The head trainer at Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Winkeljohn hasn't been thrilled with prized pupil and former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Jones was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely following his arrest on felony hit-and-run charges in April.
Speaking with Submission Radio, Winkeljohn says Jones is moving forward, but admits he's unsure of the former champ's fighting future.
"Jon is going to make the best of it," Winkeljohn said. "He's doing all the right things. He was in the gym helping Andrei Arlovski for his fight. He's in the gym helping others right now. He's gone back to help others, stopped doing those things that get you in trouble and go forward.
"I'm looking forward to Jon turning his life around and becoming a better person. Is he fighting again or not? I'm not sure. That's not important. What is important right now is that Jon takes care of himself and his family."
Describing Jones' rapport with he and Greg Jackson as having remained 'very good,' Winkeljohn maintains again that Jones' personal development is paramount to fighting.
"Oh yea," said of the real possibility of Jon never fighting again. "To us, the most important thing is Jon Jones. Everybody seems to forget other things but at the end of the day it's for Jon Jones to become the best person he can. The fighter is secondary. We lose sight of it. There's a possibility that he might not fight. There's a possibility that he might fight. I know right now he's staying busy helping others in the gym. That's very important.
"Jon's just coming into the gym, doing his job. He's just focused on helping others. That's all I can say, all I will say. That's the important part about it. I can't dig into his emotions or tell you anything about him personally, but he's there to help others which is very very important to us."
While some have questioned the legitimacy of Cormier's claim to the crown, Winkeljohn isn't among them.
"He's got the belt," Winkeljohn said of Cormier. "That's it. Jon was the champ, he's no longer the champ. Daniel Cormier's got the belt. I saw his fight with 'Rumble' and he deserves to be champion. He took a heck of a shot. They don't come any tougher than that. Coming back, staying composed enough to slip under that punch and take [Johnson] down to go into his world. He deserves to be champion.
"Daniel Cormier has been nothing but respectful and courteous when I've talked to him, as has been 'Rumble.' These guys are great and there's no reason to take that away from him. He's a champ right now, a UFC champ. I wish him all the luck."
Following his loss to Jones at UFC 182 in January, Cormier voiced disappointment over the absence of a key training partner, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. While Velasquez nursed injuries, Cormier's primary sparring partner became UFC middleweight contender Luke Rockhold.
With Cormier having the benefit of Velasquez' help leading up to UFC 187 against Johnson, Winkeljohn was asked if he noticed any marked difference.
"I don't think there was as much media involved with it," Winkeljohn said of Cormier's match with Johnson. "A little bit less emotion, but Daniel still does the same things that he did with Jon and that we had scouted. He doesn't look a lot different in this fight [with Johnson]. He was successful in the same things, it's just that 'Rumble' throws different things.
"[Johnson's] just a different fighter so I think Daniel was the same guy he was when he fought Jon. I'm not sure what changes he made. He looks like the same guy. He's very good at what he does."
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Fight Night New Orleans post-fight presser.
' @arielhelwani GoGo choke and it was very deep. Everyone talking shit has never been put it one period— Big Ben Rothwell (@RothwellFighter) June 7, 2015
Got my 10th win in the UFC tonight!! Thank you all for the support!— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) June 7, 2015
No matter what happens never give up always fight no matter what and no matter where you are in the... https://t.co/9vFolMAxZl— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) June 8, 2015
Thank you Master Renato! I hear your in my city tonight?! https://t.co/9MMwvukgnL— Anthony Birchak (@abirchakMMA) June 7, 2015
Action shot from last night. Thanks again for all of the support !! Thanks NOLA it's been real.... https://t.co/IVd8DvA0Sy— Chris Wade (@CWadeMMA) June 7, 2015
This one was for papa ❤️ https://t.co/bu6fA4qrw8— Joe Proctor (@JoeProctor) June 7, 2015
Jake Collier (@Jakecollier88) June 7, 2015
Better luck next time.
What an F'n disaster. I'm so disappointedi can't even express it. A F'n shot? WTF? I felt great. Slick and dangerous. Then I do that.— Matt Mitrione (@mattmitrione) June 7, 2015
I Just want say Thank you, guys suport me for ALL, ALL friends And people who believe in my job.
I give my best.
I always say, when i Fight inside the octogon, I Really come to fight, to finish my oponents, And give the best show for you guys. Sometimes, shit happens ... And I lost ..
But ... I will keep going ...
Muito obrigado pelo apoio de todos. Me sinto honrado pela quantidade de mensagens que tenho... https://t.co/m0RBccqb82— Thiago Tavares UFC (@TavaresMMA) June 7, 2015
Time for me to take a new role in this sport/industry. One more suited to my age!!!... http://t.co/IbTd1ylkgK— Brian Ebersole (@TwasEbersole) June 7, 2015
Cool clip from the fight. Good to see my hands improving ! Now time to get back to some wrestling ... https://t.co/P9rgPBdr2c— christos giagos (@CGiagos) June 7, 2015
What do I need to do to get a bonus— Joe Proctor (@JoeProctor) June 7, 2015
Congrats @IKEVF :) on your win last night. I'm so happy for you brother :)— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) June 7, 2015
Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) June 7, 2015
Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 8, 2015
Thanks for everything.
He did. He just retired. https://t.co/wffrg5M4Kh— Brian Ebersole (@TwasEbersole) June 8, 2015
I'll tap all you fools that make fun of my spelling— nick diaz (@nickdiaz209) June 7, 2015
Announced this weekend (June 5-7 2015)
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