clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morning Report: Coach says fight with Israel Adesanya may happen at heavyweight: ‘Jon [Jones] doesn’t need to chase anybody, they need to chase him’

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Winkeljohn

Earlier this year, Jon Jones vacated his UFC light heavyweight title, stating his intention to finally move up to the heavyweight division. In the aftermath, Jan Blachowicz knocked out Dominick Reyes to become the new champion and now, it appears that Blachowicz will get the fight that Jones never did: a superfight with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Jones and Adesanya have been publicly feuding for the last two years, with Adesanya stating that he intended to face Jones in 2021, after first doing his duty as middleweight champion and defeating the top contenders. Jones chose not to wait for Adesanya and now, “The Last Stylebender” has been announced as the next challenger for Blachowicz’s title. Many view this as a transparent attempt by the UFC to finally set up the Jones-Adesanya fight in the only way that would make sense, given Jones vacating his belt this year, and Adesanya has basically admitted he intends to face Jones once he wins the title. But apparently, he may have to move up yet another weight class to do so.

Speaking with Submission Radio recently, Jon Jones’ striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn says that if Adesanya really does want to fight Jones next year, he’ll need to do so at heavyweight because Jones isn’t delaying his plans for the middleweight champion.

“My first thought is heavyweight,” Winkeljohn said. “Have Israel come up to heavyweight. Here’s the deal, Jon Jones has always fought a who’s who, and it’s always been this guy, you have to go beat this guy to secure your legacy. And then he beats him. And then it’s, okay, you have to beat this guy to secure your legacy. And then he beats him. Jon doesn’t need to chase anybody, they need to chase him. That’s the way I look at it. That’s why he’s the best

“(So), probably heavyweight. Jon’s current mindset is to get to heavyweight. That makes sense. Once he puts all that mass on, there’s no reason to come back down. What’s the purpose of that? Go back down to chase Izzy? Absolutely not. Jon’s the man, that’s why he’s the greatest, and people need to chase him, and he’s a leader, he’s the leader of the sport.”

For what it’s worth, Adesanya has said his is willing to move to heavyweight to chase Jones if that’s what it takes.

Jones and Adesanya’s feud has been well-chronicled in the media, What began as respectful call outs of one another quickly turned personal and, over the last two years, has grown increasingly ugly. But though it’s clear Jones has no love for Adesanya, that doesn’t mean his team doesn’t respect the man’s skills. In fact, Winkeljohn was glowing in his assessment of the middleweight champion.

“I’m always amazed at some things he does,” Winkeljohn said. “I think to myself, gosh, if he only does these things against him, and then Izzy makes a small correction and solves that problem. So, he’s a hard guy to figure out in that he has so many skills and such great timing, great speed and takedown defense. He’s so well-rounded and getting better. He’s getting better every fight. I’m watching it, I’m real impressed with what they’ve been able to do with the team down there in New Zealand.”

And that is what makes this fight so compelling to fans. Jones has been nigh unbeatable his entire career, and many view Adesanya as the greatest threat Jones will have faced yet. Adesanya is the more accomplished striker of the two and would enter the fight with a clear path to victory. At least, on paper. Winkeljohn says that should the fight happen, Jones may surprise Adesanya on the feet.

“Striking-wise, here’s the deal, Jon’s fought some big, tall, long guys before and he’s done well,” Winkeljohn said. “The first fight with Gustafsson wasn’t Jon’s great night by any means. Not all of Jon Jones was there for many reasons in that fight. But he’s already fought a lot of long guys. I’m not sure if Izzy’s fought a Jon Jones before as far as length goes. And definitely nobody has fought Jon Jones as far as skillset goes. I know everyone that comes to my gym. They’re big heavyweights, they come in, and I think they’re immediately surprised by how big Jon’s presence is in the cage when they start working out with him.”

But that’s only if Jones wants to prove a point. Winkeljohn concludes by saying that should the two fight, Jones can end things whenever he chooses.

“If in Jon’s mind he says, I’m gonna beat him on the feet, that’s what he’s gonna do,” Winkeljohn said. “But if Jon says, you know what, I’m gonna go home and just secure the win and show him what MMA is all about, welcome to my world, I’m sure he’ll take him down and bloody him up with elbows.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Results. Glover Teixeira and Andrei Arlovski picked up big wins at UFC Vegas 13.

Deserve. Glover Teixeira calls for title shot after choking out Thiago Santos in wild UFC Vegas 13 main event.

Right. Dana White on Glover Teixeira calling for title shot ahead of Israel Adesanya: ‘He’s not wrong’.

Disappointment. Thiago Santos ‘totally disappointed and embarrassed’ by loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC Vegas 13.

Fight. Jan Blachowicz welcomes fight with Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones calls Teixeira ‘the new GOAT’ after UFC Vegas 13.

Short notice. Islam Makhachev out of UFC Vegas 14 main event, Rafael dos Anjos calls for Michael Chandler as replacement.

Heart attack. UFC heavyweight pioneer Mark Coleman recovering in hospital after heart attack.


VIDEO STEW

UFC Vegas 13 Post Show.

UFC Vegas 13 post-fight press conference.

Free fight.

Mark Munoz, the actor.


LISTEN UP

On to the Next One. Matchmaking for the UFC following UFC Vegas 13.

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC Vegas 13, severed ears, and Bellator.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Hammer.

Islam’s statement.

Khabib showing support for his boy.

Volunteer as tribute.

Statement.

Yes, please.

Get well soon.

Good advice from the GOAT.

Can’t imagine something worse than a post-workout shooey.

Fight poster.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Takashi Sato (16-3) vs. Miguel Baeza (9-0); UFC Fight Night, Nov. 28.

Jack Hermansson (21-5) vs. Kevin Holland (20-5); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 5.

Nate Landwehr (14-3) vs. Movsar Evloev (13-0); UFC Fight Night, Dec. 5.

Sergey Spivak (11-2) vs. Jared Vanderaa (11-4); UFC 256, Dec. 12.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Glover Teixeira deserves a title shot. There is no reason to give Israel Adesanya a crack at the 205 belt right now and this is exactly why it was stupid for the UFC to announce that so prematurely.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Will Jones vs. Adesanya happen next year?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Yes
    (302 votes)
  • 63%
    No
    (533 votes)
835 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.