UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been a busy man lately.
He’s already been told his next opponent after UFC 151 will be Lyoto Machida, not to mention the multi-year agreement Jones just signed with Nike to become their first global MMA endorsed athlete.
With all that going on, Jones’ main focus has been his upcoming UFC 151 showdown with former Strikeforce and Pride champion Dan Henderson. Jones will look to defend his title for the fourth consecutive time, while facing possibly his toughest opponent yet.
“Dan Henderson’s right up there, I think he ranks as high as anybody I’ve fought in 2011. He’s a champion of every other organization in the world. He beat Fedor (Emelianenko) and Shogun (Rua) last year, he’s somebody not to be taken lightly,” Jones said on Fuel TV recently.
If there was one glaring issue staring Jon Jones directly in the face when speaking about Dan Henderson, it’s his infamous right hand. Henderson’s knockout punch, aptly nicknamed the H-Bomb, has put down more than a few opponents over the last few years and has become his primary go-to weapon in a stand-up fight.
Jones respects Henderson and all of the skills he brings to the table, but he’s not focusing solely on his right hand or worried about any particular weapon in his arsenal.
“I’m not going to call anything problems. They’re more like challenges to rise up to; things to be excited by. To be honest with you, he has a good overhand right, a good left hook, strong wrestling, nothing I haven’t seen before,” Jones stated.
What Henderson might have to worry about is Jones’ rapidly improving stand-up game. The New York native has worked tirelessly alongside coach Mike Winkeljohn to develop his striking prowess to match his devastating work in the clinch and on the ground.
Henderson may have his “H-Bomb,” but he would do well to avoid Jones’ knockout punch as well.
“The biggest thing I’ve been doing differently is just learning how to put people down. We’re realizing by watching my own fights, my coaching staff and I, that I am becoming a pretty good kickboxer, but I’m not dropping anybody. So we’re working on foundation, using your legs, working on power,” said Jones.
“Everyone’s talking about Dan Henderson’s knockout power; it might just be a one-punch knockout for me this time.”
As previously stated, Jones will be going into this fight looking for his fourth consecutive title defense, and that’s important to note because he’s rapidly closing in on the record currently held by former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz successfully defended the UFC light heavyweight title a record five times.
Being considered one of the top fighters in the history of the sport is something Jones has always strived to achieve, and he’s getting closer with each fight he wins.
“I’m closing in on Tito Ortiz’s record, one of the greatest light heavyweights of all time,” said Jones. “That’s something that also motivates me to just keep hitting it hard.”
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