Johnny Walker has a big fight later this year, but he’s setting his sights on champion Jon Jones. And he believes he’s the only man to reveal the ‘real’ version of ‘Bones.’
Rising light heavyweight star Walker is undefeated in his three official UFC bouts so far. He’s finished each fight by knockout in under two minutes of the first round. Ranked at No. 11, that streak has earned him a shot against No. 7 Cory Anderson at November 2’s UFC 244.
The fight promises to be a launching pad to a huge fight for the victor. Both Walker and Anderson have called out dominant champion Jones in recent months, but they’ll have to face one another first. If and when he gets past “Overtime,” Walker has a plan for his perceived fight with Jones. There’s recently been talk that Jones has slowed a bit following his close win over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. Walker agrees, as he told the Eurobash MMA podcast (via MMA Fighting) that Jones didn’t want to risk himself against a very injured Santos:
“I think Jon Jones respects Thiago and Thiago respect Jon Jones. Jon Jones has a very good control game and he doesn’t want to risk himself because he knows Thiago has good hands and he had power to knock him out. But Thiago injured both knees, a bad injury, he needs a lot of surgery. Jon Jones need a lot of time to beat a guy with a lot of injuries.”
Walker Will ‘Make Jones Better’
Indeed, Santos had major surgery on both of his knees after it was revealed he had torn every major ligament in his left knee. He had a previous knee injury to his right knee that needed to be taken care of as well. Taking that into consideration, Santos’ close call against Jones was thoroughly impressive. But it also conveyed a loss of invincibility for Jones.
Walker knows “Bones” can show more than that in the Octagon. He believes he’s the man to push him to that limit:
“I know Jon Jones can do better than that, and that’s why I want to fight him — I know I can give him the proper fight. I can push him to fight better and then everyone will see who Jon Jones is, then everyone can see who is the real champion.”
Use ‘Bones” Style Against Him?
Known primarily as a striker (and for good reason), Walker immediately addressed the dynamic of Jones being able to outmatch him in the wrestling and grappling departments. He acknowledged Jones could take him down, yet that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to do the same thing. He even claimed he could ‘punish’ Jones on the ground – something no one else has been able to do:
“I could use his style as well. He can take me down, but I can take him down as well. I could give him a proper ground fight, nobody has been able to give him any punishment on the ground, I think I can punish him on the ground.”
Jones has been rumored to return at UFC 244 as well, although an opponent hasn’t been named as of yet. Many believe it could be his oft-discussed trilogy fight with Daniel Cormier. However, Jones insists that fight just won’t happen, even if ‘DC’ isn’t buying that response.
Walker could be on the short list of contenders for “Bones'” throne if he comes out with another dazzling showcase at UFC 244. He could also find himself waiting for Jones vs. Cormier III to play out and having to fight one or even two more times. Walker is only 27 years old, so his future in the 205-pound division seems to be only beginning.
Will the Brazilian prospect be able to deliver on the mat against a champion like Jones?