While many fans are growing weary of the talk surrounding Jon Jones’ proposed move to heavyweight given that it is now around 2.5 years since we have seen the former UFC light heavyweight champion in the cage, talk continues to filter out of his training base about just how great he is performing ahead of his debut in the weight class, whenever that may be.
According to Jones’ new coach Brandon Gibson, though, the wait will be well worth it once we witness this new iteration of one of the UFC’s most successful fighters. He told Submission Radio as noted by MMA Junkie: “Believe me, Jon is hitting hard, and he’s so skilled right now. His skill set’s at an all-time high, and he has so much power and athleticism and stamina on top of it all. I think the fans are going to be really, really shocked and surprised when they see him at heavyweight.
“You think of fighters going up in a weight class, and they always put on size and mass and power. You look at Conor from his 145 days, going up to lightweight, going up to welterweight. And that’s a 25-pound difference. Jon Jones, his weight is up there right now, and it’s much more than 25-pounds.
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“So, he is hitting extremely hard and extremely accurate and technical, and fast. I’ve trained a lot of amazing heavyweights. I trained Arlovski and Overeem and Frank Mir and Travis Browne, and Jon Jones is more powerful, explosive, creative, dynamic than all of them. So I can’t wait to see Jon make that walk at heavyweight. It’s going to be something truly, truly special, and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
Still, questions remain — even if that is simply because of what is quickly approaching a three-year layoff from the sport. A fight with Stipe Miocic has been mooted; a challenge which Gibson says he welcomes.
“Stipe’s the greatest UFC champion in heavyweight history,” Gibson stated. “Very well-rounded, championship experience. He’s shown so much resilience in the trilogy with (Daniel Cormier) and his ability to come back. And Stipe has a victory over Francis, as well. He’s a great, well-rounded martial artist who’s powerful, who has devastating knockout power in both hands. And then Francis just has that X-factor — his size, his strength, and he can sleep anybody, from any stance, from any angle. He doesn’t need to be balanced or be punching off his back foot. It doesn’t matter.
“So they both have their challenges and their own unique ways, and we’re going to have to take each of them very differently — very differently. But Jon Jones has the skill set to get his hand raised in both of those bouts. There’s no doubt in my mind about it.
“There’s nobody like Jon Jones at heavyweight. There’s no one as fast, as gifted in all the disciplines like Jon is. And his IQ is off the chart. Not to say that these other guys aren’t smart, brilliant fighters, but Jon Jones’ IQ and comprehension of his game is unlike anybody else’s in the world.”