Jon Jones wishes he wasn’t too comfortable heading into his latest fight.
The legendary-yet-troubled light heavyweight champion will meet knockout artist Thiago Santos in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., July 6, 2019) UFC 239 from Las Vegas. True, “Marreta” is one of the most fearsome power punchers in the UFC right now.
But for Jones, each defense has almost become just another day at the office for him. Overall, PED-related drug testing issues have taken him out of more fights than actual fighters have. When he shows up, he’s largely dominant. He expects that run to continue this week to the point he’s almost too comfortable for it. Speaking in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (via BJPENN.com), Jones claimed he’d prefer to feel a bit more nervous heading into UFC 239:
“It just feels all like another day at the office for me at this point. It’s just also familiar. High-pressure moments, tough opponents, fighting the next scariest guy, the guy who’s been on the tear. And it’s all so familiar right now. It’s almost too comfortable in this space. I would appreciate being a little more nervous. It’ll make me feel like I’m more ready, but I am ready and I feel great.”
Last Time Jones Was Nervous
It is definitely true that Jones’ title defenses feel like more of the same at this point, as he’s trounced each and every opponent with relative ease. He only just returned from a nearly year-and-a-half-long hiatus to regain the title against Alexander Gustafsson in December 2018. But a prime ‘Mauler’ was the only fighter to take Jones to the limit in their classic bout at September 2013’s UFC 165.
So while each title defense may seem par for the course for ‘Bones,’ he admitted the last time he was nervous was for his recent return against Gustafsson. Once he dominated the fight and regained the belt, however, the answers he was looking for were found:
“I think the Gustafsson [rematch]. It can’t help but to be. He’s the one person that put me in a hospital after 10 years of fighting. Put me on morphine. The guy who was just as tall just as long as me. With Gustafsson, I had a lot of questions about how I would perform in a rematch and those questions were answered. I like the answers.”
In terms of just fighting, there’s not much you can’t like about the controversial champion from Upstate New York. ‘Bones’ may be the best fighter in the history of the sport. If not for his continued drug-related issues, that title would almost assuredly be his. It’s debatable if a win over Santos will gain him that lofty accomplishment.
He’s also been rumored for a move up to heavyweight for quite some time. He’s looking for a large payday to do it. But he’ll have to focus and remain on point to get past the Brazilian “Marreta” first.
Should Jon Jones be a bit more nervous heading into UFC 239, or does it even matter?