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Morning Report: Coach doesn't think Jon Jones will ever accept another short notice fight

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It appears that once was enough for Jon Jones.

Last weekend, Jones returned from his suspension by the UFC, outpointing sixth-ranked light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux over five rounds in a performance many decried as lackluster. Jones's wrestling coach Izzy Martinez puts the performance down to the lack of time Jones had to prepare and says that is likely to be the last time Jones ever fights on short notice. In an interview with Brian Stann on his SiriusXM Rush radio show Toe-2-Toe, Martinez spoke about the difficulties the short notice fight caused Jones and a why he doesn't think Jones will ever accept another replacement fight.

"I just think Jonny was...he's a programmed fighter so it's kind of crazy with Jon. We were okay with him taking the fight but I don't think Jon Jones will ever take a short notice fight again because there are too many variables that we didn't prepare for. When you're so focused on one person, and then you get a different person, you know it's tough."

Jones has originally been set to face his rival and current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier for the title until Cormier was forced to withdraw due to an injured knee three weeks out. Jones opted to take a short notice fight against Saint Preux in part, he said, to make up for refusing to fight Chael Sonnen on ten days' notice at UFC 151 - which ended up being canceled. Jones dominated the fight with Saint Preux, winning every round on every score card and even earning a 10-8 round from judge Sal D'Amato. Still, Jones's performance fell short of the dismantling many had predicted beforehand and his inability to finish the fight in the fifth round, despite Saint Preux's broken arm and all but spent cardio, left many people unsatisfied. Jones and his team both know that it wasn't his best performance in the octagon.

"We're not making excuses. I don't ever make excuses. It is what it is. OSP's a stud. He gave us a great fight. But I'll tell you what Jonny's got to make some adjustments. Short notice fights aren't good for Jon. Even though he's the best fighter in the world, still that's not what we are programmed to do. We're programmed to literally have a great team around us, dissect this guy, and really break it down so when we're out there we've been through every possible scenario, every possible reach advantage or submission hold or grappling takedown. We've gone through all of those protocols. And it was unfortunate because we only had three weeks to do that."

A point that rarely gets mentioned when discussing short notice opponent changes is the stylistic and strategic implementations that go into fighter preparation during training camps. When an opponent pulls out of a fight due to injury many fans expect fighters to accept any late replacement opponent, assuming the fighter who has been in camp for weeks will have the edge in preparation. However, for many of the elite fighters in MMA, camps are the time a fighter's game is fine tuned to face a specific opponent. Top fighters spend weeks or even months learning the triggers and tendencies of their opponent and drilling responses into their muscle memory. When a fighter's opponent is suddenly replaced these triggers can be useless or even detrimental depending on the style and predilections of the new foe. In this instance, Jones was forced to switch his preparation between two very dissimilar fighters which Martinez thinks played a factor.

"We were anticipating an orthodox fighter with Daniel Cormier. Then all of a sudden with three weeks left we're going for a southpaw fighter. Then when we get to the fight, OSP's fighting us in orthodox! So I think that played a little bit of a factor with Jon because Jon was so focused on preparing for orthodox Cormier to a southpaw, then all of a sudden [Saint Preux] is coming out orthodox."

Jones not only faced the short notice struggles for this bout but other outside factors as well. Jones was coming off a year long layoff and many have commented on what appeared to be noticeable "ring rust"  hindering his performance. Also, audio came out from Jones's corner during the fight, lamenting Jones's weight training program for its perceived negative effect on his cardio. With all these factors weighing him down, Martinez was just happy Jones got the win on Saturday and was also quick to offer Saint Preux praise, claiming that he is steadily improving and that though he is ranked No. 6 Martinez believes Saint Preux is really one of the 'top three, top four" light heavyweights in the world today. Regardless of the quality of his performance, Jones got the win he needed to now challenge Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship he once held and Martinez believes that fighting Saint Preux was good for Jones going into his rematch with the champion.

"It was a great warmup fight. I'll tell you what, DC's in trouble now."

Jones and Cormier are expected to rematch later this year, possibly as the main event of UFC 200.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

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Controversy. Travis Browne talks about the domestic abuse allegations made against him.

Human cockfighting. Senator John McCain favors extending the Ali Act to cover MMA.

Of course he does. John Kavanagh thinks keeping McGregor off the future New York card would be "going too far."

Possibly broken dreams. Jon Jones requires an X-ray for a possible broken foot which could side-line him up to 6 months.

Farewell. Akbarh Arreola announces his retirement from MMA.

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EXTRA CREDIT READING

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First time. Sarah Kurchak of Fightland talks to Patrick Cote about his first ever fight. This is such a good idea for a series and I am jealous that I didn't think of it.

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MEDIA STEW

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Dana is shameless. In a bar fight, you would take the three fighters who just happen to be your biggest stars? Well if the other side has DC, Werdum, and Cain you are proper screwed.

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Forrest Griffin is enjoyable. But wrong about oblique kicks.

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The extended preview for Werdum vs. Arlovski.

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A continuation of Cowboy's 197 vlog.

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He makes a shockingly good point about the body types of historically great fighters.

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LONG WATCHES

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TWEETS

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If he is right then we are looking at the headliner of UFC 200 I'm guessing.

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Jose Aldo will not stop going in.

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Elias Theodorou jumping in the Russian politician gifting cars game.

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Forrest and Sage Northcutt clearly do social media differently.

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GSP sure seems to be training hard a lot lately. Maybe he really is coming back.

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This is great and has to feel infinitely better than that $1000 sundae.

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It appears the Hooligan will be opening his own gym. Best of luck to him.

Phase 2 of life begins ,coach the next generation.. pass on what was passed on #sbgtallaght #sbg #newbeginnings #tallaght #beginners #welcome

A photo posted by Paddy "The Hooligan" Holohan (@paddyholohanmma) on 

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Glad McCain has come around on the old human cockfighting.

"Phil Davis for president" #merica big thanks to @senjohnmccain for his support of MMA

A video posted by Phil Davis (@philmrw) on 

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JDS is just the happiest guy, even when his arm is in a sling.

Apesar de ser Brasileiro nunca joguei futebol muito bem, eu nunca fui o melhor nadando, correndo, ou em qualquer outro esporte assim. Mas na luta. Na luta eu me encontrei e eu posso dizer que sou bom nisso, luto bem. Mas ser lutador exige e desgasta muito e às vezes mesmo na vitória podemos nos machucar. Eu poderia dizer que agora seria um momento bem difícil, mas é exatamente ao contrário, eu me sinto abençoado. Eu machuquei um pouco o meu ombro mas conquistei uma grande vitória, estou tendo excelentes cuidados e muito, muito em breve estarei 100% novamente. Eu fiz uma rápida cirurgia esta manhã no meu ombro e como disse meu amigo e médico Dr Howard Gelb @drgelb que cuidou de mim, tudo correu perfeitamente bem, tão bem que eu até já estou em casa relaxando. Só Queria que vocês soubessem por mim | | Despite being Brazilian I've never played soccer very well, I also wasn't good enough on swimming or running or any other sports like those. But luckily I found myself in the fight world and I can say, I'm good it. But fighting demands a lot and sometimes even in victory we can get hurt. I could say that now would be a very difficult time for me, but I actually feel blessed. I hurt my shoulder a bit but I won a great fight, and I'm having a excellent care so that very, very soon I will be 100% again. I had a small shoulder surgery this morning and as my good friend Doctor Howard Gelb @drgelb who took great care of me said, everything went perfectly and guess what! I'm already at home relaxing. I just would like to let you guys know through me

A photo posted by Junior Cigano Dos Santos (@junior_cigano) on 

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Willie Gates (12-6-0) vs. Yuta Sasaki (18-3-2); UFC Fight Night 87, May 8.

Attila Vegh (29-6-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (25-6-0); M-1 Challenge 68, June 16.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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2013: Jon Jones defended his UFC light heavyweight championship, defeating Chael Sonnen by first round TKO at UFC 159. Also on the card Sara McMann made her UFC debut, defeating Sheila Gaff via punches in the first round. This fight set McMann up for her title shot against Ronda Rousey.

2007: Yoshiro Maeda defended his Pancrase featherweight championship beating ranked contender Danny Batten via unanimous decision at Pancrase: Rising 4.

1997: Yuki Kondo became the King of Pancrase (winning the Pancrase openweight championship), defeating Masakatsu Funaki via triangle armbar at Pancrase: Alive 4. Also on the card Bas Rutten defeated future Pancrase middleweight and welterweight champion Kiuma Kunioku by decision.

1987: Bellator heavyweight and all around good guy Justin Wren was born.

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Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.