topics, including training Jon Jones for Daniel Cormier at UFC 178, their recent brawl, Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey, training Alistair Overeem and more.

Below are highlights from the interview:

On how Jon Jones training is going for Daniel Cormier: “Oh yeah, we’ve got a game plan together. You know Jon called me immediately when we found out about it and automatically we started watching those tapes and going over stuff. Definitely got a good game plan for it, Jon’s as focused as ever, he’s working out hard, he’s way ahead of schedule in his training, he’s extra motivated by it, and he should be. You know what, that’s why Jon’s as good as he is and he’s fighting an incredible wrestler and striker in Cormier. So this is gonna be a great fight, but there is no doubt in my mind Jon is gonna come out ahead.”

On if Jon will be limited to hand techniques with Cormier being such an accomplished wrestler: “On yeah, you know what, that’s what people think, but you know it’s one of those things that you can get taken down in a lot of places. You know the closer you are to somebody, the faster you get taken down. Jon’s taking a low stance, Jon will be letting some kicks go there is no doubt about it, but there will be a lot of elbows thrown, where it’ll be on top or on the ground”

“Jon plans on, the game plan is hit him, hit him hard. So there’s no doubt about that. I can let that part out, I just can’t say how we’re going to do it.”

Thoughts on press conference scuffle and if Coach Wink worries that it may take Jon’s mind of training: “You know, some fighters I’d worry about, but really Jon’s not that guy.”

“The scuffle is unfortunate. It’s a shame, but you can see it happening, that’s what guys do. These guys are fighters, that’s what they do. He steps up, you know, you push me back hard, well I’m gonna push you back harder. So that’s what they do, and it’s almost to be expected in some ways, I’m not that surprised by it. It’s a shame because some people don’t understand that mentality in the moment, the emotions that are going on if they’ve never been in there, you know think that these guys are just super violent individuals outside the cage, and they’re not.”

On thoughts about the accidently recorded conversation between Jones and Cormier where inappropriate things by both fighters were said, including Jones telling Cormier that he would “Kill him.”: “Nah It’s just words. You know what and maybe you guys haven’t but I know growing up and stuff like that you’d be messing with, even my friends, you know you’d get mad at them and you say things like that and you don’t mean it, you know. You’re not really gonna go out and take the guys head off. So no, I don’t think it’s that level by any means. I think it’s just talk, I think that’s what people do when they get pissed off and get emotional. They’re both professional guys and just emotional about what they do. They both wanna win, they’re passionate. So you have to in some ways you love that.”

Thoughts on Jon Jones’ evolution showing his true personality to fans: “Oh I think so. I think he’s more comfortable with cameras around him, I think his more comfortable with a lot of things. (At the) Same time, you know what, the cameras on you all the time and I’m nobody, but I don’t know how I’d react if I was mic’d up 24/7, people following me around with cameras, and you can’t ever say the wrong thing, you’re always second guessing what you say, that’s a tough world. So that’s just so hard to even talk about to imagine what anybody else would do. I think Jon has handled all of his fame, and all the cameras being around him, and all the pressure of people and all the negativity, along with positivity, very well for a guy his age. Most of the kids his age his age who become superstars, they’re real close to falling off the cliff sometimes.”

Mike Winkeljohn’s prediction on how Jon Jones will beat Daniel Cormier at UFC 178: “Submission led to by strikes”

On Holly Holms recovery update: “You know what, she’s still working hard, she’s out there wrestling with one arm every day, she’s been working on her kicks. Her kicks are going to a whole new level. You can’t get her out of the gym.”

“What people don’t understand about Holly is, she’s been wrestling and doing things ‘MMA wise’ for years. It’s just (that) she boxed because that was – at the moment before UFC picked up women – was where the money was.”

“Her bone is healing well. You know most, because I had the doctor looking at the x-ray now, and it’s getting better. So we think that for sure she’ll be back fighting in November and kinda in tentative time right now with the UFC”

On Holly dealing with the pressure of having a target on her back in the UFC women’s division: “It’s been great so far. You know Holly’s fought the best who’s who list of women in boxing, and it’s always been the next big fight. And that’s the thing, so she’s used to that, she’s used to the pressure, and honestly I think she’s gonna handle it just fine. She’s just focused on winning the fights and I don’t think the pressure’s gonna bug her in the slightest”

On Holly’s progression on the ground: “Well l like I said she’s been doing it for years and stuff. There’s a couple of girls who have fought in the UFC and currently do fight in the UFC that have come wrestled her, and let me put it this way, Holly can toss them.”

“Holly is very strong. People just don’t understand, she’s still nervous about it in the cage, and that’s where we have to go. That’s why it’s gonna take some time. We gotta get her comfortable in the cage, you know not second guessing anything, but her skills are there. She can go people, nope she’s not able to wrestle head to head with Ronda Rousey yet. But then again, all she has to do is escape, get up, and Ronda’s gonna do that all over again.”

On Ronda Rousey not wanting to stand in front of Holly: “First off, she wouldn’t wanna stand right in front of Holly and with that being said, the angles and the foot work that Holly has is a whole different thing. And the fact that Holly can strike from such a long range with her kicks as well, it’s scary for any women out there in that division.”

On working with Alistair Overeem: “He’s gone out of his way to help other people in the gym with their skills, which is huge to me, and he’s a charismatic guy, he’s fun to be around, he does what he says. I absolutely love having him on the team. It’s been great so far. He’s been working with Jon Jones a little bit just as of recent, he makes friends with everybody in the gym, he keeps it professional. I don’t know if he hangs out with anyone outside the gym, which I actually like better because they come, they work with each other, they beat each other up, they learn from each other, and they go forward and become better fighters.”

On what Coach Wink is working with Overeem on currently: “Being in the right place in the right time. I think Alistair again – like I think I told you guys before – what I tell people is, the man can hit, the man can kick already, but he gets caught or he uses too much energy in places, or he has ran out of gas, or making simple mistakes strategy wise, as well as technique wise, as well as foot work wise that I think that can take him to a whole new level. In fact I know it will, and you know if his mind’s set straight, I think Alistair is gonna be on a tear going for the title pretty soon.”

How Kyle Noke is doing with his knee injury: “You know he’s holding up as best as he can. The poor guy just can’t get a break, he keeps getting injured. It’s just one of those things, he hasn’t fought that many times in the last couple of years and it’s a little disheartening that that’s happened, but you know hopefully the injury isn’t quite as bad as bad as I first thought. I thought he was gonna be out for a good long time, but hopefully he’ll be back fighting again in about 3 months.”

You can listen to the audio of the interview above.

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