Jon Jones believes that past rival Alexander Gustafsson went about his move to the heavyweight division all wrong.
By all appearances, Jon Jones will definitely be competing in the heavyweight division for his next fight. Should Jones end his career at heavyweight, then one of Jones’s last handful of fights at light heavyweight would be the rematch against Alexander Gustafsson, a bout that saw Jon Jones earn a convincing submission victory in a fight that was far less competitive than their first classic from UFC 165 in 2013.
Many consider the first fight between Jones and Gustafsson to be one of, if not the best fight of all time. But not too long after Jones won the rematch in 2018, Gustafsson decided to try his hand in the heavyweight division. Gustafsson would once again lose by submission, this time to former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. Jon Jones believes part of the reason for this outcome is Alexander Gustafsson’s lack of proper preparation before making the heavyweight leap.
“I don’t think [Gustafsson] did it the right way,” Jones told ESPN recently. “Just because you gain some extra pounds doesn’t mean you’re ready to compete against these boys that were born that way. You’ve got to really take your time, find your body, find your feet, your new speed, your new rhythm. And then go up there and play the game.”
Jon Jones has every intention on taking his own advice before he debuts in the heavyweight division next year.
“I’m trying to change my whole makeup,” Jones said. “There are some guys that are way bigger than me up there. I’m just constantly pushing … I have to commit my whole life to this project. I’m committed.”
Jon Jones’s coaches have vouched for the progress Jones has been making during his preparation for a heavyweight run, and they see a very fresh start for a man who’s already achieved so much in the sport.
“I’ve trained Jon for over 10 years now,” striking coach Brandon Gibson said. “I’ve seen so much growth in his technique and his strategy, his arsenal. But to feel Jon at 240-plus pounds right now, he has a lot of power, but he hasn’t lost his footwork, his technique, his stamina or his speed. His IQ is only going to continue to grow in the game and his approach to these fights.”
“We are making sure that he’s going to be just as explosive, just as quick as he was at light heavyweight,” strength and conditioning coach Jordan Chavez added. “And bring the dynamic ability and the shock that he has shown the MMA world at light heavyweight. He’s going to bring the same shock and awe to the heavyweight division. Because there’s never been an athlete like him in the heavyweight division.”
What are your thoughts on Jon Jones’s critique of the way Alexander Gustafsson went about his move up to the heavyweight division?