Ahead of his UFC 270 trilogy with 125-pound titleholder Brandon Moreno on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif., Figueiredo spoke highly of his relationship with Jones. He told Trocação Franca the former UFC light heavyweight king first asked for a picture as he left the gym.
“I want you to climb on my back and give me a rear-naked choke,” Figueiredo said of Jones’ request.
“I couldn’t believe I was climbing his back,” Figueiredo laughed. “I looked like one of those little Louis Vuitton or Gucci backpacks on his back.”
With Jones now at heavyweight and Figueiredo walking around almost 100 pounds lighter, a training session between them would be virtually impossible. But that doesn’t mean the Brazilian can’t learn from “Bones” in the gym.
“I was training in one area and he was training in another,” Figueiredo said. “But every once in a while, I look at him to see his training. He’s so calm when he’s training. You can notice him doing the right moves even though he’s heavier now, he’s gigantic. He’s very calm, he doesn’t go like crazy for the knockout. He’s very strategic, too, and I think he’ll do well at heavyweight.”
Figueiredo considers Jones the GOAT of MMA and envisions he’ll capture the UFC heavyweight championship later this year. UFC 270 features a title unification bout between champion Francis Ngannou and interim champion Ciryl Gane, and Figueiredo expects the latter to be Jones’ next foe.
“I believe [Gane] will fight Ngannou [and will win at UFC 270],” Figueiredo said. “He’s loose and moves well. I believe him. If he does the right game, he can take the belt — and Jones will definitely take it from him because it’s a good match-up [for Jones].”
“Jones is smart on the feet, and when you have heavy hands and can’t knock him out, they try to wrestle him,” he continued. “I don’t see that game in Ngannou. And I think every fighter that fights Ngannou, once you avoid his first strikes and he gets tired. … You do an annoying game in the early rounds, and [Ngannou] gets lost and loses the fight.”