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Aleksandar Rakic says he has better footwork, one-punch power than Jon Jones

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Aleksandar Rakic
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Aleksandar Rakic knows he’s a few fights away from a title shot.

But that doesn’t mean he’s shying away from questions about how he might match up with Jon Jones.

The 27-year-old improved to 4-0 in the UFC on Saturday after landing a thunderous head kick on Jimi Manuwa at UFC Stockholm, increasing the contender buzz around his name. Rakic hasn’t lost since making his pro debut back in October 2011 and this win gave him a dozen victories in a row.

Later in the evening, Rakic was asked how he stacked up against the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion and he pointed out a few key areas that he felt were to his advantage.

“I’m an all-around fighter like him, so it would be a great fight to fight him,” Rakic said at the UFC Stockholm post-fight press conference. “I watched Jon Jones for a long time and I think what I can say now, the advantage I have over him is my footwork and my speed in the punches.

“I think I’m much faster than him and I have more power to finish a fight with one punch, and the footwork.”

Outside of that, Rakic didn’t have much else to say about Jones, a fighter who has never been defeated (outside of a self-inflicted DQ loss back in 2009) in the cage. Rakic had vowed earlier in the week that he would make a statement however, and his knockout of Manuwa spoke volumes.

“I’ve been working so hard, not just for this fight, but every fight for my whole career, I’ve been working for this,” Rakic said. “This is my place and I’m born for it, to be a champion one day.”

Immediately after the fight, Rakic declined to call out a particular opponent and he maintained that position at the evening’s presser, though he reiterated that a top-10 opponent should be next for him. He added that he will not be fighting until after the summer so that he can spend time with his pregnant wife, who is due in September.

Rakic said he will be prepared for any contender that is offered as he and his team have been scouting the elite of the UFC’s light heavyweight division since he signed with the promotion two years ago.

As for how long he thinks it will take him to get to the top, Rakic knows that he still has plenty of room for improvement before the time comes for him to take his turn at dethroning Jones. Rakic won his first two UFC fights by unanimous decision and his last two by first-round knockout. He’s confident that his development will continue along this path and that the best version of himself is yet to be seen.

“I think to fight for the title, I need a couple more fights,” Rakic said. “I need to improve all my skills because to take a title fight against Jon Jones or someone else, it’s hard, you have to be prepared not 100 percent, you to be prepared 200 percent.

“I’m 27 years old, I don’t want to rush, I have plenty of time and you see after every fight in the UFC I’m getting better and better.”