Adesanya and Jones have repeatedly taken shots at each other in interviews and on social media, with Adesanya saying at an August 2020 media scrum that he’d go up to heavyweight to chase Jones if it came to it. However, Jones has not fought since February 2020 as he has dealt with outside-of-the-cage legal issues, contract disputes with the UFC, and a move up from 205 pounds. On the other side, Adesanya has continued to rack up middleweight title defenses.
Even with their paths diverging, Jones’ coach Brandon Gibson believes the three-time UFC champion would be excited about a fight with Adesanya sometime in the future.
“I mean, I’d love it,” Gibson told Submission Radio (transcript via Denis Shkuratov). “I’m sure they would sell a lot of pay-per-views. That would be a fun one for ‘Bones.’ I know he’d love to make that a dirty fight and bust him up worse than he did Brandon Vera. So yeah, I would love to see that fight one day.”
Gibson made reference to a March 2010 bout between Jones and Vera, which headlined an event in Broomfield, Colo. (the first UFC main event of Jones’ career). Jones defeated Vera in the first-round with a vicious ground-and-pound attack that left Vera with several fractures in his face.
Should Jones vs. Adesanya ever be booked, the larger Jones would be expected to use his wrestling to deal with of MMA’s most respected strikers, but Gibson likes Jones’ chances of beating Adesanya on the feet as well.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Gibson said when asked if Jones could win a standup battle with Adesanya. “Jon’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the best strikers in the game’s history. Guys like [Lyoto] Machida and [Quinton] ‘Rampage’ [Jackson] and [Mauricio] ‘Shogun’ [Rua] and Alexander Gustafsson. Jon can hang with any of these guys.
“Jon, with the power and the skill set that he’s really developed over the last two years, I think he’s going to surprise a lot of opponents, a lot of opponents’ teams, and a lot of fans when he gets in there and gets to showcase his new skill set.”
Adesanya sports a 23-1 pro record and has never lost at 185 pounds. The one blemish on his record came from when he moved up to light heavyweight to challenge then-UFC champion Jan Blachowicz for a second title at UFC 259. Outside of that, Adesanya has dominated the majority of his middleweight challengers.
Though Gibson favors Jones to defeat Adesanya, he also views “The Last Stylebender” as a special talent and one that he’s looked to for inspiration in his teachings.
“He’s also brilliant when it comes to this game,” Gibson said. “His ability to judge speed and time and range and angles and level changes is very unique. He’s already become a dominant champ at middleweight. I think he has some of the best feints in the game. He’s so good at using his feints to create the openings and in that split second, depending on the opponent’s reaction to that feint, identifying the opening and taking it. Just ultra sharp. Ultra-sharp defense. He doesn’t have any big, drastic movements. It’s not like that Dominick Cruz style that we saw, he pretty much over-dips, over-slips.
“Israel is just pinpoint making guys miss by a millimeter. So that’s something I really admire in his style and in his game and there’s elements of it that have definitely inspired me to try to put little sprinkles of that with my own fighters.”
Watch Gibson’s full interview with Submission Radio here: